Friday, February 03, 2006


Is it my imagination, or do the primetime TV shows seem even more desperate to portray PC ideas and make stabs at Republicans? I was watching a few shows last night--watching would be a little strong--maybe glancing at them as I flipped through the channels. Will and Grace seems to be getting worse and worse with PC innuendos tossed in for good measure on every show. On this one, Grace mentions the "uppity Canadians, what with their free health care and gay rights." The message? Americans refuse healthcare to many and are hung up on homophobia. And the digs about homophobia continue in another scene, while at a resort of some sort, Jack tells his son not to hug him on a street corner since one corner is named Murder and the other Homophobia. Yes, that is typical of most Americans--just ready to kill or maim any two men they see hugging. And finally, after being exasperated with this show, I watched a few minutes of the following sitcom entitled The Four Kings--apparently about four guys who live together. Forgive me if I am vague on the plot--these shows are usually too silly to follow. The gist of it seemed to be that a couple of the guys wanted their friend, brother or whatever to attend or help out with a Democratic function in order to beat a "sleezebag Republican." The dude they are talking to has to let the audience know that he is "as good a Democrat as anyone who doesn't vote" (the guy is a slacker) but does not want to attend.

Okay, I watched less than thirty minutes of TV last night and saw at least three jabs at conservatives and/or Americans in general. The Democrats are portrayed as being the norm with the conservatives being abberant racists, homophobes or sleezebags. It's no wonder people are turning away from watching primetime TV and heading to the internet for entertainment and news.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I quit watching "Cold Case", which had a good concept and was well-done, when it became painfully obvious after about 6 episodes back when it first aired that anyone portrayed as a conservative or a businessman would be the real killer.

And I don't know when was the last time I watched a full episode of Law & Order because they eventually disintegrate into another lefty polemic. Are we supposed to believe that the NYPD is a bunch of bleeding-heart lefties?

8:29 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I honestly believe that this is all intentional on the part of Hollywood: they are the enlightened ones who will educate us about what is correct thinking and behavior.

Look at the recent business of BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. The critics all gave the movie an "A" rating. We keep hearing how darned much money that movie is making, yet MOMMA'S HOUSE 2 made much more over the same period of time. We are *supposed* to like it.

Louis B. Mayer once growled "You got a message to send, use Western Union." I also realize that many movies (like CASABLANCA) did have some propaganda value.

But pushing the public around regarding the Culture Wars is wrong. How would our society feel is every sitcom pushed conservative values?

Oh, that's right: liberal values are *correct*, and better than conservative values. I forgot. Silly me, I thought that Hollywood was about making money.

8:55 AM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Edgehopper said...

See, the problem is that you stopped watching NBC at 9. Had you continued, you would have gotten the great and values-heavy show "My Name is Earl," which is also almost entirely politics-free (there's one episode where Earl helps his dad run for mayor, but parties aren't mentioned.) It's also probably the most moral sitcom on TV.

Continue on to 9:30 and watch "The Office", which has Steve Carell and no politics whatsoever. Last night it was making fun of the typical corporate "sexual harassment workshop."

8:58 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prime time TV sucks for many reasons this being just one of them. I've practically stopped watching Boston Legal because of the constant slams on conservative positions. Not only do they set up conservative positions as being wrong but when the conservatives testify they suddenly become stupid and wither under forceful cross examination unable to come up with even basic apologetics of their positions.

The episode in which the sister of a killed soldier sues the military comes to mind. Even I knew the issues related to the debate better then the guy they portrayed as the Army spokesman.

Completely unrealistic and obvious.

9:01 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must admit that I stopped watching television when I went to college. I was too busy doing other things and I realized that I had already seen the plot of whatever "new" show they were airing. I know, I missed out on "Alf" and "JAG", but that's life.

The media is doing itself in. An audience is required to make money. They are losing the audience. Some genius will figure this out and end up making billions.

Have faith; FOX News showed that there was a market for non-leftist news analysis. Someone will figure out that there is money in non-political entertainment.

9:44 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Political commentary as "entertainment" has been going on for a very long time. I believe we are more sensitized to it now than might have been the case before alternative media came along. After all, who was going to point this out a few years ago? The MSM? Not likely. Favorite themes today (never mind dialog are:

- Corporate America is evil.
- White men are stupid, or evil
- Homosexuals are really normal, nice people
- Women are unfailingly strong, intelligent, brave...

And it has become a tiring cliche that in a movie or show a/the "person in charge" will be black, female or both. If not, the nuclear physist, brilliant technician, doctor... will be. My "favorite" is the black airline pilot who talks like he just wandered in from the 'hood. "Yo man. Whas hapnin? We gone get this thang in the air today?" This sounds like a sad racist joke, but it isn't. This particular left-handed put down of blacks was a fairly recent episode I was privileged to watch.

By now I expect you think, maybe are convinced, that I am (choose one or more from the following):

Completely bonkers
All the above

Maybe. Do your own analysis. This is pervasive. It won't take long for the results to come in. I have turned off my tv. Even sports coverage has become PC. Know any good caves for sale?

10:11 AM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

The bash conservative angle never was apparent to me, likely because I've never watched the TV shows you watch.

The only TV show on network channels that I've watched recently is CSI. Perhaps I'm just inured to it but I didn't notice any overt bias there.

Knowing the passion this issue arises in others though I'm well aware someone is going to read this comment and launch into a long disquisition on the way in which CSI is biased, etc., etc., etc.

10:24 AM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger JBlog said...

"Free healthcare" in Canada, huh. Just try to get a doctor's appointment in Toronto.

"Oh, you're sick? The doctor can see you in...six weeks."

Ah well, never let reality get in the way of a good Liberal fantasy -- it IS TV, after all.

10:58 AM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Duane said...

I'll second Brian's support for "My Name Is Earl" and "The Office" and I'll put my plug in for "E-Ring".

My wife loves watching Benjamin Bratt and I love that every episode has the military doing good works while working through all the politics of career bureacrats. Definately a pro-military show...even if Ben Bratt does single handedly save the world on every other episode.

At least someone is.....

11:03 AM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Evan said...

While Three Kings is a silly show, I think you may have given up on it too early. On whole I believe the Republican character came out far better than his Democratic buddy. When the character in question came out as a Republican, his Democratic friend blasted him with the usual “you don’t care about the environment, etc.” To which the Republican replied “I care about all of those things, I just don’t think the government can solve the problem.” These are paraphrases, because truth be told I was reading a book while waiting for Earl and the Office.

11:03 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If TV people were smart -- just as there's a standardized fake phone prefix (555-), they ought to come up with standardized fake political parties.

Their positions on the right/left spectrum could remain unclear, they'd usefully avoid alienating half their potential audience (apparently they can't figure that out now), and as long as you leave issues kind of vague, viewers would bring along their own baggage and project whatever they want to see in sympathetic characters.

11:03 AM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger RayDc said...

I have had the same growing irritation at the increasing invation of snarky antiRepublican comments into every TV show.

don't mind the sniping on political and issue shows -Its expected and mostly good sport. The unexpected stealth attacks that pop up constantly like farts in church are mdriving me away from regular TV.
Perhaps that is the market driven answer that advertisers need to get.

11:09 AM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger I'm Full of Soup said...

I still watch Law & Order but I agree its producers / writers regularly insert slams at Bush and the Republicans.

11:10 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though I find the show as humorous and creative as anything on TV, I can't help but think that the bumbling simpletons on "My Name is Earl" is NBC's effort to target the red states after a thorough post-election analysis. Call me paranoid.

But it really is funny.

11:15 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are you watching shows you don't like?

11:16 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crappy sitcoms are why I became a reality TV watcher. Just as scripted, but with less pretense.

11:16 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I groan constantly over the fair on TV. I watched exactly 3 minutes of Crumbs when it was off with the tube.
However, if you really want to see an nice Republican values movie, go see Nanny McPhee.
She has only 5 things that children need to be taught and one of them is responsibility. Another teaser, actions have consequences! Who knew!
But anything from David E. Kelley, it should have a flashing light that says Stop - driving with the wheels off for the next five minutes of political screed. That is how he wrecked Ali McBeal and the Practice. He went off the prozac. And the venom was then picked up by the folks at Law and Order.
And these are the adults shows. What our kids are getting slipped in goes far beyond what we can even begin to stomach.

