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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My Favorite TV Shows, Since I Lost My Mind

I am a loyal TV watcher.  It is my dirty little secret.  As an only child, I never felt alone, thanks to my TV.  My dog Lassie was loyal, and obedient ( like Stormy).  My brothers were Beaver and Wally Cleaver.  I did wonder why my real mother never wore her pearls to breakfast/ I sang with the Partridge family, and danced with Where The Action Is, it was at 4.  The TV was always on in my house.  My father watched football, my mother watched old movies.  My obsession,  old 50's sci fi movies.  Radiation was always creating giant monsters, in black and white.  The handsome brilliant scientist, in suit and tie, and the beautiful assistant in heels, saved the world.  Sometimes they saved it in English, sometimes Japanese.

Mr. Spock was my first true love. Not emotional but logical and loyal .At least he was not sleeping around with the aliens like Captain Kirk. When the kids were small, I was on hiatus. I was working full time and going to graduate school.  I could not devote my time to TV.  One exception was Sue Ellen's wardrobe, at South Folk. I was planning a Bar Mitzvah and I wanted to know what she would have worn to Jon Ross's event.  That was the outfit I wanted.

Now retired I have returned.  My daughter says I watch obscure reality.  My current favorites  are  "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo".  I loved "The Beverly Hillbillies" in their time, and this show is no different. This is how the poor people live.  When the mother June, made tomato sauce out of margerine, and ketchup, I felt compelled to mail her a Weight Watchers, eat healthy cook book, but I didn't.  The family went shopping at the local dump, then mud wrestling, now that is entertainment.

My lovely friend B, a lady of taste, education and good judgement ( really), introduced me to " Dance Moms",  The return to Oz, and the wicked witch Abby.  No she is not green, but very mean.  " I will get you and your little dancers too", she cackled in P.A.  I also have a fondness for  "Sister Wives".  They practice an interesting religion that grants multiple wives, and tons of children. Why would intelligent, attractive women choose to share their husbands four ways? " Big Love", was a better show, but this is reality.  Strange and stranger.

Top on my list is " Toddlers and Tiaras". What are they thinking in the South?  The same mentality that has brought us Miss America, and playboy bunnies, have brought little girls and a few boys, to strut, strip, and shake for strangers approval, and a five dollar crown.  The kids cry and beg not to be tanned, permed, plucked, and bleached, but the parents persist.  It is for their careers!.  Lawyers, doctors, professors, I think not.

Finally sometimes, I just want a snack.  There is Maury, Jerry, and all the judge shows.  I have recently discovered, Gypsys, and Cheerleading.  Maybe I should I consider returning to work?  Maybe I can be a TV critic, the world  needs more of those...


  1. We had only one TV, with the "portables' " arrivals when I was in my teens. Since I had a very limited amount of time during which I was allowed watch television, especially programs of my own choosing, I had to make conscious decisions. I loved quiz shows and game shows where I could try to match myself against the startlingly smart (or amazingly foolish) contestants. I loved the old movies, especially musicals with which I could sing and dance, becoming a star in my own mind. Daytime was for school, reading, biking, friends, ballet, Girl Scouts, roller skating, walking around and singing with friends.

    At night, movies, variety shows, lawyer and police shows, and sci fi were my passion, along with my family. I grew up on Ed Sullivan, Hullaballo, Perry Mason, The Defenders, The Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, and Star Trek.

    But life is busier now and more programs are written as a serial than as a series. Comedies too often are painfully silly, shallow, and stereotyped. They always were that 2-dimensional, but I was never so aware or annoyed with their flaws. There are new ones with clever script-writers, but now both the dramas and sit-coms tend to expect/demand that viewers to see every episode to understand what is transpiring. That discipline is not a fit into my crazy schedule.

    Meanwhile the reality competitions have fine-tuned their magic into compelling glimpses into how superstars can be created (in the pop-singing, acting, culinary, and fashion worlds), and these reality shows, more often than not, show reruns, should you miss one week. The result is that I have left the drama series and most sit-coms behind in favor of the reality competitions: Top Chef, Sweet Genius, and Project Run-way. I check out Cupcake Wars, The Sugar Dome, The Voice, X-Factor, American Idol, Face-Off, The Amazing Race, Chopped, and Iron Chef and even check out the non-competitive What-not-to Wear, The Talk (early PM) The View (AM), The Chew, Restaurant Impossible, Millionaire Matchmaker, and more. You can tune in and out or miss a week and still enjoy the next installment. I find them entertaining without feeling limited....But most of my "regular" television-watching starts around 10 PM due to life being away form the TV before that.

    I avoid the Housewives' Series, Honey Boo-Boo, etc. because I suspect that they are improvised dialogues for scripted plots, loosely-structured evening soap operas, like the scripting for Jerry Springer and Wrestling, appealing to our rubber-neck urges to check out disasters on the highway. The TV behavior shown is so over-the-top and outrageously bad that I switch the station before my desire to hurt these people tempts me to smash my TV instead. I have little patience for proudly and arrogantly stupid people who glorify and profit by their bad behavior. I KNOW that most viewers find these people funny, fascinating, and entertaining. I accept that my reactions are atypical and that these reality stars laugh all the way to the bank. That is why I could never be a successful TV critic. So few readers would agree with me that eventually no one would wish to read my critiques...except to rubberneck a writing disaster? Barbara

  2. I would read your critics, but I have been known to throw a shoe, or two at the television. I am trying to learn to shut the TV, but addictions are hard to break!!!! Dr. Phil are you listening?