Let me start out by saying I am not a prude. Nor do I consider myself a conservative on most issues, certainly not when it comes to social issues. I laugh at funny sexual innuendos on sitcoms and have been a fan of Two and a Half Men for many years. However, there is one thing I do have to add; I do not have any children or teenagers at home so enjoying shows with sexual overtones (and these days none of it is very subtle) is purely an adult activity. I have always been amazed that the reruns of Two and a Half Men are on so early in the evening when children are more likely to be watching television.
I have noticed lately that it seems that TV shows are going out of their way to be highly sexual and in many cases, violent. I choose not to watch the reality shows depicting “real housewives” and other varieties of what I consider the extreme of voyeurism. I am not judging those that watch these shows, I’m just wondering how many children and teenagers are watching them as well.
Last night we were flipping through channels and came upon Naked and Afraid. I was transfixed for the first few minutes and then wondered why in the world I was watching it and who thinks of this stuff. I know people will love it and that’s fine but should kids watch it? We are all aware that there is no shortage of crime drama and violence on television and that has been the case for many years. Even some of the better written investigative shows have people doing all kinds of bad things to each other. I love Perception and think it is extremely well written but we are still watching things such as one brother murdering another over jealousy.
Granted we are faced with the age old question of whether life is imitating art or art is imitating life. I think these are forever entwined and it is hard to determine which comes first, the proverbial chicken or the egg. Was Gene Roddenberry a psychic, a visionary, a man with an amazing imagination, a channel? I don’t know the answer but I do know that we sometimes have art that predates events and art that mimics events.
One of my favorite shows, Two Broke Girls, has suddenly become a feast of sexual one-liners that depict not only the appearance of simple shock effect but a raunchy quality that I am finding unattractive and frankly, offensive.
Besides pure violence, we seem to enjoy television showing the nasty side of people. Another one of my favorite shows, Hell’s Kitchen, is a good example of the vileness with which people treat each other on some television shows these days. Every season you know it’s coming – the nasty, mean, offensive language and behavior.
With all of this violence, sex and nastiness on television, I really don’t wonder why our young people are sexting, sharing nude photos of themselves and bullying each other at alarming rates on social media. Is television to blame? I doubt it. More concerning is perhaps the lack of supervision of what our youngsters are watching on television and on their tablets/smartphones/computers. The lack of conversation to accompany some of these shows to discuss what is appropriate in real life and what is simply “television” for ratings sake. I hope that adults will keep this in mind when watching some of these shows with teenagers and talk to teenagers about what shows they are watching on their tablets, smartphones, etc. Certainly the viewing of younger children should be monitored.
As I said at the very beginning of this article, I am not a prude. I also believe that everyone has the right to enjoy whatever television shows they find interesting and entertaining. But is all that sex, nastiness and violence necessary? Perhaps my two favorite and immensely popular shows shed some light on that question; Big Bang Theory and Downton Abbey. How many of us thrilled to this season of Downton Abbey and can’t wait for the next? And how many of us make sure to record Big Bang Theory (I record the repeats too) so that we can sit back and enjoy the company of what is undoubtedly one of the best written and acted shows on television?
By the way, did you catch Cosmos last night? If not, catch it tonight. You won’t find people bullying each other or raunchiness but grab the kids and teenagers and watch this one together.