11:18 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to the world of prime-time TV, Dr. H. WILL & GRACE used to be one of my favorite shows; after about four seasons, it went off track (about the time they made Will sillier and Gayer, when he used to be the one sane character) and never really recovered. This final season has had its high points, but far too few. As it has grown less funny, it has become more and more a vehicle for "liberal" agitprop. Someone writing about WEST WING on another blog said that as shows decline, the writers and producers tend to aim more and more toward their core audience. For WEST WING, I think we all know who that core audience is. For W&G, however, I think the writers and producers are mistakenly assuming that all people who would watch and enjoy a program in which one of the title characters is a homosexual must be liberal Democrats--because anyone who isn't a liberal Democrat must be a bigoted homophobe, and therefore a Republican. This is an example of what has been called the Pauline Kael Cocoon, after the left-wing Manhattan film critic who said she didn't know how Nixon could have won by a landslide, because no one she knew voted for him. I've always thought that if they wanted to inject politics into the show, what would have been really daring would have been to make Will a libertarian, since the old Will, at least, was something of an individualist who resisted being a stereotype. But the people who put out WILL & GRACE would have had to put their head out of the cocooon for that to happen.

11:18 AM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Sterling said...

The only show I bother to watch regularly is "Criminal Minds" on CBS. CBS' "Numbers" is excellent, but for some twisted reason is aired at 10pm on Fridays, which is a time period when I try not to be home.

Both are shows about the FBI - Numbers latter is a bit contrived but both shows have exceptional casts and are enjoyable to watch.

I don't bother watching any shows on FOX because the network invariably kills the good ones during the first season. There's little point in getting involved. "Firefly", "Keen Eddie", "Wonderfalls" - yeah, I got the message.

11:19 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try Battlestar Galactica on SciFi network.

It's about a civilization that has been attacked and nearly destroyed by brutal Cylons. The few survivors are trying toescape the attackers and find a new home, Earth.

The show deals w/ a lot of post-9/11-style issues, liberty vs. security, military rule vs. civilian rule, what does it mean to be human?, does god (or do gods) exist, and what role does he/she/it/they play in human history?

On Battlestar, there are no easy answers, and the issues are treated fairly and evenhandedly. Sometimes the "conservative" side "wins," sometimes the "liberal" side "wins."

It's incredible how compelling a program can be when its goal is to dramatize, rather than propagandize.

11:20 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evan's correct. Helen, you are somewhat guilty of what you accuse the lefties of doing - making unwarranted charges.

The set up of "Three Kings" was to have the Democrat be arrogant and dismissive -- and then (after you stopped watching) confront his own prejudices against Republicans (including his roommate).

As for Will & Grace, Jack warns his son about the bad group of older boys he's hanging out with. The son ignores him, and his buddies rob and ditch him in the worst part of town. Jack arrives to pick up his son, there's the typical sitcom Dad was right scene, and then Jack -- who is gay and effeminant -- refers to the bad part of town and says they shouldn't hug because they're at the intersection of murder and homophobia.

Yes, Helen, in bad parts of town it IS dangerous for two males to hug.

11:24 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just watch "South Park" and "The Simpsons" and you will feel fine - liberals lost their sense of humor a long time ago.

11:24 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On a recent 'Law and Order - Criminal Intent' the "bad guys" were killing judges. After the murder of one particular judge, the dialogue went like this - "Why would they kill him? He was a conservative, opposed to Abortion, pro-death penalty, and opposed to bus-ing".

Unspoken was "why would the crazies kill one of their own?"

11:26 AM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger big_wannabe said...

CSI's bias is anti-gun, typical of CBS in general.

The episode where someone using a gun for self-defense is killed with their own gun is the perfect example complete with stupid Actors dropping BS lines straight from the VPC about getting killed with your own gun.

If you want to watch homicide detectives at work, watch A&E's The First 48. Reality is 10 times better than tired hollywood cliche.

11:27 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Political shots have been included here and there on sitcoms for a while. Years ago (10, 15?) I was watching comedian Brett Butler's show and remember being shocked when they tossed out a quick, cheap and very direct political shot. I was stunned. I mean, it didn't really fit into the plot of the show and it was obvious they had to work hard to jam it in. I thought, wow, why do that? Why just insult a good portion of your audience? I waited to see if they would pop the other side, which would at least make it fair. No.
I found that a quite a few shows did this. Not to any degree to make it a central theme, or even that noticeable. And it was never even clever observations, but just cheap occasional hits, as if they really couldn't help themeselves. (Oooo, that felt good...giggle giggle).
I do agree with others here that a different point of view is being seen more (i.e. South Park). And I found it interesting that on a recent Earl show, Brett Butler played a "low-rent" person who continued to do things that contributed to her situation, and when confronted about them, would use the tired, liberal line: "But don't you judge me." It was almost a full circle! And very refreshing.

11:29 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another plug for Battlestar. It's sci-fi which turns most people off initially, but the spaceship is just more of the stage. It's a compelling story and very well written drama. Arguably, the best drama show on TV right now.

11:29 AM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger betsybounds said...

Anonymous said: "They are losing the audience. Some genius will figure this out and end up making billions."

Have you heard of Mel Gibson?

11:30 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TO: Dr. Helen
RE: Television?

What's that?

We disconnected from what was passing for television in '98.

Since then we've built up our collection of DVDs and VHSs to over 2000 items, mostly on the savings from the cable service; which would not carry what we REALLY wanted to watch.

We had occasion to watch the television in a motel room a week ago. As we were on a trip. After 30 minutes of looking around, we decided that things had NOT improved, although they had 'changed'....for the worse.

So I broke out the laptop and we watched a DVD instead.


[Television is educational. Everytime someone turns one on, I go read a good book. -- Groucho Marx]

11:36 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a highbrow but when I moved/divorced 2 years ago, I did not hook up to cable TV. So, I only use my TV for watching videos. I don't feel like I missed anything. As Dr. H does, I get all the news I want (and more) from the web.

I'll admit, I miss the History Channel, as well as Discovery and a few others. And if the tyrants who run the cable service would let me shop cafeteria style and BUY ONLY WHAT I WANT TO WATCH I would gladly subscribe to those.

TV - you can live without it.

11:37 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How could y'all forget The Daily Show? When Jon Stewart first took it over it was hilarious. There was never any doubt to the leaning of the show, but it was somewhat evenhanded, and the digs at the right were clever and funny and most importantly they were JOKES.
Then Jon Stewart turned it into an advocacy program and he spews nothing but bile.

11:41 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right about Will and Grace. I was a big fan of that show from the very beginning. In the last few years the humor has diminished, but the digs at Republicans and "red state" Americans continue to increase.

The last episode I watched had Will and Jack dancing together at a country club, in brave defiance of homophobic America. It was like watching a bad after-school special from the '70s. Do they NOT realize that they're on a top-rated, long-running GAY sitcom? Sheesh.

How easy to be brave and noble in the face of an imaginary foe.

11:42 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sure does seem these days that most TV dramas & sitcoms are either totally devoid of political comment, or show varying degrees of left leaning. And those that don't toe the line? The media critics were all a tizzy with the FX program Over There when the producers talked about raising questions about the fighting in Iraq...but when the show turned quickly into something very supportive of the troops and what they were doing, the media lost interest.

I watched an episode or two of Commander in Chief, but only because an old high school friend is an assistant director. The Gina Davis character is allegedly an independent, but she seems to come down often on the liberal side in her final decisions. Meantime bad guy Donald Sutherland is supposedly a Democrat, but he's also a conservative and Speaker of the House (which in 2006 screams "Republican"). If the producers had wanted to do something truly different, they should have made the Davis character a Libertarian and stuck to it. Imagine a TV show about a US president who is pro-choice but also pro-gun, who cuts taxes but also ends the war on drugs. Now that would attract attention.

11:46 AM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Richard said...

I agree about Battlestar Galactica. You cna make an educated guess about the general politics of Ron Moore, the creator, but they don't bleed over into the show in any knee-jerk way. He realizes that there is plenty of muddled gray which, thankfully, is not construed on the show as meaning the concept of right and wrong is useless, but rather that finding the right path is often hard.

And to the poster who suggested two fictitious parties that don't really correspond to the real ones, that wouldn't work that well on a real show, but in effect that has been done on Battlestar Galactica. In tensions between the military and civilian himans, or the humans vs Cylons, many topical issues are explored, but there are no simple-minded parallels such as Cylons = Islamists, Cylons = Christian fundamentalists, or military = fascist Republicans and civvie govt= enlightened Dems.
As someone said, its impressive how much ground can be covered in making people think (while enjoying themselves, no less) when the writers don't et an obvious my side-your side bias creep in.

Back to the Will and Grace nonsense -- that's exactly how "Ellen" blew it. Once her character came out for a brief while she was Ellen who happened to be gay, with some reasonable story lines about the funny as well as touching aspects of her, and others', coming to terms with it. But then later it became more strident and the show became more and more about "lesbian Ellen" vs "Ellen, who is a lesbian".

And FWIW I'm really sick of the term "homophobe". The term is intentionally misused to connote irrational "hate" and fear, to damn those who are tolerant of what others do in their private lives while objecting to PC-mandated celebration of it.

How come gay men are never similarly described as gynophobes or cunnophobes?

11:49 AM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Red A said...

Little Britain is hilarious...

11:51 AM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger acassa said...

