What is Family Television?

My wife has always been a big ‘family television’ viewer.  She has seen every episode of The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, Touched by an Angel, and Highway to Heaven.  She still watches the Hallmark Channel on a daily basis, and if she is already watching one of the shows when I enter the room, I’ll sit and listen as if I am interested, but the whole time I am counting the minutes until it is over.

I, on the other hand, am no goodie-two-shoes when it comes to television, but I may be a nerd.  Most of the programming that I watch is on one of the channels owned by Discovery.  I watch a lot of sports, some reality based TV (Survivor, The Amazing Race, and American Idol), and a lot of the movies that are on the premium channels.  I watch very little scripted television mainly because the writing is usually not very good.  I watched the Sopranos religiously, but the dialogue on a show like CSI, for example, just hurts my head.

7th Heaven:

Several years ago my wife and I started watching 7th Heaven.  For the first few seasons, it was very enjoyable.  However, I remember a specific episode when one of the local elected officials was discovered having an affair.  Surprisingly, there was the reverend with as much angst as his character had ever shown preaching to the audience that it was ‘none of their business’ what the man was doing at home.  It seemed a little coincidental that President Clinton had just gone through the Monica Lewinski scandal.  At the time, I was offended that the writers of a show that purported itself to be a ‘family’ show about a minister and his wife trying to raise good kids, would slap their audience in the face in this manner.  I found myself watching it less and less, and pretty soon it was off my radar.  It was a good thing also, because the show devolved into an opportunity for the liberal writers to get their message out to a conservative audience, and later it devolved into one of the worst written soap operas on television.

The ABC Family Channel:

If you look way up in the numbers on most cable television plans, you will find the ABC Family Channel.  Don’t be fooled.  This is no more of a ‘family’ oriented channel than TLC is a ‘learning’ channel.  I just looked up tonight’s programming and found two episodes of That 70s Show followed by that wholesome movie Mean Girls (please read the last line with appropriate sarcasm).  There is nothing ‘family’ about any of this.  I don’t even give them credit for attempting to socially engineer their audience.  They are simply hoping that parents are letting their children watch this ‘family’ programming in order to get their ratings up.  I personally cannot think of a time when I will feel that slightly disguised sexual innuendos and drug humor are going to be appropriate for my daughter to watch before she is an adult.

This week, I was watching a movie that I can’t even remember the name of, and went to the ‘guide’ on my DVR.  I know I was on HBO, because I noticed one of the programs being offered for my viewing pleasure on the HBO Family Channel.  It was called All Aboard! Rosie’s Family Cruise.  Smelling a rat, I looked at the information on the show.  It said, “Feature-length chronicle of a precedent-setting 2004 cruise, in which Rosie O’Donnell and her family joined hundreds of other gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight families on a weeklong trip from NYC to the Bahamas and back.”  Holy Crap!  This is what HBO is passing off as ‘family’ programming?

Of course, this is not family programming.  It is a blatant attempt by HBO and the disgusting Rosie O’Donnell at social engineering.  Period.  This would not even be considered programming outside of the gay and lesbian context.  There are no other programs on HBO family chronicling the trips of say the Smith family to the Grand Canyon.  I was appalled.  I don’t mind the gays having their own programming such as Bravo or here! TV (heck, I even watch Top Chef), but this is a clear offensive (and I mean that in the military sense).

They would do well to remember that America does not support this type of thing.  It has already expressed its opinion in several state bans on gay marriage, and with the number of states involved, a national constitutional referendum is a real possibility.  People will simply not put up with this sort of thing, and they will vote with their feet.


Scatter Shooting at Last Night’s American Idol Results Show

Find my latest American Idol article here.

This week’s results show was, admittedly, not as bad as last week’s but that does not mean it was good.  I griped a little about Idol taking liberties with its audience after last week’s show (see the posting https://mycrocosmos.wordpress.com/2008/03/13/idol-wastes-another-hour-of-my-life/ ), but there always seems to be more that I hate about the results show.

