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How low can television go?


Argus

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I'm trying to think of what depths reality tv won't stoop to, and failing. I mean, if midgets wrestling in jello is okay, what would they consider too low-brow? Never mind porn on the internet. It's television which is going to turn society into a moral vacuum.

Spike TV to introduce Half Pint Brawlers

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Ugh! It's the invasion of the reality show. How about this for disgusting?

Toddlers and Tiaras

On any given weekend, on stages across the country, little girls and boys parade around wearing makeup, false eyelashes, spray tans and fake hair to be judged on their beauty, personality and costumes. Toddlers and Tiaras follows families on their quest for sparkly crowns, big titles, and lots of cash.

The preparation is intense as it gets down to the final week before the pageant. From hair and nail appointments, to finishing touches on gowns and suits, to numerous coaching sessions or rehearsals, each child preps for their performance. But once at the pageant, it's all up to the judges and drama ensues when every parent wants to prove that their child is beautiful.

http://tlc.discovery.com/tv/toddlers-tiaras/about-toddlers-and-tiaras.html

The children are dressed scantily complete with make-up and the choreography has plenty of suggestive moves. When I saw the preview of this show I couldn't help think a pedophile would get his jollies watching those innocent kids prancing around. Judging from the blogs discussing the show, I'm not the only one who got that impression. What kind of parent would put a kid through this for a few measly bucks. Arghhh!

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I'm trying to think of what depths reality tv won't stoop to, and failing. I mean, if midgets wrestling in jello is okay, what would they consider too low-brow? Never mind porn on the internet. It's television which is going to turn society into a moral vacuum.

What has ten thousand eyes and an IQ of 60?

Spike TV's entire audience.

I thought they'd hit the bottom with "1000 Ways to Die", but they have exceeded themselves. Their entire model seems based on H.L. Mencken's claim that "nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public."

-k

{I only tune in to Spike for the jiu-jitsu, and that's all I have to say about that.}

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I thought they'd hit the bottom with "1000 Ways to Die", but they have exceeded themselves. Their entire model seems based on H.L. Mencken's claim that "nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public."

...which leads to the obvious rejoinder...."nobody ever got rich producing programming just for Canada."

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Capricorn is right, "Toddlers in Tiaras" is remarkably decadent. It's pure exploitation television: not at all interested in the actual and delineated line between those who find such entertainments adorable and those who consider it sexually-teasing in a depraved way. Instead, the producers present it as a carnival freakshow, enjoying the fruits of the exploitation with some laughable pretence to Journalistic Objectivity. As if they aren't, at least in the virtual sense that matters, uninspired narrative constructs by the producers themselves.

Reality TV, as we understand the term, has been at least 90% horrific since its inception. "Toddlers" aside, the lion's share of it is devoted to the Holy shrine of Young Romance, from "The Real World's" banal drama to dull-witted couplings of the youthful elite on "The Hills." (Hell, where else can you watch a group of 25-year-old men sitting around and talking about "relationships"...and literally nothing else? As a male, I can tell you with certainty that this is not "reality," but fabrication: either scripted outright, or scripted-through-careful-editing. It also tells us a sad fact about its mostly female audience. Are these "masculine" conversations what these girls imagine handsome, wealthy boys to be engaged in during the girls' absence? How unfortunate that they think so, and how doubly unpleasant that they would wish it so.)

And all this is underlined in similarly ridiculous ways by all the programs with the conventional Cinderella theme, where contestants vye angrily with one another to fall in love with some douchebag they've never met, and normally wouldn't like very much, one suspects.

TLC, home of "Toddlers," Little People, Obesity, Weddings, and numerous programs about having thousands of good-looking children, is the Queen of Reality Schlock. They've even pulled the normally suspicious traditional conservatives into their world of depraved indifference, thanks to portraying fundamentalist Christians with 19 childen who are always polite, always "traditional," and who decry contemporary pop culture even as they become rich off exactly what they claim to dislike. "No sexual activity before marriage," the horny little teenagers continually recite--pleasing an abstinence-friendly demographic, while allowing the thrill of illicit sexual imagination to run riot by simple virtue of constantly dredging up the subject for us.

Oh, and let's not forget the tie-in marketing...the real reason, after all, for these show's very existence.

Dregs.

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TV is largely terrible, but there are also some of the best shows ever these days. Mad Men and Breaking Bad and THe Wire are all great. I even came home from the lake early this weekend because I couldn't wait to see the series finale of Lost, and I needed to see it in HD and surround sound.

I never would have done that for the series finalie of Welcome Back, Kotter.

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TV is largely terrible, but there are also some of the best shows ever these days. Mad Men and Breaking Bad and THe Wire are all great. I even came home from the lake early this weekend because I couldn't wait to see the series finale of Lost, and I needed to see it in HD and surround sound.

I never would have done that for the series finalie of Welcome Back, Kotter.

