It will come as no great revelation to most of us when I write that television programs are fast becoming worthless, inept, and utterly banal vehicles designed merely to market the products of the corporations that own the TV companies making such crap. And, what’s more, they expect us to be entranced by them.
But, do they?
These days television is aimed at only one market: the young. People of mature years (those of us who’ve had to suffer the insulting and crass label, ‘baby boomers’ – a phrase no doubt originally invented by a twenty year old with a brand new degree in ‘social psychology’, or some other equally inane and worthless qualification) are no longer of interest to TV programmers. Unless, of course, the sponsor is marketing incontinence pants, or ‘senior citizen’ cruises to the Balearic Islands.
Kids today, and by ‘kids’ I mean anyone under thirty, have no idea what quality entertainment is about. Those of us who have dried out behind the ears, remember when comedy was actually funny. Yes, even American comedy.
Admittedly, Americans of any age have missed out on top British comedy shows like ‘Eric & Ernie’, or ‘Only Fools And Horses’, but they still managed to produce and export some of the funniest shows on television.
Not least among these was, ‘Cheers’, with Ted Danson and Rhea Perlman – and, Kelsey Grammer who went on to star in the equally long-running and hilarious sit-com, ‘Frazier’.
Today’s generation know nothing of these classics. They’re fed a diet of cheap, cliched, often badly acted, rubbish because today’s market is all about profit. Quality is irrelevant. And, if you’ve never known quality, you never miss it.
Marketing TV programs in the 21st century, however, is about more than churning out tat. First, get your audience hooked. How many American comedy series start off promising quality, only to deteriorate into dross by series two?
When a new comedy sit-com starring Jane Leeves (she played Daphne, the English live-in physiotherapist in ‘Frazier’) was advertised, I hoped the writers would do her justice.
‘Hot In Cleveland’ got off to a good start. The tale of three women from Los Angeles marooned in Cleveland, Ohio, didn’t sound promising, but the first series managed to maintain a well-scripted plot-line, leaving viewers ready for more.
Sadly, though oh-so-predictably for American television, series two rapidly dived into a toilet bowl of cliched one-liners, coupled with scripts unworthy even of that most dire of all US soap operas, ‘Days Of Our Lives’.
‘Hot In Cleveland’ Series one was merely the bait. From now on it’s just thirty minutes of cheap tat, and that includes the commercials.
Today’s kids probably won’t even notice any deterioration in quality. Why should they? They’ve never known anything different.
Filed under: Not so classic comedy