Another hat tip for Battlestar Gallactica.
Forget that it is Sci-Fi.
It is one of the most thought-provoking shows I have ever watched and deals with some big issues in a very profound way.

11:51 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw the episode of the Four Kings last night, and while it did make some gratuitous shots at Republicans, the Republican character came off alot better than the Democratic one. He was the one who kept his politics secret because he knew his friend would react negatively, which he did. In other words, the Republican was the more tolerant one who didn't let politics get in the way of their friendship, while the Democrat did, although he came around in the end. Actually, this seems quite a bit like my experience, really.

However, I also saw ER, where James Woods guest starred (who I normally like). But in this case, his character had ALS, and blasted George Bush for "banning embryonic stem cell research." Which, of course, Bush did no such thing, nor could he. It's simply not funded by government. And issues of banning it or funding it would be entirely up to Congress anyway. Bush can only make suggestions in that arena. I think if they're going to Bush bash, they should at least know what they are talking about. The show gave you the feeling that this poor character would be cured if it weren't for the evil Bush and his uncompassionate policies. ER seems to be filled with this kind of crap.

But I don't really care much. I'm used to such things these days, and I mostly watch sports and the scifi channel anyway.

11:54 AM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to be a great fan of ER, but it got so PC in the last few years that viewing it was like being an inmate in a reeducation camp: "Carrie Weaver is a lesbian: YOU WILL EMBRACE DIVERSITY AND SYMPATHIZE WITH HER IN EVERY CONFLICT--UND YOU VILL LIKE IT! When wealthy doctor Carter spends his personal fortune to Get Guns Out Of The South Side and Fed-Ex AIDS drugs to Africa: YOU WILL ADMIRE HIM. When European Dr. Kovach lectures the simplisme Americans on the idiocy of your McDonald's and Wal-Mart and your chimpanzee warmonger president, YOU WILL AGREE WITH HIM!" And so on. Is it even still on anymore?

12:00 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger trza said...

I know! And then they tried to form a union on "the Office"! Unions! Can you believe it!!! What an insult to America.

You people need to lighten up.

12:01 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never been a fan of the 30 minute sitcom genre, so don't know if it's worse now than before. I do enjoy the various crime shows and yes there's some bias weaved into a lot of them, but it's generally not really that big a deal to me. Cold Case may be a tad more so than the others, but I really watch that for the blond star.

Someone noted E-Ring, I like that show a lot, they do dig at Bush or Rumsfeld from time to time, but it's not generally in an in your face style.

I also like Boston Legal, yes I know the Denny Crane character is designed to mock Republicans, but I still find it amusing. They did however, almost lose me a few weeks back when they had the Alan Shore character reading off a shopping list of lefty talking points that sounded like a direct cut and paste from DU or DK, but they've not been as bad since or it would be too annoying to continue watching.

12:07 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Stormy70 said...

I like Bones on Fox. They actually had a civil debate over religion, without mocking anyone.

CSI:Miami is very pro-death penalty, and CSI:NY has Gary Sinise, who has a picture of Reagan in his office. I see very little politics in all the CSIs, which is very refreshing.

Thank God I haven't seen it in Criminal Minds, since it is one of my favorite new shows.

12:08 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Office has the same merit as Battestar--it does not take sides, and lets the audience laugh at everyone. We get to laugh at the boss Michael's ridiculous insensitivity as well as the equally ridiculous "sensitivity training" regime.

When will entertainment gurus recognize that stories are just better when the merits (and absurdities) of the characters are depicted evenhandedly?

12:08 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The biggest disappointment to me in this regard has been the Simpsons. I expect liberal rants from Will and Grace and the Daily Show. But in the last 2 years we have seen the Simpsons going to Canada for cheap prescriptions, go visit an iceberg that was complately melted due to global warming, and take a million un-funny potshots at Conservatives which were not funny (in that they seemed like they were trying to make a point more than just get a laugh).

12:09 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Hmmm said...

Wait a minute.

Some people still watch network TV?


12:10 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Andrew Graff said...

"Try Battlestar Galactica on SciFi network."

BG is one of the last two shows on TV I care about (the other being Ken Burn's 'American Experience'), and I agree that it is a show with superior writing and concept to most anything else on TV (though not I should note superior to the sadly cancelled 'Firefly').

However, even on BG the underlying theme is always 'We Are the Enemy', and by 'we' its very clear that the author means 'Western civilization'. Even with genocidal (monotheistic I might add) Cylons snapping babies necks and wiping out 99.99% of the human race, the Cylons are more or less philosophically excused for thier actions - mere abused children revenging themselves on thier abusive parents (in a desparate attempt to be loved?) - while the humans are shown repeatedly to be morally bankrupt authors of thier own troubles.

Ultimately, I think the show is going to fall apart under the weight of its this far subtly concealed and measuredly complex message. Ultimately, I think the Cylons 'plan' is increasingly revealed to be corny and the underlying message increasingly PC and incoherent. It's going to be alot like 'Revenge of the Sith'. You can't write a sustained morally complicated story about good and evil without a sophisticated conception of good and evil, which incidently is why Tolkein is still without peer in the field of fantasy.

12:12 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, my favorite part of the Office last night was when Michael's boss threatened to close down the warehouse and fire everyone who had talked about forming a union. It's great to see a corporate Republican character depicted in such a strong manner. It really shut up those ungrateful slobs who were whining about their pay and benefits!!!

12:13 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You people need to lighten up.

Oh, come on. The posts here don't exactly sound like we're all "outraged" at the disrespect with which we've been subjected to. Most are more along the lines of, "yeah, it gets annoying, so I quit watching it."

Let people talk about what they want to talk about. If the subject doesn't interest you, or you don't think it's important, move along. Last I checked, there's millions of other blogs out there.

12:13 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Cosmo said...

I started tiring of PC evangelism way back during the middle seasons of M*A*S*H, when each episode seemed to involve sending two 'enlighted,' sensitive guys from the 1970's back to the very square and uncool 1950's, with predictable results.

Annonymous 11:37: Sorry to say, but I've seen some Discover and History channel shows peddling PC nonsense and re-written history. Similarly, it's been going on for years at my beloved childhood National Geographic magazine, which can't seem to avoid kindergarten-level moralizing.

12:14 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Mark B. about The Daily Show. It was pretty evenhanded until the elections heated up and it decided to apply its (funny!) smear pretty much only onto one side of the spectrum. Essentially, Jon Stewart told me to f#$k off. So I did!

Now, off to find a life.

12:14 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Pat McL said...

I chanced to watch Will & Grace during the daytime, repeats on Lifetime.

So I watched and after a while I couldn't understand how on earth such a show remained on TV.

First, forget the homophobe, it isn't funny. There's maybe two, three good homosexual jokes. After that, it's all repeat.

The humor is just plain sex all the time. One time Grace was determined to engage in a menage a trois. The whole theme was that she should be ashamed at not having participated in such a thing.

It's too alternate a reality and I can't imagine children watching that show.

My husband, who's hardly a homophobe but he is a heterosexual so let that fact be the guide, always grouches about that "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy". He mumbles "It just sets out to make heterosexual males look stupid and silly." Goodness, I hadn't even thought about this but it is the premise of the show.

And it's not just the homosexual themed shows, no it's not. The latest episodes of "Friends" even "Jerry Seinfeld" were always all about sex. Seinfeld sometimes was funny about it but beyond that, it's all just juvenile snickers.

These shows will just keep falling by the wayside until those producing them get a clue.

12:21 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really, Anon, you really liked that part of the office? Oh, wait--the triple exclamation points tell me you're being sarcastic. Hoo-boy, that's one on me! Because I thought you would have hated the corporate yuppess reminding the workers that they were on private property in jobs financed with private capital, and so their "right" to unionize was non-existent. (Personally, I'd like to see them all earning a million dollars of year with unlimited benefits. Heck, I'd like to see ME have that stuff.) As much as yuppies tend to nauseate me, that corporate babe on THE OFFICE is hot. If they ever get around to filming ATLAS SHRUGGED, she should play Dagny.

12:22 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Richard J Rosendall, Front Page Magazine Feb 2, 2006;

" Every year at about this time, the U.S. State Department publishes a 5,000-page report to Congress on human rights conditions in over 190 countries.

State began systematically including anti-gay abuses in the internationally respected report in 1991 during the first Bush administration.

This was done in response to a request by gay activists who met with the analyst at State responsible for preparing the report.

As one participant, Michael Petrelis, tells it, the official “promised, on behalf of State, to include anti-gay violations, provided he received verifiable documentation from non-government agencies, U.S. embassies, and human rights activists.”

(Please note how, contrary to what you might expect if you listened to left-wing rhetoric, gay activists had no difficulty meeting with the appropriate officials to address their concerns during a Republican administration.)"

Sorry for the long copy and paste but isn't it interesting that so often facts contradict completely what people on the left are accusing the right of?

