Sunday, 30 September 2012

Without Hockey, TV Sucks

I'll say this upfront: this post is not about hockey. Hockey is my passion, and I think it's pretty clear that I enjoy the game with all its quirks and idiosyncrasies. I've taken to Hulu to watch old games when there's no hockey on TV, and it's serving me well so far. I'm lucky that my television service provider carries WHL games because I'm finding TV to be pretty horrible without my fix of hockey. Honestly, I don't know how those of you who watch TV can stand the crap they show today.

There are entire channels devoted to "reality TV". I put that term in quotes because it's not reality for anyone but the idiots on those shows. I was flipping through the channels with my better half the other night, and I was honestly sickened by some of the crap that gets green-lighted for TV. Some of these "reality shows" include:
  1. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo - is missing a chromosome genetic or environmental? Simply horrid.
  2. Dance Moms - if I caught anyone speaking to me or my child like that, it would be "go time".
  3. Toddlers & Tiaras - I can't believe this show isn't considered child abuse. Who does this to children?
  4. The Real Housewives of (Insert City) - pretentious, uppity drama queens. I want to hurt them all.
  5. Keeping Up With The Kardashians - see above, but add Bruce Jenner to that list.
  6. The Bachelor(ette) - two dozen morons looking for "love" with all the stupidest results.
  7. Bethenny Ever After - who the hell is Bethenny and why does she have a TV show?
  8. Bridezillas - I feel sorry for the men who married any woman who has appeared on this show.
  9. Ex-Wives Of Rock - why are these women even relevant? No cared when they were married!
  10. Girl Meets Gown - a show about brides looking for a wedding dress? Who cares?
  11. Keasha's Perfect Dress - who the hell is Keasha, why is she on TV, and who cares about a dress?
  12. Millionaire Matchmaker - a dating service for rich people. Shouldn't this be called "TMZ Lite"?
  13. The Mistress - they give TV shows to admitted adulterers now. Who doesn't have a show?
  14. Secret Princes - well-to-do guys you've never heard of try to date common women. Yay?
  15. 19 Kids And Counting - here's an idea: contraceptives! Octomom will have her show soon.
  16. I Found The Gown - another show about brides and dresses. Stop the insanity!
  17. Say Yes To The Dress - seriously... another bride/dress show? Seriously?!?
  18. United Bates Of America - another show with 19 kids? Are we now breeding football teams?
  19. Long Island Medium - she may talk to the dead, but I see low ratings.
  20. Four Weddings - brides compete for a fantasy honeymoon. How many bride shows do we need?!?
I can't get over the amount of garbage on TV. And that's just reality TV! Heck, they have an entire network dedicated to reality shows in Canada now! Are we really this desperate? Have TV executives decided that pandering to the lowest common denominator is the best way to get ratings?

Even shows like Survivor and American Idol have become stale. Sure, it's nice to see a new, exotic locale or some fresh, new talent on stage, but the challenges are the same and the singers aren't getting better. I can see why The Amazing Race and The Apprentice are highly-watched since they cut the gimmicks and challenge those competitors to actually achieve something. Watching 16 weeks of the same singers crooning songs they shouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole just seems like a waste of time.

Now I get that I'm probably going to get crucified for cutting down a number of these "popular" shows, but why doesn't anyone miss a good story? Does anyone miss some real laughs derived from a well-timed joke? What has happened to us as a TV audience?

I guess this is why I've found myself reading more now that real life is slowing down for me. And honestly, as a society, we should embrace reading a little more instead of killing brain cells with the Kardashians or keeping track of 19 kids you'll never meet. A book has so much to offer, and we consistently reach for the remote instead. Here's comes the rant, ladies and gentlemen.

According to a June 25, 2010 article on the, "44 million adults in the U.S. can't read well enough to read a simple story to a child" and "[n]early half of America's adults are poor readers, or "functionally illiterate." They can't carry out simply tasks like balancing check books, reading drug labels or writing essays for a job". Wow.

The National Endowment for the Arts published a scathing report in 2007 about the declining reading stats and the declining reading comprehension of the American public (and, for argument's sake, the global population). Check out these scary findings by the NEA:
  • Less than one-third of 13-year-olds are daily readers.
  • 65% of college freshmen read for pleasure for less than an hour per week or not at all.
  • 15- to 24-year-olds spend 2 to 2½ hours per day watching TV. In comparison, 15- to 24-year-olds spend only 7–10 minutes per day on voluntary reading.
  • The number of books in a home is a significant predictor of academic achievement.
  • Little more than one-third of high school seniors now read proficiently.
  • 38% of employers find high school graduates "deficient" in reading comprehension, while 63% rate this basic skill "very important."
  • Proficient readers are 2.5 times as likely as Basic readers to be earning $850 or more a week.
  • TV-watching consumes about half of the total daily leisure time of all Americans ages 15 and older.
Perhaps these people are watching the idiotic shows above?

Look, I'm not here to tell you to never watch TV. I admit that I watch TV, but I would assume that I don't do it as frequently as other people I know. I watch sports, I'm a sucker for a good movie, and I like crime shows and mysteries because they challenge my brain. I'll catch Seinfeld or Family Guy because the jokes are well-formed and make me laugh. But if there's nothing on that I find appealing, I'm picking up a book. With very little hockey on TV nowadays, Teebz's Book Club could see a large number of additions to its ranks.

And, quite frankly, I'm liking the sound of that more and more when looking at that list of "reality TV" shows above. Thoughts, readers? Do you hate me for hating those shows? Sound off in the comments!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


PK said...

It's hard for me to disagree with you, but when its your lively hood that the network you work for produces a large number of these series, I see the complete other end of it.

(*Full disclaimer: I work for a premium broadcast paid subscription channel, but I have been involved with the industry nearly ten years in many, many roles)

Personally, I wish the shows were described more accurately as what they are, "structured realities"...I have worked in most capacities from editing these to being a field producer and a QC tech on them.

They cost next to nothing to produce (vs. any sitcom, animated series or premium cable series that easily run into the millions), most of them are non-union (again, cost effective) and since most of them have shortened running times, they can fill up more ad space.

Also, they can be aired repeatedly in an evergreen sense to always be on the look out for new audiences which helps with syndication.

There's a reason TV has wandered into this territory and it will only get bigger and more prevalent...especially on the web and VOD services.

Cheers...(*I miss hockey happy I have 3 AHL teams within an hour or so....)

Teebz said...

Well said, PK. I never thought of the other side in terms of production costs. I still think it is garbage TV, but you're brought a whole new side of it to light.

I desperately miss hockey. I need a fix in a big way. :o)