Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What the heck has happened to my TV?

Growing up, we had an old 1979 Magnavox TV set. It wasn't overly big, but it was definitely old. Some of you will have to brace yourselves, but in order to change the channel we would have to go up to the tv itself and turn a little knob. Or in a Dad's case, he would send the kids to do this, at least that is my memory of how the Evil Duane operated our household.

That being said, as television sets changed, gained remote controls, and all kinds of other features, the programming did not, at least not on network tv. The Evil Duane was too cheap for cable as we grew up, and he seems to have passed that gene on to me. The Evil Duane, now living with only my mother and two dogs that seem to have been deemed replacement children, has a Dish, so he can watch 3947893 million channels at the click of a button. Maybe some day, after I have banished the children into adulthood and their own places, I too will get premium programming. Afterall, that is the only way now to get your fill of sports on the tube.

When I was growing up, SitComs were the order of the evening on network tv during the week. During football season you had college games on all the channels starting around 11am on Saturdays, right after all the good cartoons were over. On Sundays you got to watch NFL football, and of course the beloved Monday Night Football the next day. All the commercials were about one form of painkiller or another, the 17 brands of toothpaste that all claimed were preferred by 4 out of 5 dentists, along with other household products, and advertisements for new toys and cereal. There was nothing else out there to bore you to death. A kid could understand pretty much every commercial out there. Life was simple and good. You bought Tylenol for your headaches, Doans for your backaches, washed your dishes with Palmolive, ate Lucky Charms, and made sure your mom had enough Massengill and Maxipads...cuz thats what women apparently needed back then, AND, that's what the tv told you to buy.

As I was perusing the television over the past week, I really took notice of the difference in things. While football season is just starting, on saturdays you will see a couple of college football games, maybe (and usually they arent even games you're truly interested. You just watch them cuz its a football game and you like football). Sunday still gives you a few NFL games, but Monday Night Football is now requiring you to go get cable or the Dish Network in order to view it.

Sitcoms, while there may be a few stil going, are a thing of the past. No time on tv for shows that send a positive message through impossibly odd scenarios and weird tv families. Nope, primetime, which was once the time when the family got together to watch some good old television while eating TV Dinners, has totally changed. Now you are faced with a massive list of "reality" shows, which for the life of me, I don't get. First off, they aren't even as realistic as the cheesy sitcoms. Secondly other than ruining a few people who are looking for their 15 minutes of fame, I just don't see the overall point of them, other than to amuse mindless people who would prefer to see other people get screwed over in some overhyped drama cued in by the shows producers to gain some ratings and pull in some cash from advertisers. The primetime slot is loaded with shows that no child should really be watching, and this includes a few of my favorite tv dramas that I personally like.

Also, commercials suck these days. Sure, once in awhile you get a few quality ones, but overall, they are stupid. It's no longer what cereal to buy, or which beer makes you cooler (because we all know from growing up in the old days of watching tv that beer drinkers have a really great time being attractive and having pool parties with other attractive beer drinkers!). The one household product I really ever see is toilet paper ads. Apparently this is a highly competitive market. But now, we have medical ads of all sorts, because being normal isn't good enough anymore. Ask your doctor about the new amazing drug, Screwitol. After asking your doctor if you need Screwitol, he'll inform you that either A: its for treating symptoms of a condition that affects only the other gender, or B: It'll treat your mood swings no matter what they are, but can cause a combination of diarrhea and constipation simultaneaosly, causing you to want to blow out your own brains, but only in some cases. In which case:

WE have advertisements for every lawyer the phone book can list! Because if you've been wronged in any way (purposely or not), offended, injured, or you're just in a pissy mood, you can call 1-800-Lawyer, or some other local phone number (see your local commercial ad for proper listing) and you're just a step away from making a million bucks in a lawsuit! Now, if that lawsuit says they can pay you in installments after the settlement is reached:

PEACHTREE, JG WENTWORTH, or a million other companies can get you YOUR money NOW, cuz its YOUR MONEY AND YOU WANT IT NOW!! You can sue and settle your way to an extravagant lifestyle, and if you get bored with all that old jewelry:

Call Cash4Gold now, and get the highest prices for your unwanted or unused gold!!! It's easy!!

Or, you can go to one of 27 random regional universities that advertise in your area and get the dream job you've always wanted. Ones that often could've beeen acquired without the expensive degree they are offering you for your future. Because making $9.50/hr as a rentacop is a dream come true!!! And, here's the best part..all those silly ads for getting your criminal justice degree, I can do almost everyone of them without having shelled out the cash to them and being saddled with even more student loans. BUT, on the honest side of things, you do have a piece of paper that says you went past high school and that can land you a lot more jobs, so maybe that isn't so bad.

But what I want to know...where's my friggin cereal commercials, and why are the only good cartoon characters left on tv being suited up as superheroes?....bring back the plain old Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, et al.

And bring back my friggin sports...i shouldn't have to pay endless amounts of dollars every month to watch what should be free, dammit!! (well, that just blew my credibility as a conservative out of the water didn't it?)


Becky said...

Well you may have lost your credibility as a conservative, but you are gaining your old man credential: "When I was a kid...."

Next Christmas, I'll buy you a cane you can wave at the neighborhood hooligans.

Anonymous said...

I've been told by college students that TV is considered out of date. They see it the same way I remember thinking of radio -- my dad's generation got real entertainment from it, now it's good for music. Now it's all about computers -- TV is too limiting (and, of course, soon all programming one can think of will be on demand on the computer, linked to a High def screen). And of course teens now all are texting, texting, texting...I recall being bored at night and watching old Alfred Hitchcock shows in junior high. Now kids would just text with friends all evening...

Except for The Simpsons, the Daily Show and Colbert Report, I don't really find much worth watching. Maybe old movies, or good old sitcoms on TV Land like "Bewitched," "Hogan's Heroes," "Mary Tyler Moore," etc.

I think that the explosion of stations means that advertising revenue is so dispersed that few resources are made to come up with something of quality. We have satellite TV now, and my kids can't understand why the upstairs TV, with no DVR, can't be paused. But yeah, I spent about an hour a while back Youtubing old commercials from the 70s and 80s...

Anonymous said...

You inspired my latest blog post. Thanks!

Mookie said...


If you buy me the cane, you have to buy me a house with a front porch and a rocking chair to finish the picture you just painted!

Mookie said...


Glad I could help out your blogging, although its not entirely selfless, as I am pretty addicted to reading your blog. By the way, nice to sneak in an extra blog before you wrote this new one!

I too find myself youtubing old shows, or finding them on network website archives!!!! pretty cool. I almost forgot that taking someone's things is considered mean, and that I should apologize. Hmmm, I'll have to think on that one.

Becky said...

Mike, hold your breath waiting for me to buy the house :b Besides, you can still wave your cane from your balcony.

Anonymous said...

Conservatives are definitely in favor of free NFL on commercial television! If you were whining about the lack of taxpayer-funded Jany Austen adaptations, then we'd have to worry about you!

QUEEN said...