12:24 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's always funny to me when people go on rants whatever side of the political fence they stand on. Apparently there are a whole lot of people still buying what hollywood is selling so what? turn off the tv rent only movies that make you happy. Gawd, people lighten up. Most of the guys that write those things are just doing a job and they would do what it takes to bring home the bacon. Of course they have their biases, but the funny thing to me is that I'm not sure a lot of people here would complain if it was the other way round. The people who won't do a lot of complaining are the ones who've mentioned in this thread that they've learned to ignore the politics and just have fun. As an example of how retarded some of these whinings about biases are, blacks generally are socially conservative (i.e. call it homophobes if you like) and if you ever bother to take a minute to watch the nick cannon Wild'n'out show, you'll see more jabs at gays than any other show but I've not heard from Glaad about it, maybe it's because it's blacks making fun of gays. Gawd it's tv (it's called a medium for a reason) If you're so pissed why don't you write a script and make those billions.

12:25 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"... I think if they're going to Bush bash, they should at least know what they are talking about..."

This is why I practically break out in hives when I try to watch prime-time shows. The cheap shots are just so lame--dare I say sophomoric?--that it's embarrassing. The writers don't know what they're talking about.

What's really a drag is when your friends who watch all this dreck pop off the same way because it must be true or wouldn't be the subject of so much satire. Out of mercy I resist saying, you watch too much TV, get a life, or at least read a book (besides Harlequin).

SNL did good social satire on the social liberal mindset, even Al Franken. It's like they didn't really realize what they were doing.

12:33 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's always funny to me when people go on rants about people who go on rants...

12:34 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He was the one who kept his politics secret because he knew his friend would react negatively, which he did. In other words, the Republican was the more tolerant one who didn't let politics get in the way of their friendship, while the Democrat did, although he came around in the end. Actually, this seems quite a bit like my experience, really.

Story of my life. Except they haven't really come around.

12:35 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be the fifth or sixth poster to recommend Battlestar Galactica on the SciFi network. There is nothing else on the network that I can watch, but most of the time Battlestar Galactica treats both sides of the political spectrum with dignity.

12:36 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Seinfeld, Friends, Will & Grace...These shows will just keep falling by the wayside until those producing them get a clue."

That is hilarious.

12:37 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Gibbie the labrat said...

I'm completely addicted to Law and Order, but i don't see any leftist/rightist leanings. Its more about 'we don't want to set a bad precedent' than anything else. Although these are the old episodes on TNT. I haven't watched the new ones. I think bias is inherent, if a storywriter happens to underpin his show with his philosophies (moral, political, etc), who are we to say what is right/wrong? I understand the leftist bend of Hollywood, and I'm not in favor of it, but perhaps we should realize that entertainment can not be without inherent moral underpinnings, good, bad or otherwise. We value substance in our entertainment, without these underpinnings, TV shows would deflate like a balloon. (On the other hand, lots of people like to watch truely amoral shows like cooking and decorating shows, maybe America is tired of moral lessons).

12:40 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The leftists have their dumb dumb shows. So what? We have South Park.

12:43 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Alcibiades said...

Everyone is lauding Battlestar Galactica. For a reason - because it is good. And it has some very interesting ideas. Unlike almost every other show on tv these days.

There was an interview in the NYTimes Magazine about it before the second season started where the two creators of the new series came right out and said that one of them was blue state and the other red state - and they consciously nix any comments and plot twists that read too overtly prejudiced in one direction or the other. So if anything looks like just another attempt at facile bashing, they get rid of it. The formula seems to be working, too.

12:43 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's always funny to me when people make glib quips about people who go on rants about people who go on rants........

12:44 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Brian Tiemann said...

The main thing about CSI is that every episode seems to be an excuse to showcase the Downtrodden Minority of the Day.

If it's not the Noble Deaf People episode, it's the Noble Short People episode, or the Noble Fat People episode, where the CSIs investigate some crime at a convention of the Downtrodden Minority in question and are harangued by the attendees about how they're shunned by society and the audience feels all guilty about not knowing sign language or not finding a 300-pound woman attractive.

True, often the murderer is a member of the community in question; but that's always a fault of the individual, and as often as not just a result of the Downtroddenness of his Minorityness. The end result is that you end up with this vision of society as being an evil, oppressive place, and you feel guilty if you're not a member of the group they're lionizing.

Hell, I'm gay, and it makes ME feel guilty for not being a midget/fat/deaf/etc.

12:45 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does no one here watch NCIS? It's pretty much JAG with better writing and a bigger cast.

And I'm not sure that I agree with the idea that BG will collapse under the 'we are the enemy' theme, which I don't see as being quite as strong as the poster who mentioned it. Everytime the show seems to be slipping in that direction, the Cylons do something so completely heinous (like the baby farms, or 6's counterpart getting the nuke) that it completely blows that idea out of the water. I think it has more to do with the writers toying with audience expectations.

12:46 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's NOT your imagination.

I used to like Will & Grace- thought it was funny. Not anymore.

I was on a United flight and they showed an episode of Will nd Grace as in-flight entertainment. I cannot remember what "Grace" said exactly, but it was clearly anti-Republican.

I also remember an episode where Grace yelled out how she "hated jelly beans!" I think we all know who loved them - Ronald Reagan. That thought crossed my mind immediately.

12:50 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to be glib! It does seem some folks need to lighten up. i.e. "Gawd, people, am I the only rational human being on the planet who can refrain from having a biased opinion about what's biased on television on a thread that is's biased on television?! I mean...Gawd, people."

12:52 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger in_the_middle said...

oh great, a shrink falls victim to her own perceptions and makes the fatal error (usually enough to make me wonder if you are a licenses psych, i'm guessing no) of assuming, however falsely, that a) people watch the show with an eye out for any 'jabs' at anyone--including republicans or b) that their perceptions are shared by everyone else.

i can tune into george lopez or 'war at home' and find enough homophobia to cancel out any PC bias you are guessing is around here.

in other words, just tune out if it's not for you.

12:53 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Cousin Pat said...

If you're looking for good TV entertainment that isn't PC, I'd say tune into "The Shield" or "Rescue Me" on FX, just keep the young kids out of the room.

But I'm definitely going to have to investigate this Battlestar Galactica thing.

12:53 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger in_the_middle said...

ah yes, and 'rescue me' is another great example of unbridled homophobia and ethnic slur. i like the show, but i don't look out for those comments. i just groan and move past it. you might like it. tune in!

12:54 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all the "lighten up" commenters: Go fork off. We're discussing something that we don't like and we're a bit tired of. We're recommending shows that we think others might like (I suggest "KIng of the Hill"). Also, we don't ask that TV shows be conservative, just that they "lighten up" a bit and lay off the gratuitous digs. Is that too much to ask for?

12:55 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As to instapundits comment about debra messing, was there ever a time when she was attractive? She always looked too bony in my opinion, with platypal lips and owlish eyes (bad combo). Anyway one mans meat....

12:58 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have kids but I sometimes rent "kids" DVDs , and when I rented " The incredibles " I was pleasantly surprised.

They don't push one single "progressive idea" in " the Incredibles" but yet it is very modern.

If you are anything close to a conservative, go rent the incredibles, it is incredibly good!

12:59 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if there will be any sociological ramifications from the fact that conservatives seem to be watching less tv than liberals? First, it would be facinating to see viewing habits broken down by party affiliation. If it turns out to be true, would that give children of conservatives an edge in the future, since watching tv correlates negatively with many factors of success? Obviously I am working with anecdotal evidence, but if conservatives tuning out is a trend, it could have some interesting long term effects.

1:00 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Clark said...

Actually I think it was Samuel Goldwyn who made the comment about messages and Western Union.

1:01 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's always funny to me.....oh sorry somebody already said it...

1:03 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

But apparently it is PC to poke fun at Christians. Some Christians are annoyed but at least they're not shouting death to Will and Grace. Just praying, with the rest of us, for a cancellation.

1:04 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Simpsons used to be reliably even-handed (while the ultra-religious Ned Flanders was mocked, and Rev. Lovejoy was presented as a disbelieving cynic, the Simpsons were also one of the few TV families that were regularly seen in church at all; and politicians of all stripes were seen as equally corrupt and dim) but a few years ago that changed, and these days we hear Homer saying unfunny and uncharacteristic things like "Anything is possible with Commander Koo-Koo Bananas in charge."

1:08 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Willys said...

I watch '24' and cable news, mostly biz. Everything else is internet, including XM radio.

1:11 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 12.50pm I hate jellybeans and i'm conservative (fiscally, socially whatever) so what does that prove?

1:11 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger submandave said...

I've posted about three episodes I've seen that took cheap shots at the military and/or Iraq, and I'm a 2-3 hr/week viewer.

- The Without a Trace episode where a stereotypical crazed war vet returns home to a "Dear John" and tries to rob a bank to get enough money to win back his ex.