I agree with you. In fact, I believe we're entering the Golden Age of television. You mention "Mad Men": a great example. A brilliant television show, proving a public appetite for artistic endeavour when it comes to television programming.

I was referring solely to the majority of the "reality tv" phenomenon.

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Ah yes...a new "Golden Age"...which includes such reality TV greats as "Ice Road Truckers". Will our heroic mechanic get the brakes unfrozen in time to make that dash to the diamond mine on top of the world? Stay tuned to find out! ;)

There is dreck aplenty; in fact, on this thread, I mentioned it both generally and specifically.

I'm only offering my opinion that the good television is really good. Agree or disagree, it doesn't seem too radical a claim.

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TV is largely terrible, but there are also some of the best shows ever these days. Mad Men and Breaking Bad and THe Wire are all great. I even came home from the lake early this weekend because I couldn't wait to see the series finale of Lost, and I needed to see it in HD and surround sound.

I never would have done that for the series finalie of Welcome Back, Kotter.

I have never watched mad men, nor lost, nor the wire. I may now, though. Someone recently acquainted me with a web site called tvshack.com. Anyone ever use it?

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I'm trying to think of what depths reality tv won't stoop to, and failing. I mean, if midgets wrestling in jello is okay, what would they consider too low-brow?

It's been done before and it was arguably worse. (

). Why worse? Because before cable, network TV was a closed shop and had access to alot of money - with little way for advertisers to know what effect the publicity had.

Television and newspapers are important media to older people alive today, in the same way that written letters were important to wealthy people in the 19th century.

Will TV disappear? Possibly. Very few cycloramas remain. Who owns an IBM Selectric? And a ticker tape parade is a footnote in history. Why? Because there is no more ticker tape, or the machines and people to produce them. Modern HVAC means that office workers can't open windows.

TV is a one way media, and even theatre can best that. Gossip and rumour are at the heart of the human condition. We love to talk, and listen.

----

If I had to make a prediction about the future, it would be that humans will find better and easier ways to deal with one another. IOW, the future will be more rational.

So, the question is not "how low can television go" but rather "will television exist".

Edited by August1991
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What has ten thousand eyes and an IQ of 60?

Spike TV's entire audience.

I thought they'd hit the bottom with "1000 Ways to Die", but they have exceeded themselves. Their entire model seems based on H.L. Mencken's claim that "nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public."

-k

{I only tune in to Spike for the jiu-jitsu, and that's all I have to say about that.}

It's a channel for men. Maybe that's why you hate it. I'm a man, and i love it. Deadliest Warrior, UFC, MANswers...great stuff!

Oh, and i dont see anything wrong with that midget wrestling show. Sounds hilarious, and nobody;s forcing any midgets to wrestle, they get a nice paycheck. But that "Toddlers in Tiaras" sounds morally horrific.

Edited by Moonlight Graham
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TV is largely terrible, but there are also some of the best shows ever these days. Mad Men and Breaking Bad and THe Wire are all great. I even came home from the lake early this weekend because I couldn't wait to see the series finale of Lost, and I needed to see it in HD and surround sound.

I never would have done that for the series finalie of Welcome Back, Kotter.

The Wire was an amazing series. One of the best cop dramas ever made.

By far my fave scene is this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQbsnSVM1zM (language!!!!)

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GH: One of the best cop dramas ever made.

There were tons of those over the years...

Homicide Life on the Streets, NYPD Blue, Third Watch and of course the various Laws and Orders* come to mind for your 'top shelf' cop shows.

'Police Story' back in the day was also pretty darn good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1GkGlPyYVE

* It is Un-American to dislike Lennie Briscoe.

Edited by DogOnPorch
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There were tons of those over the years...

Homicide Life on the Streets, NYPD Blue, Third Watch and of course the various Laws and Orders* come to mind for your 'top shelf' cop shows.

'Police Story' back in the day was also pretty darn good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1GkGlPyYVE

* It is Un-American to dislike Lennie Briscoe.

You're right that Briscoe is the man.

And all the shows you mentioned were good. I would only argue that "The Wire" takes it up anonther notch; extremely good acting, writing, production. The characters are fleshed out in a way the others couldn't quite do.

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It's been done before and it was arguably worse. (

). Why worse? Because before cable, network TV was a closed shop and had access to alot of money - with little way for advertisers to know what effect the publicity had.

I understand you're not making an absolutist claim (your proper use of the word "arguably"), but I think that much of the reality crap makes "Gong Show" Shakespearean comedy in comparison; because "Gong Show," while execrable enough, was self-conscious garbage. The reality shows tend to have a pretence to self-importance, even to journalism. It's like a bad joke, but there it is.

Television and newspapers are important media to older people alive today, in the same way that written letters were important to wealthy people in the 19th century.

From what I understand, television viewing has not decliend among children and youths. Rather, internet and gaming times have only added to their huge media intake.

Mind you, you could still be right; it's not necessarily a permanent state of affairs.

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