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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Let Me Get This Straight...

There really *IS* a show called "Dancing With The Stars"??? And it really *does* feature third- and fourth- rate has-been "actors" who are dancing with contestants?

Huh.

All this time I thought it was an elaborate joke, a throwaway pretend show that clever people like our Mistress of Snark would use as an example of all that is wrong with modern society. I figured that the premise was too far-fetched to be real; that it was too over-the-top stupid to be an actual, honest-to-goodness program on the teevee.

Apparently, I misinterpreted the depths to which popular culture can sink.

Now look. I understand dreck. I came of age in the 1980s, when there were such television shows as "ALF", "The A-Team", and "BJ and the Bear" on. This was not quality programming by anyone's measure - this was "give the masses something stupid to laugh at so they can forget about their humdrum lives for 30 minutes". But everyone knew it. We weren't looking for deep meaning, we were looking for something to take our minds off the ZOMG IMPENDING NUCLEAR DEATH.

I mean, it's one thing to pitch a show about a fuzzy alien who comes to Earth wanting to eat cats and live with Joe Lieberman. That takes guts. But to say "hey, let's take a bunch of has-beens and have them dance with game show contestants"??? Really? What was next on the list, "Grocery shopping with the stars", where B- and C- movie starlets would help contestants pick the right brand of hair color at WalMart?

I confess; I don't watch television. I think sometime in the mid-1990s, after Conan O'Brien stopped writing for The Simpsons and the show devolved into nothing more than "How stupid can we make Homer", I lost interest. Every once in a while I'll catch what passes for television either at my parents' house or when the Mrs. is watching TV, and it reinforces that I am not missing a damn thing.

Someone get Obama a violin to play...

That is all.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify - the "third- and fourth- rate has-been "actors"" are the contestants... I know because I leave the room when my daughter (14) watches... If I'm subjected to it for longer than a minute I can feel the Testosterone leaving my body...

JD Rush said...

Some of the has-beens are washed up sports stars, not just actors and singers. Plus some of the dancers are very hot.There is the chance of someone blowing out a knee in every episode. (Shawn Johnson, Emmit Smith)

I watch it once in a while.
Also, people vote to keep the sucky dancers on. Kinda like real life elections.

Robert said...

Hey, ALF wasn't *that* bad...

Oddball said...

Yes... and they keep extending it and pushing back the time for Castle (one of the very few *good* shows on TV).

Erin Palette said...

Jay, if you think DWtS is bad, don't ponder the Nietzschean Abyss called "America's Got Talent."

Or as I refer to it: "My God, what a fucking freakshow." And that's just the judges....

Ross said...

Yeah, it exists. G-d help me, my wife (the rocket scientist (yes, really)) watches it. That's when I either go surf the net or head to the range. Or clean the guns.

Rifleman762 said...

Y'know, even though a lot of the older shows may have been time-wasting entertainment, some tv shows at least had good messages behind them for kids to learn. I grew up on Star Trek: TNG- a show that at its heart explored some of the difficult ethical dilemmas of what it means to be human. Some sitcoms that weren't just laugh-track slapstick managed to do this well in a few episodes here and there.

When MTV's The Real World came out, the producers attempted to put a bunch of very different people together for the purpose of sparking conflict and compromise. That mission very quickly fizzled out as the casts became more uniform, plasticky and party-oriented. The same could be said of reality tv as a "genre." The ideal purpose of reality tv should be to examine and expose parts of the human experience that you and I may not be familiar with. Actual reality tv is pure opiate for the masses, or like eating a Boston creme pie doughnut dipped in bacon fat for dinner. You're eating, but it ain't food.

Anonymous said...

For every DWTS. There are shows like. Sons of Guns And. Justified

........ Just don't tell Jay about " The Real housewives Of ......" Series of shows

lelnet said...

The irony is that, along with such dreck, there's a nearly-unprecedented amount of good stuff on nowadays. It's just that the crap keeps getting crappier, to balance the scales.

Dirk said...

Agreed.. there are actually a bunch of very good shows out there. "Elementary" is rapidly becoming a big favorite of mine. Both NCIS shows are good. I'm really enjoying "Last Resort" - definitely makes you ponder what you'd do in their shoes. "Revolution", despite some flaws, is also some pretty good food for thought. "Bones," "Burn Notice," and "Castle" are intelligently written, and the effects people on "Bones" must really enjoy their jobs. :) And even in the "reality" genre, Mythbusters continues to be entertaining and fun.

Of course, for every good show, there seems to be 10 or more wastes of video, time, and money.

Exurbankevin said...

I know enough to know I'm not in the target demographic for the show: My wife watches it from time to time and likes it, and while I appreciate the athleticism and talent required to be a good dancer (let's face it, it's not easy to make things look that easy), I'd rather have Dancing With The Stars on TV than some other show that belittles men and makes endless sexual innuendo jokes.

The list of shows I can watch with my sons in the room is very short. And that bothers me.

Geodkyt said...

Erin, "Nietzschean Abyss". . .

Writing that one down. . .

threecollie said...

Glad to hear that there is at least one other person in the region who doesn't watch tv. I keep a pair of Peltor hearing protectors in the living room and barracade myself behind a large pile of books when my husband watches

Stretch said...

HEY! I like ALF! Some darn good writing and an occasional "message" show.

And The A-Team was a testimony to the inaccuracy of the Ruger Mini-14.

bluesun said...

Netflix. Need I say more?

Daniel in Brookline said...

We don't watch TV at my house either. We have a large TV, a DVD player, a VCR (!), and no cable. We haven't missed it.

In re DwtS (pronounced "dimwits"?), I've never seen it, but I'm reminded of the "Battle of the 80s Has-Beens" mentioned briefly in the movie "Music & Lyrics". (I liked that movie, in spite of the male lead being a total wuss. It had its moments.) A washed-up pop singer is asked to appear on it; he asks how many songs he'll get to sing, and he's told that only the winner gets to sing. (So what's the show about? Boxing. That's why it's called BATTLE of the 80s has-beens.)

And hey, don't knock the A-Team! They're my buddies, they are. (I always wanted to grow up to be Murdoch. Some say I succeeded.)

Anonymous said...

Um, but I liked the A-Team. Granted, I was 10-12 and had a massive crush on Dirk Benedict at the time (Starbuck!). If given my druthers, the TV is off except for local news, weather in season, and TCU football and ACC basketball in season.

LittleRed1