Thursday, November 02, 2006

Reality TV: It's Good For The Kiddies!

The Parents Television Council, one of the watchdog groups of people with way too much time on their hands, singled out reality TV as some of the best family programming on the air.

Singled out as "appropriate" viewing were shows like "Dancing with the Stars," "American Idol" and "Deal or No Deal." I'm guessing that no with with the Parents Television Council has caught an episode of "The Bachelor" or "Wife Swap" yet.

My problems with these parents' groups is how narrow-minded they are, and I don't just mean in their selection of television. Pretty much any show on the air can be twisted positive or negative depending on what lens its viewed through.

Take "Survivor," for example, which also made the list. What is the show good for? Teaching kids how to stab teammates in the back in order to win a prize? Or "Deal or No Deal?" Unabashed greed?

I'm not saying the above examples are bad shows. Or good shows, for that matter. All I am saying is that you can take good or bad out of any show if you look hard enough.

Since most of these parents' groups try to get what they consider to be bad shows yanked, here's my message: Why not try raising your own kids yourself instead of letting TV do it? Why not stop telling other people what you think are the proper shows to watch and let people choose for themselves?

Now that we live in the age of the V-Chip, parents policing their children's TV habits has never been easier, and therefore, made these so-called watchdog groups superfluous at best.

End of rant.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: I haven't seen "Hacking Democracy," (HBO, 9 p.m.) but it is drawing raves from critics everywhere. Considering how much we are being bombarded by political ads and with the election in a few days, it should be worth checking out.

The lovely and talented Salma Hayek makes an appearance in front of the camera on "Ugly Betty" (ABC, 8 p.m.) after spending most of the season behind the scenes as the show's producer. Hayek will be a recurring character.

Co-star Mindy Kaling wrote tonight's installment of "The Office" (NBC, 8:30 p.m.) Co-star B.J. Novak wrote the week before's episode. I honestly think it's one of the reasons why this is the best sitcom on TV, since many of the cast, including Steve Carell, have contributed to the show on so many levels. In addition to the cast members who serve as writers, Jenna Fischer and Rainn Wilson also contribute to the blogosphere.


Zodin2008 said...

My first memory of overzealous parents interfering with what people watch in prime time was the old "Married With Children" days in the late 80's on Fox. I distinctly remember co-stars Katey Sagal and Ed O'Neill (Peg and Al Brundy) going toe to toe with Michigan super mom Terry Rakolta on "Larry King" over this issue and to this day, it never stops.

You are absolutely right...there is a V-Chip so leave America alone.

And please stop telling us that garbage like "Survivor" and "Deal or no Deal" is 'good' for kids. That's crap. Those shows are amongst the lowest common denominators on Television, most critics agree with that, but because some right wing parents like it, it makes it suddenly ok? Well, there's obviously no accounting for taste.

In fact, though I don't (nor would I ever watch) "Survivor", I believe this is the SAME show that started their season off dividing teams by RACE!!!! That maybe the shadiest form of Television, EVER.

As for "Betty" and "The Office", 2 great shows opposite the always entertaining "Smallville" which again makes 8 PM on Thursdays my busiest hour of the week. I was actually glad there were re-runs of "The Office" and "My Name is Earl" last week just to give me a breather.

I don't know if you saw the news Phillip, but the show we like "Kidnapped" has been pulled off the NBC Schedule (as of Tuesday it seems) and starting tomorrow (and every subsequent Friday), each of the 8 UNAIRED "Kidnapped" episodes will only be available online at NBC.COM.

This raises several points. First, NBC had the show airing Saturday night, the biggest trash heap for all would have killed them to let it STAY on Saturdays through it's 13 episode run? My goodness.

Second, I think a surface is being scratched here...I think you may not only see more "limited" series like a "Kidnapped" or a "Nine" that are literally made as 13 episode mini series meant to only last that one life, but what you may see is shows like "Kidnapped" in the future only offered online from the getgo. It may not have an expensive a cast or production values, but you may see networks starting to make serialized shows that are just Online and not even on TV. I kind of feel like this is the wave of a future and not sure how I feel about it.

I suppose I am at least GRATEFUL that NBC is going to give me a way to see these last 8 episodes.

Phillip Ramati said...

I had forgotten to mention "Kidnapped," which at least will be available online. Of course, I tried to download off last week and the episode wouldn't come up.

I try not to judge shows by good or bad. Individual tastes will always vary. People are perfectly in their right to watch "Survivor;" I just hate that it comes at the expense of viewership at one of the shows opposite it.

What I hate is people who try to kill shows they don't like because they disagree with them. If you don't like a show, just change the channel. Don't ruin it for the people who do.

misty said...

Amen to your rant on parents' groups! While they serve some purpose (I'm not sure what), they don't need to be endorsing anything. Maybe if they spent more time with their kids, they woudn't have time for endorsements.....

Anonymous said...

Good for the kiddies? Reality TV ain't good for nobody.

Phillip Ramati said...


It's sarcasm. I don't think reality TV is much good for anyone except network executives.