- The Crossing Jordan episode where another crazed war vet returns to plant a bomb in the trunk of his ex's fiancé. (bonus points to this one for providing us a video diary of the soldier crying about how pointless the whole war is, killing children, etc.)

- The Crossing Jordan episode where the Colonel kills the returned war vet to keep him from blowing the whistle on defective body armor. (more bonus points for using this story line to support opposition to the war by implying that the fictitious defective armor is partly responsible for the > 2000 real-world dead)

As for why anyone watches network TV any more, one simple answer: it's free. My experience from surfing cable when we visit my parents is that the money we save from not subscribing is worth more than the marginal entertainment benefit gained from subscribing.

1:16 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 12.52pm: we rule the house, we rule the senate, the dems are in disarray so no white house for them in a long while to come, I'm biased but I just don't give a rats ass if tv shows are biased. I'm not better than you are or maybe i

1:18 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 1:18: I want some of whatever it is you're smoking...or maybe I don'

1:25 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto on the Battlestar Galactica accolades...I think it's one of the two best shows on television.

I don't agree, however, with the expressed sentiments that it doesn't push a political most certainly does. It's just that it pushes the correct political agenda; namely, the idea that neither side of the political spectrum has all the answers and that both ideologies - liberalism and conservatism - are necessary for a functional, thriving society. And the way they're illustrating the dangers of allowing one side or the other to gain control this season is brilliant: early in the season with the draconian admiral of the Battlestar Pegasus and now, the blame-humanity-first "peace" movement.

But my favorite show is - don't laugh - Smallville.

I know that everyone think it's just a silly WB teen drama, but it's really a whole lot more than that. The show - which is, of course, based on the Superman mythology - is all about how we become who we become. And that sentiment is explored through the development of the two main characters: Clark Kent and Lex Luthor.

Clark is raised by two loving parents who instill in him the belief that doing what is right is not a negotiable proposition. Lex, on the other hand, is raised by a sociopath, who teaches his son that power is life's only worthwhile goal.

The show's in its fifth season and it just keeps getting better. At this point in the story, Clark is beginning to realize that he's not going to be able to live a normal, human life. With the recent death of his father, who literally sacrificed his health in an earlier season to save Clark, Clark is beginning to see that some things are more important than personal gratification and comfort. For Lex, despite his efforts to find a different path than that laid out by his father, his bitterness and anger are growing more and more pronounced. Every time he fails to secure an outcome that he wants, his natural inclination is to grab for more power and control.

The pathos lies in the viewer knowing that neither Clark nor Lex will have a "happy" ending. Clark will become Superman, but basically that means a lonely life of protecting humanity at the expense of his own personal desires. And Lex will become something akin to the next Hitler, a megalomaniac bent on the total domination of humanity. And the two who began as best friends will end up becoming mortal enemies.

Oh...and don't forget to check out The Wire when it returns this fall. How The Sopranos receives the accolades it does while The Wire is basically ignored is beyond me.

1:34 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it hard to watch anything in prime time without spotting the PC messages. I used to love Law and Order, but can barely stomach it anymore.

My main beef now, is with the commercials. It seems that all spots have the same plot...stupid man, being taken care of by brilliant woman. I've got to get a TIVO to zoom through this garbage.

1:34 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

I like Battlestar Galactica, the Sopranos, and Nip/tuck.

The latter is probably too sexually engrossing for the conservatives in the audience.

1:36 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Michael Roy Hollihan said...

I can't believe, way down here, I'm the first person to suggest "King of the Hill." Democrats and Republicans don't enter into the show, but it's very clear this is a conservative, family values program. It never misses an opportunity to mock the PC feel-gooders with their own words and deeds. The main characters are all complex and contradictory. It's still a very funny show despite having been on a while now.

I'll also give a shout out to "Battlestar Galactica." Don't let the SF tag worry you, you can safely watch the show and ignore the SF content. It's all about people and relationships under terrific, life and death pressure.

"CSI" does have a definite PC bias, if not an explicitly political one. If the Sarah Siedl (sp?) character could be any more smug, she'd get a bitch-slap. (If you'll pardon the expression.) The show routinely drops in little digs all the time.

By the way, the "Will and Grace" problem is endemic to long-running sitcoms. After all the possible character combinations and permutations have been exhausted, the characters become stock, locked-in stereotypes of themselves. Organic comedy is replaced by shrillness and manic energy to try to hide the change. Characters need something to say while they are being shuffled into position for whatever gag setup the "joke" requires, so writers resort to the feel-good politics or stock situations of their day to make it work. It's been going on since "Lucy."

1:44 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave is right! Everybody knows conservatives can't have erections/lubricate. Watching something "sexually engrossing?" What would be the point?

1:46 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

Anon: It was a joke.

Are you people really that sensitive that you can't tell satire from reality?

1:46 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Dr. Helen, you keep getting these instalanches, its like you're married to the guy or something ;>).

To the subject at hand. I quit watching prime-time TV years ago and don't miss it. In their effort to get the message out they stopped being entertaining.

1:50 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on, Dave, it was a joke! Are you really that sensitive that you can't tell satire from reality? I am working with you, not against you and together we can build something beautiful...?

1:52 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Going back about a decade, I remember being shocked -- shocked! -- by an episode of "Frasier" where he and Niles enthusiastically jumped into a campaign for a liberal-Democrat running for Congress in Seattle, voicing support for all his progressive stances and going all out to get him elected, before discovering the guy was a raving lunatic.

Given the personalities of the Crane brothers and where they were living, their liberal politics made perfect sense, but the episode's punchline was definitely out of character for network TV. It was only a few years later that Kelsey Grammer outed himself as a Republican, which made it more understadable how an episode like that could have gotten on the air.

1:53 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've long believed that if a room full of TV writers were given the challenge to write one episode without any sex, cursing, or slams against conservatives, the group would be sitting in that room until they finally quit or died of starvation.

Watch any old rerun of Andy Griffith, Dick Van Dyke, etc. and you can quickly see that the level of writing has gone down dramatically in the past decade or so. Today's writers could not even come close to that level of comedy.

My frustration is, that we all gripe about it, we all say we hate it, yet it keeps going and keeps getting worse. Why can't we do something more than complain?bbswrgjx

1:54 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Jeff Faria said...

You're correct about the slant, Helen. The reason is that networks like to target concentrations of homogeneous interests. For example, they'd like a World Series to feature, say, The Yankees and The Dodgers rather than The Mariners and The Rockies. The Yankees and Dodgers simply have more fans.

What you're seeing is the result of a long-term trend toward a targeting of the attitudes of large urban areas. Nets are less interested in whether something "plays in Peoria" anymore. They used to be. Back in the day when there were limited viewing options, TV networks 'dumbed down' to the lowest common denominator. The goal was basically to offend as few people as possible across as broad a spectrum as possible. The nets were located in urban areas (still are, mostly), but what would tip the Nielsen meter and "win" a time slot (a point or two was life or death in the 3-network era) was that heartland viewer.

That meant jokes about the president had a respectful ceiling. So did anti-war remarks, even through most of Vietnam. Set side by side, there's nothing back then like the virulent anti-war expressions you see today. The protestors had no axe to grind but their own, but everything was framed cautiously by the media. You would not see religion mocked as you do today, since you would lose the heartland viewer for no good reason. You WOULD see Gilligan's Island. You would NOT see Elvis' pelvis.

Today, a handful of networks no longer dominate the pipeline. What a network wants to do now is target a large, desirable demographic. 'Large' means urban, 'desirable' means young, and together it means a leftist (Democratic) sensibility. If you made a list of talking points you'd expect from left-leaning Democrats, and compared it with what you see espoused on network TV, you'd see a near-perfect match.

For example, you WON'T see a pro-Bush, pro-Iraq, anti-abortion, etc., character on network TV (except perhaps portrayed as an idiot). You'll see few openly religious characters portrayed (although overtly religious people do exist in large cities, especially among heavy-TV-watching Hispanics and African-Americans, so I would not say never).

Cable TV is a different animal. They're fighting over the demographic scraps, so they will often target the heartland as an underserved market. But even here, if a cable network is 'aspirational' and targeting network-type numbers, they will target a network-type audience.

Cable TV's situation reminds me of Rockabilly. Rockabilly was hard-wired to a Southern attitude. This endeared the musician to small Southern audiences, but it also prevented large-scale acceptance. When you listen to Elvis' full legacy of music, you can hear him lose the 'Billy' as he moved to find his mainstream 'Rock' audience.

I really appreciate the Simpsons' reference made in earlier comments. It's true - the show's great strength for years was in its even-handed approach to issues. This is what saved it when it was thrown into the lion's den against Cosby, which had shredded lesser shows. The Simpsons were able to play to both an urban audience AND a heartland audience because of the overall quality of its material, fairminded approach. Like South Park, but in a different way, the Simpsons were equal-opportunity offenders. (The fall-off in quality on the show is, I guess, widely evident.) King of the Hill takes a different approach to the problem, making a redneck central character sympathetic to an urban audience. But these are exceptions to the rule, because such shows require an unusual level of skill and commitment to bring off. Pandering, Will and Grace's approach, is far easier and therefore far more common.

