I watched the People’s Choice Awards last night. I was not impressed with the choices the public was making. It made me wonder if social media had not somehow tipped the scales in favor of shows that were not particularly interesting and even annoying. Or, it could be that I am just not as smart as I should be. At any rate, the show made me think about the uproar created by Angus T. Jones last fall.
The tempest has cooled down since Jones appeared as a guest on religious television and urged the public to turn off the show he had appeared in since he was eight years old. The co-star of Two and a Half Men had a religious meltdown and urged the TV viewing public to quit watching the show that paid him $300,000 a week. On the surface his words seemed unwise. But do it he did.
He even felt that he had been damaged and said that he could never unknow what he had learned while working on the series. I thought at the time that other shows should sit up and pay attention. It could be that the sitcom world might ask itself what lines it has crossed in its story lines even though they are not breaking any laws or violating TV guidelines. If they did that, there would be a ray of hope and swarmy characters would not try to be funny any more.
I wondered why anyone was surprised at the view the young man held after having worked on Two and a Half Men. After all, wasn’t Jones simply doing what the little boy in the fairy tale “The Emperors New Clothes” had done – screaming at the top of his lungs that the Emperor did not have any clothes on? Like the Emperor, the TV show is running naked and pretending that it is cloaked in a real storyline. I was hoping that the shock value of sex was over and the public really didn’t care about or even want to watch Charlie Sheen or Ashton Kutcher take every woman they meet to bed. In fact, if the viewers wanted to, they could make a list of shows that are guilty of following Men‘s example.
I have been wondering for some time now if TV’s sitcom writers have just forgotten how to write about anything else. To include sex at the relative frequency that it would occur in real life is a lot different than making it the centerpiece of every scene with every line twisted into an sexual innuendo. I thought the public loved a good storyline. The smarter the better. I supposed that was why Elementary and Downton Abby are such hits.
This obsession had turned the sexual aspect in a storyline into a mundane and even boring subject. Or at least that was what I was hoping. Maybe it would go the way of yelling comedians and Charlie’s Angels. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the naked Emperor has been called out and it was time to make him a suit of clothes out of real cloth with some creative appeal?
But after watching the People’s Choice awards last night I am afraid that I am in the minority. Thankfully, we have a remote control with a power off button or alternative ways to select what we watch. We can each make our own choices even when the deck is stacked against us.
It is just a thought.