Tuesday, April 24, 2007

TV Turnoff Week

In case you didn't know, we are in the midst of something called TV Turnoff Week, brought to you by the we're-so-holier-than-thou-we're-actually-quite-smug-about-it group of concerned parents. (OK, that's not their real name.)

TV Turnoff Week is when people are urged to not watch TV for a week. The average American spends way too much time watching TV, and going cold turkey for a week is supposed to help cure them of that.

As TV pundit George Will might say, "Piffle!"

TV, like anything else in life, should be done in moderation. There is no correct number of hours or set of programs one should or shouldn't watch. If kids are watching too much TV (and most do), they should better regulated by their parents in what and how they watch.

These are the same sort of parental groups that criticize half the shows that are on the airwaves for being too violent or racy or not promoting "family values," whatever the hell that means. If you think there is a show that your kid shouldn't watch because of a sex and violence, don't let them watch. But don't try to get the show boycotted off the air.

I think "The Shield" is some of the best stuff on TV, but I wouldn't let my kids watch it (if I had kids). On the other hand, "Friday Night Lights," a show that showed some frank depictions of teens drinking and having sex, is a show I would watch with my hypothetical kids precisely because it shows a lot of the issues teens have to deal with. Yet this show drew a lot of criticism from parental groups, even though it had the single best scene I've ever seen between a fictional mother and daughter talking about teen sex.

I wonder had TV Turnoff Week happened last week during the Virginia Tech tragedy, would these groups tell us not to watch the news coverage, or would they have made an exception? And if you start making exceptions, doesn't that negate the original point in the first place?

I'm all for having quality TV on the air - I think that's been the point of this blog - as well as controlling what kids can watch.

My own kids, that is.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: Assuming you aren't turning your TV off this week, the aforementioned "The Shield" (FX, 10 p.m.) is back with a new episode.

Also new this week is two-thirds of CBS' lineup, "NCIS" and "The Unit."

"American Idol" (Fox, 8 p.m.) is doing a special, two-part giving back program, in which the contestants, previous "AI" stars, and well-known pop acts are performing to raise money to fight poverty. I tend to bash "AI," but I think this special can actually do quite a bit of good. It's followed by a new "House" at 9 p.m.

A new "Gilmore Girls" (CW, 8 p.m.) precedes the final "Pussycat Dolls," before the return of "Veronica Mars" next week. (Hallelujah!) Feel free to join the parents groups and turn off "Pussycat Dolls" all you want.


Phillip Ramati said...

Phillip here, one thing I should have put in the blog is a tribute to David Halberstam, who died Monday in a car accident.

Halberstam was, arguably, the finest journalist of this generation and a Pulitzer Prize winner, writing about topics as diverse as Vietnam, the civil rights movement and sports.

American journalism has indeed been diminished.

Anonymous said...

Zod here...

I didn't realize it was TV turn off week. I couldn't hear that pronouncement over my new episode of "The Shield".

I agree as well...if I had hypothetical kids, I would also say NO to "The Shield" and YES to "Friday Night Lights". But I will continue to watch both as they are two of my picks at Emmy time for BEST Drama.

Phillip Ramati said...

Perhaps the people behind TV Turnoff Week should have gone on TV to promote. No one seems to know about it.