1:57 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Stephen M. St. Onge said...

Patrick Armstrong:

        _Battlestar Galactica_ is a soap, with most episodes heavily dependent on what happened before, so you might want to check out the DVD of the pilot and season one before jumping into this season.

        That said, _BG_ is one of the few shows I watch anymore. I like _Lost_, _Monk_ and _24_, and the one episode of _Bones_ I saw was good. I also like _Gilmore Girls_, although there are times when the creators go off the deep end with their politics. Fortunately, they dialed that back a lot after the election.

        I don't watch anything on CBS.  They went over the line one time to often for me.

        In general, I agree with Dr. Helen.  The idiots go out of their way to make political points, all one-sided, stupid, and left-wing.  Even worse, the shows aren't entertaining, because unless you're a liberal, you won't think the statement "Bush is a jerk," is, or "Christians are bigots" is insightful social commentary.

        Thanks, people, I'll have to try some of the shows you recommended, if they're not on CBS.

The House of Saud Must Be Destroyed!

1:59 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

Anon @ 1:52: Point taken.

Anon @ 1:54: "Watch any old rerun of Andy Griffith, Dick Van Dyke, etc. and you can quickly see that the level of writing has gone down dramatically in the past decade or so."


Those shows are rather simplistic. Their writing is stilted and the performances wooden and naive.

I think Mr. Snitch has a lot of interesting things to say about the state of TV today. I've read Tyler Cowen write before that we are about to enter a "golden age" of television, in which in the increasing ease of TV production and concomittant falling costs will allow many more TV "channels" to appear, catering to smaller niches.

I suspect that there are a lot of conservatives flush with cash who are eager to leverage this technology, and develop their own content. It may be distributed via the web, but TV and the internet are quickly combining to be one entertainment platform. My bet is that within the next five years, those whose political or religious affiliations do not allow for them to watch mainstream, mass culture network TV programming will have lots to choose from, via other channels.

Personally, I don't find the presence of bias particularly interesting or troubling--when I do watch network TV I just ignore it or change the channel.

But if Cowen is correct, for those predisposed to be alienated by slights against their beliefs, a new era of entertainment should dawn on us, in which the number of TV shows explodes, much as blogs have increased significantly the amount of viewpoints aired on any given topic.

(This also, it should be mentioned, is obviously a theme explored in Dr. Helen's husband's book.)

2:05 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another great show that hasn't been commented on is House. The characters are deep, and the "modern" sensibilities often get skewed.

2:06 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Quadraginta said...

Well, first let us note that the network television audience is becoming feminized and older. Young people and men are watching it less, turning to games and online stuff more. Also people with coolly analytical minds have been lured away by DVDs and cable. So what you're left with is much more touchy-feely sensitive types with relatively short cognitive attention spans and a taste for the tableau vivant emotional set piece.

Second, yay Battlestar Galactica, which I watch through iTunes on the computer. Once you get used to the God-damned annoying "Blair Witch Project"-style cinematography, the writing is very good. Unlike others, I don't give a flying f*ck about what "issues" a TV show explores or what philosophical points it might make. TV isn't church, an academic symposium on philosophy and the mind, or even a quiet talk with your dad -- it's just entertainment, mental masturbation. If you're looking for epiphanies in front of the boob tube you're a priori an idiot.

But BG does tells very absorbing, creative stories, stories that leave you hanging on the edge of the seat wanting very much to know what happens next. It's great.

Plus -- big bonus here -- they have a remarkably strong cast, excellent acting from Mr. Olmos (who I've liked since Blade Runner) on down. F'r example, I despite the "President" character, 'cause the way she's written confuses callousness with strength, arbitrariness with flexibility -- and if she were my sergeant I wouldn't follow her into the mess tent, let alone Over the Hill, in contrast to "Adama," who's very believable as a leader of men. Nevertheless, much as I dislike how "Madame President" is written I think Mary McDonnell's acting in the role is superb, and that rescues it for me. I wish they'd write for her with the elegance and humanity with which they write for Katee Sackhoff ("Starbuck"), but oh well.

From the conservative/libertarian viewpoint, I've also got to put a plug in for "Futurama," and as a single father for "The Incredibles," a wonderfully family-affirming movie.

2:06 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect that my politics are a bit to the left of most of this thread's commentors, but they do have a point.

For several years I'd worked in TV production related fields in NY and LA, and frequenty socialized w/ folks in creative roles.

some observations..

1. The hyper-vindictive PC politics on display tend to be promoted by certain 'personality types' moreso than a conspiracy among professionals in the industry.
2. These types seem most common among actors and writers, though the writers tended to be better educated and more capable of mounting a reasoned argument.
3. The more activist the person was, the more abusive they were to their assistants and the crew ( see Vincent D’Onofrio and Rosie O'Donnell ).
4. These folks tended to be typical of Engel's expression 'scratch any revolutionary and you'll find a chauvinist' - they fixated on harming and degrading people whom they disagreed with, and would justify such preoccupations with claims of their own persecution.
5. Others in the industry tend to let this behavior slide because they don't want to be targetted by it.

2:08 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember "Head of the Class" often doing left-wing propaganda back in the 1980s. The Reagan conservative student was always ridiculed. A teacher "work slowdown" was portrayed as heroic. All the students (including the Reaganite) turned into automaton union-supporting picketers when the school tried to bring in a replacement teacher.

2:13 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many comments on this thread wonder at the phenomenon of the entertainment industry "not understanding" that they are alienating at least half of their potential customers. But the entertainment industry doesn't seem to operate like other industries that seek to make profits by understanding what customers want and giving it to them. Like the news industry, which is really just a part of the entertainment business, people don't get into it primarilay to make money, but to change the world for the better, namely to bring around to their point of view. This seems to include investors, who seem bafflingly content to see their audiences shrink and their profits dwindle.

The entire industry has become essentially a fantasy parallel universe for the Lost Left. Martin Sheen becomes the "real President," when they can't get their won elected. And the populations of their movies, TV dramas and comedies also populate their fantasy world: right thinking people like them and all their friends, and ignorant, evil, bigoted "others." They are ironically blind to how ignorant of, and bigoted toward, people who have different worldviews they themselves are. Those "others" are not real to them, so it doesn't even occur to them to design products for them. And they wouldn't know how anyway, because they live in a self-imposed bubble of willful ignorance. Like a national version of the famous Saul Steinberg New Yorker covers of the 1960s that showed the limits of a Manhattanite's knowledge of the world as ending at the Hudson River.

2:14 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger XWL said...

It's the taint of the ivy league. Most comedy shows hire ivy leaguers (or Ivy League like, Joel Stein of LATimes fame, also a comedy writer and Stanford Grad) to write their comedy and well 5-6 years of exposure (I can't imagine most comedy writers graduate in 4) to that millieu will warp the mind.

One show that surprises me with its lack of digs at Republicans and conservatism is Curb Your Enthusiasm. You'd think the husband of activist Laurie David would throw in a BDS comment every episode, but instead he's more interested in exploring his own misanthropy and discomfort.

Much, much funnier than the constant Chimpy McBu$hHitler material other shows feel necessary to include.

The other notable exception is South Park, which is anti-Liberal enough (though not exactly pro-conservative) to inspire the book South Park Conservatives.

2:14 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

"Like the news industry, which is really just a part of the entertainment business, people don't get into it primarilay to make money"


What person in entertainment isn't in it for the money? Do you have any idea what kind of money people in entertainment rake in? They certainly aren't going to make that kind of money doing something else.

2:16 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for those insights. They sound exactly right.

2:18 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is more properly called The M*A*S*H* Syndrome"

2:20 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The insights of the TV person, I mean. Not that there's anything wrong with the others.

2:20 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the worst thing I have seen lately was an episode of SVU.

A girl and her boyrfriend murdered their baby because they didn't get an abortion in time. Supposedly they had tried to get one in their state, but there was a parental notification law, so they went to New York to get one, where they tried to get one there, but it was a "fake abortion provider", where the whole idea is to delay the woman until it is too late to seek an abortion.

So the prosecutor was going to charge the fake abortionist for the murder of the baby.

And Fred Thompson, the "pro life" character, agreed with that moral logic!

Look, whatever side of the abortion debate people are on, almost all of us agree that killing a baby after it is born is murder--but according to SVU, if that murder is just to make up for an abortion someone didn't let you get, then you're not guilty of anything.

2:27 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger colinsmith said...

You are all morons. The simple fact that you're looking for 'intelligent debate' on f'ing TV shows is laughable. These shows are designed for one reason and one reason only: to entertain their audiences. W&G panders to it's audience, feeding them what they want to hear. Just like Rush Limbaugh.