I find it unpardonable that Idol tweaks the show length.  So, you just can’t fit this piece of crap show into one hour?   Come on.  It’s obvious why the show begins at 7:58 or ends at 9:02.  Someone at CBS has figured out that lots of people use a DRV instead of watching the show live.  Hey, if I’m going to sit through approximately an hour of this tripe, I’m not going to waste time with the commercials.

The benefit for FOX is that by starting early, they screw with people and hopefully get their ratings up (while negatively affecting the ratings of other networks in the process.  For example, I am a fan of Idol, and as a result have it set highly on my priority list in my DVR recordings.  I also like Survivor (which coincidently came on at 7:00 last night because of March Madness), and I also have it set up to record.  If I had normally recorded any other shows at seven on any other channel, the 7:58 start time scheduled by Idol would have bumped one of the other two.  Say, I had gone out for dinner with my wife, intending to watch all three when I came home.  The result would be that I would still have Idol due to priority, but I would not have one of the other programs.  Sure, I could be really anal about it, and review the start times of all my programs, and adjust their start times individually as Idol continues to adjust its start time, but that defeats the whole purpose of the DVR.  I want to be able to schedule a recording and know it will be there when I want it.

Of course from Fox’s point of view, if they can bump another network’s program from my DVR, that is addition by subtraction.  And, if they can run over a couple of minutes, maybe, the audience watching live will not be so incline to tune over to CSI after missing the initial plot builder (that audience might even hang around to watch that horrible Foxworthy show).  There is no need for the results show to be longer than 30 minutes.  The early start time or late stop time is just a reflection of the ass-holery that seems to pervade the producers of this show.


On a lighter note we were informed that we can expect appearances by the walking skeleton Dolly Parton, Mariah Carey, (Lord) Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Neil Diamond.  They definitely could have done worse (see the appearances by Kenny Rogers and Annie Lennox for example).  It should be interesting.


We were informed, as if were a big deal, that Jordan Spark’s album was “certified as gold.”  That’s really not that impressive, and pretty disappointing.  She has a nice voice, but it looks as if she will quickly be joining several other ex-Idols in the same pasture.


Speaking of Dolly, we got to see the new Dolly Parton, or at least the new Dolly wannabe, Kelly Pickler last night.  She looked nice, and the new rack did not hurt her.  But, she sounds as if she is trying to copy Dolly’s style and sound.  She still has a little bit of a nasally quality to her voice, but like Katharine, she sounds much more polished than in the past. 


On the Air with Idol:  Come on!  As bad as this idea was in the first place, it boggles my mind that they would have done it more than once.  The producers/producer of this show must be the most arrogant people/person in the entertainment industry.  This segment is useless and stupid.  I am a fan of a local talk/sports radio station (sports radio 1310 the Ticket in Dallas), and even they have figured out that producing their own content is much better than going to the phones.  I would rather listen to Barbara Walters interview Paula for ten minutes than go through that again (I had to think about this again before I wrote it, and it’s true).  The writers’ strike is over, come up with something better, or better yet, shorten the show.


The group song was a bigger train-wreck than last week’s, and that is saying something.  The singing was a mess, Ramiele’s microphone was not even on, the camera man almost fell at one point giving the audience a nice sense of vertigo, and I don’t think Amanda was even singing until her solo (which was a good thing).


I will do a whole piece on Idol Gives Back in the near future, so I am holding back fir now.  I also would like to correct myself.  I thought the top twelve went on the tour, but was corrected last night.  It is the top ten.  Kristy is still going to get her horse back though.


In the end, I was shocked to see Carly in the bottom three.  The tattoos apparently do not play well in Peoria.  She is still the most consistently good singer in the competition.  She needs to work on her presentation and personality though.  Seeing Amanda and Kristy standing together at the end was a win-win for me, and it got even better when they called Amanda’s name as the one who would leave.  Now maybe she can get someone to remove whatever is in her throat that causes that horrible sound to come out of her mouth.