2:31 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Free" health care? They should call it what it is, Govt. managed healthcare. That would wise people up to how free it is.

2:34 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are good shows on TV devoid, for the most part, of politics. I love "House" with its excellent acting.

The Law and Order episodes get tedious sometimes with their political slants, always left.

The worst is Boston Legal. William Shatner is the self described Republican on the show. He brings a loaded gun to work and carelessly fire it.

E-ring is good, as was JAG. NCIS isn't bad either.

2:42 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a cop & I quit watching Law & Order because of the incessent leftist comments. The moment I finally hit the switch was when the cops on L&O SVU got outraged over the existance of a gun store. Who's their techical advisor? Cops hating gun stores--that's hilarious. Go to a gun store & take a good look at the clientel.

And I, too, watched Will & Grace last night and was offended by Grace's comment. I used to love that show; now it's unwatchable. I never laugh anymore. I just cringe for as long as I can stand(3-5 minutes) at Will & Grace's mean-spiritedness, ugly art direction and lighting, terrible acting, Grace's hideous clothes, and -- sadly -- how she's become so not pretty.

Will & Grace is a perfect metaphor for what the left has become.

2:47 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey colinsmith,

Try looking in the mirror.

We KNOW there isn't intelligent debate on TV; we're discussing that directly, and if you cared to read the entire thread, you'd know that.

What's really laughable is the idea that TV shows only exist as entertainment. Now I KNOW you haven't read the thread, because if you'd read 1/2 of the comments, with the glaring examples of TV shows moralizing, you wouldn't have made that statement.

In a side note, James Woods got one in on Bush in yesterday's ER, making some kind of crack about Bush's de-funding stem cell research. Not only was it an anti-right crack, it was a flat-out lie.

Entertainment, my ass.

TV (Harry)

2:51 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Except that the episode of Will & Grace you criticize for using the phrase intersection of Murder and Homophobia appeared the night after a man walked into a gay bar in blue-state Massachusetts and attacked patrons with a hatchet. When that hatchet was wrestled away with him he pulled out a handgun and then shot two other patrons and escaped.

You're right, homophobia is a canard, a politically correct fiction which doesn't exist.

2:52 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Beth said...

Yeah, TV sucks when the chicks aren't pretty.

2:53 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son tells me the show "Lost" is one of the best written shows on TV. Is this true? Can anyone enlighten me on this show?

2:55 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Edgehopper said...

A few more worth noting, though some are off the air:

The Drew Carey Show: The only primetime sitcom ever to have Rush Limbaugh do a guest appearance. And they treated him very respectfully. Drew's an unabashed Libertarian, but the show suffered in later years from the loss of its best costars.

Futurama: The only show that keeps me giving Al Gore some respect as the only active politician ever to do a cartoon appearance.

Fry: "I thought your primary duty was to cast the tiebreaking vote in the senate."
Al Gore: "That, and protect the time-space continuum. Read the Constitution!!"

Judging Amy: Not a conservative show at all, in fact the characters are all pretty clear liberal Dems. But they're also shown up as wrong frequently, and there are occasionally right-wing characters presented as good or heroic. This is how a left-leaning politically-focused show should be written.

2:55 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember 'Picket Fences' - I've seldom seen a more ecstatic promotion of Fascist psycho-spiritualism.

.. and I don't mean fascist in the simple pejorative sense, I mean Fascist as in the 'lets all join the consciousness of the the therapeutic god-state and transcend our silly reactionary fetishes' fascism.

3:09 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right, homophobia is a canard, a politically correct fiction which doesn't exist.

No, Dan, you must be right, because it happens everywhere all the time, at least outside of New York City. Right?

TV (Harry)

3:24 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oookay. I think the 'therapeutic god-state' pretty much kills a decent thread.

3:25 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm an unabashed right-winger, and I have to say I love Lost. I think it is very respectful both of religion and conservative ideals. While everyone works together, the rugged individualism of the characters makes for excellent story lines. Also, there was a very compelling episode recently where a Catholic priest was portrayed with respect and honor, as a person who transcended an upbringing of suffering and who refused to hate. This is just about the only show I can think of that is actually respectful of religion.

3:32 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, God, Dr. Helen, if you really want a hoot, check out The L Word on Showtime Sunday nights! It's one legitimate belly-laugh after another of undisguised attacks on "The Bush Administration" and "Republicans". No cloaking, ambiguous language here, oh no!

Last week's episode was an absolute scream. In one surreal scene that played as if written by a Code Pink sophomore at Berkeley, Jennifer Beals' character, an art curator, testifies at a congressional hearing in Washington on NEA funding for a piece of work she "passionately" believes in: a series of photographs of lesbian oral sex, with accompanying text that says "Eating p*ssy is the ultimate Patriot Act." She's upset, poor thing, because the NEA pulled the funding on it.

Another character, a talk DJ, rants that it's time to start talking about President Bush's p*nis. Since Clinton's was examined, ad nauseum, she reasons, it's only fair to do the same to Dubya's. Such wonderful logic, these people!

I'm serious, this show is an absolute riot!

3:35 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't watch TV really any more.

I enjoyed Simpsons until 3-4 seasons ago when they had more and more Lisa (read: Message) episodes

Generally Family Guy is still funny but they seem to be pushing the limits of good taste (see Brian's beating by Stewie last episode)

South Park is usually, despite the fart jokes, one of the most thoughtful and libertarian leaning shows going!

Rest of TV? I don't have cable so I will buy the seasons and shows I want (Scrubs and My Name is Earl)

3:56 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oookay. I think the 'therapeutic god-state' pretty much kills a decent thread.

LOL - watch the show, you can probably get the episodes on DVD. While you may not agree with the god-state comment, I think that you'll recognize what I'm getting at. Picket Fences was unusually aggressive in attempting to pathologize dissent from PC doctrines.

3:58 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a big fan of the usual fare on TV, but my wife got me watching "Lost" with her. I have been surprised at how well-acted and well-written it is, as I wasn't expecting that kind of quality on TV. The show does respect conservative values and religion. It doesn't try to take sides in the left/right debate, but seems to function at a much higher level (and I'll admit much is above my head). I haven't watched enough to really "get" it, but it seems to be a metaphor for purgatory. And the folks who are in it are looking back at their lives, and wondering if they could have done things differently in order to become better people -- in order that they have a chance to rise to Heaven instead of descending into hell. If anything, it is an affirmation of conventional values, rather than the leftist tripe you get on other shows.

4:01 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't watch TV anymore. I also gave up on reading anything by Stuart Woods halfway through Two Dollar Bill. I couldn't stomach one more rant about how evil Republicans and Christians were.
And his books had been getting pretty lame over the past several years.

4:19 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Dantravels said...

If we are to believe that the political leaning of mainstream America is exemplified by underlying implications of TV sitcoms, and that most if not all, are depicting Republicans or the right, as the villains... why then weren't the last two elections as obviously one-sided.

The power is in Hollywood, and they won't let their grip weaken for a second. Surely there could be a few humorous plots taking the other side? Such as the hippie being the murderer, the Greenpeace activist being the wife-beater?

4:20 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Richard said...

FWIW, Battlestar Galactica is NOT a "soap".
A better description would be "serial", or has high continuity. Every episode depends on things which have happened before (and not just the prior ep) and rarely does the end of the ep see the status quo ante restored.

In that regard, in SF terms it is much more like Babylon 5, Farscape or Firefly than any Start Trek.

The person who mentioned the "we are the enemy" aspect is on to something, but I think it is handled pretty deftly. One of the two exec producers likes to say about the humans "they may find we are our own worst enemy" (a paraphrase) which gets my back up , as if a genocidal campaign of nuclear extermination of th ehuman race is morally equivalent to the "ordinary" bad things people sometimes do.

For anyone checking out Battlestar Galactica or Lost ou MUST get caught up via DVD on their first seasons (and BSG's pilot miniseries). Otherwise you wil be lost, or at least not fully appreciate wat you are expereiencing.

4:34 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Several people earlier in the thread made comments about the Daily Show.

I've noticed just the opposite - that lately they have cracking pretty hard on liberals, Democrats, and the moonbat far left. They do still poke at Bush and Republicans, but there has been a noted increase in criticism and humor at the expense of the left.

Has anyone else noticed this? I have to think it was a conscious choice they have made recently.

4:43 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haven't watched The Daily Show since the elections. But thanks for the tip! I'll check 'em out again.

4:50 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the commenter that the politics are driven more by personality types than anything else. Creative ability does not equal political acumen or understanding or even intelligence, much less managerial ability (like understanding alienating large chunks of your audience is a bad idea).

CSI:NY and CSI: Miami are generally politically free and even have minorities as bad guys occassionaly. Supernatural on WB posits a right, a wrong, and two brothers as defenders of ordinary people from supernatural menaces. Gilmore Girls on WB has a woman in her late thirties who had a kid at 16 dealing with the aftermath of many poor choices but still hopeful for a better future for herself and daughter along with family reconciliation. NUMB3RS posits a right and a wrong, with academics working with the FBI in mutual respect to catch the bad guys. Veronica Mars on UPN deals with rich-vs. middle class-vs. poor kids in High School and town life, think Rockford Files meets Dawson's Creek.

All of these shows work because the politics that do infuse them are pretty simple: there's a right, a wrong, and the main character has to act to do the right thing. Heck that's the main attraction of all these "team" shows where an offbeat leader brings a team together to find out the truth and get the bad guy.

Far too much of TV is mired in moral relevance, and I think it's as much personal as ideological. You have very talented creative people who get a lot of power and end up acting as mini-demi-gods with bizarre behavior looked on as normal, or enabled. Thus yeah, constraints of morality (like, don't dump your spouse for a newer, younger model) are viewed as crippling social evils to be cast off, and "coolness" of anti-heroes worshipped like paparazzi in a feeding frenzy on the Red Carpet. Think: the Shield, Rescue Me, Sopranos, etc all of which feature leads who do off-putting things (like murdering fellow cops and framing dead drug dealers to conceal corruption) and get critical acclaim but limited viewers.

This also appeals of course to a small, liberal, wealthy demo, mostly childless young couples or singles. The attraction of a womanizing character like say, the lead of Rescue Me vanishes once you pencil in your daughter as one of his conquests.

4:54 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger who, me? said...

"the hippie being the murderer, the Greenpeace activist being the wife-beater?"

Or, as happened in real life in Austin, the environmental activist who opportunistically murdered someone at a house he was canvassing.

Not all environmentalists are casual murderers. Not all politicians are corrupt. Not all businessmen are greedy.

Tell Hollywood, if you ever see them. I don't.

4:54 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Christy said...

Still and all, I'm convinced that there is better writing on TV today than in the movies. This year's awards movies - yawn.

Anyone else think Grizzly Man was a product of a Disney Childhood?

I download the episodes of Battlestar Gallactica the day after it airs - I've no cable - as well as Ron Moore's podcast on the episode. He recently said the anti-war bad guys idea was deliberately designed to explore the concept and to go against expectations.

Also a big Veronica Mars fan. Intelligent writing and very witty. They assume they have an informed audience and don't overexplain.

5:20 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I honestly believe that this is all intentional"
It's not. The people in Hollyweird think that the agitprop they put forth is common 'knowledge.' There doesn't need to be a conspiracy for the effect to be the same. Now, if I were going to assign conspiratorial motives, I'd look at reality TV. Almost all the shows involve a process of elimination, driven by a vote of the contestants. Talk about promoting a collectivist, conformist mindset. You will assimilate, or you will be voted off the island.

"Another hat tip for Battlestar Gallactica.Forget that it is Sci-Fi.
It is one of the most thought-provoking shows I have ever watched and deals with some big issues in a very profound way. "

I find the subtle dig at sci-fi ironic, since the primary characteristic of real science fiction is that it is the most thought provoking genre, and the best
sci-fi centers on "big issues." Sci-fi has some of the best responses to the liberal slant of media. Take "Starship Troopers" where the history teacher makes an allision to "the late 20th century, when the social scientists almost destroyed civilization," not to mention the overall theme of how to properly handle an ememy who can't be reasoned with.

"You're right, homophobia is a canard, a politically correct fiction which doesn't exist."
It's a leftist tactic for characterizing a conservative point of view as a mental illness. ALL reasonable people draw a boundary between acceptable and unacceptable sexual behavior. For the Quakers, it's none, ever; others say only withing marriage, others, only with a commitment, or love, others only with the opposite gender,others, only with people above a certain arbitrary age. Most people require that no harm be done, and almost everyone believes mutual consent is needed, but crime statistics show even that is not a universal belief. It is intellectually unconscionable to characterize huge numbers of people as mentally defective, merely because their position on where in this spectrum the boundary should lie differs from one's own, especially when you consider that this characterization is made between those whose positions on this are pretty much adjacent on the spectrum.

5:39 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 4.54pm: I've got married friends who have daughters and comment (albeit only in male company) about female body parts and so on. I'm not sure that demographic is as small as you think.

dweeb: interesting point, i'm still waiting for someone to tell nigerians who just signed a bill into law (that every count of homosexuality carries a 5 yr jail term) that they are retarded/crazy/stupid.

5:51 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a quick note to all those folks who suggest the alternative of watching movies in context to the comments made about the PC charged shots found on TV programming - Please tell me what movies you're watching 'cause I'm tired of watching movies that try to deal with the human condition in their plot and dialog and only end up sending the message that everyone is OK unless you're Caucasian or Wealthy (wealthy being defined as "having more money than you have a right to possess").

I am particularly disgusted with how male parents are portrayed today, on and off the little screen.

5:58 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Heroic Dreamer said...

It's very intentional. I work out with some sitcom writers who talk about how hard it is to squeeze in a political message, or 2. Political messages do not make for very entertaining TV. I recently watched a sitcom with a refridgerator in the background - and sure enough the prop person had stuck a peace magnet on the fridge. It had nothing to do with the sitcom. Very visible, and yet subliminal. And very intentional.

6:23 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once heard a producer (I think it was of Babylon 5) say that when discussing the series with the Network, it was considered "too smart". The Network believed that the only people watching traditional broadcast television were the very bottom of the socio-economic ladder; the poorest and least educated of the nation who couldn't even afford basic cable. Therefore, broadcast TV had to cater to them. What are the political leanings of the poorest of the poor? Probably not too many Republicans

6:34 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Richard said...

hey dweeb,

I think you meant SHakers, not Quakers, when it came to toal abstinence.

Quakers are still around.
The Shakers aren't :)

8:35 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger DRJ said...

Dr. Helen,

I think you've found a subject on which everyone has an opinion. These days, we're all experts when it comes to TV.

9:32 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Bezuhov said...

I've found that pathology correlates pretty strongly with TV viewing; i.e. the more problems you have, the more TV you watch, and vice versa. Its smart marketing to give the folks who watch the most TV characters with which they can identify.

9:53 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"24" is a right-wing (meaning anti-appeasement, solution to terrorism is thru the legal system) show. their send up of Amnesty International last year was priceless. their wishy-washy president this season is named logan.,..what's the airport in boston...logan...he may even speak french. ...also the tough no-nonense aide to the president could be a twin of dick cheney and rummy.

and the fact that they have portrayed muslims as major league terrorist in several seasons suggest that they are by no means PC

9:57 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, couple of things. if you can't see the leftist bias in ALL the law and order series, with the most being in SVU(which used to be my favorite)then you are BLIND.

Secondly, Battlestar Gallactica is indeed a good show, but not the "best on TV" as people keep saying. As someone mentioned THe Shield and Rescue Me are AWESOME, and pretty much anything that HBO puts out.

Finally, Curb your enthusiasm most certainly has a leftist bent. For example, Larry drives a Prius and comments are made about how they care so much about the environment and it is implied that conservatives dont'. Lets forget that they live in a gigantic mansion. Also, there was an episode where one of the people at the dinner table was a GASP.. REPUBLICAN, and that was a big deal. I like the show, but don't say that it isn't biased.

Best shows on TV:
The Shield- FX
Sopranos- HBO
The Wire- HBO
Rescue Me- FX
24- Fox
Rome- HBO
Battlestar Gallactica (although I admit I have been losing interest)

Second Tier:

Deperate housewives
The Office

Seriously, these are GOOD shows. Watch the FX and the HBO shows and you will see a HUGE difference between that and the normal network tripe. It is actually very hard for me to watch Law and Order or CSI or any of those shows without a groan because they are so bad compared to what is really GOOD.

12:07 AM, February 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About all I ever watch anymore is Good Eats, and Mythbusters. And those only rarely when I just want to veg out in front of the screen, and still be sure that I'll not only be *reliably* entertained, but not annoyed by thoughtless, knee-jerk sexism.

Because what *I* can't stand anymore from the monosource broadcast media is the constant, unrelenting male-bashing and femelitist chauvanism.

Yes, there's plenty of leftist bias, but it doesn't upset me as much ever since it was pointed out to me that there has been only one avowedly and openly atheist character of any significance in popular longrunning television for well over twenty years now and probably much, much longer.

BTW, anybody care to make a guess as to whom it was?

Point is, they're just incompetent all around. They'll belabor us with their partisan political nonsense from one side or the other, but there are some views that simply WILL NOT get mass representation on monosource broadcast media.

Criticism of femelitism, for one. Positive representation of men's issues, for another. And, of course, atheism.

The fundamental reason for this is because monosource broadcast media is an inherently objectifying enterprise. They're not selling entertainment to the masses. They're selling the masses to advertisers. And IMO the metaphysical consequences of that is the fundamental cause of the low level of quality provided. The more an industry treats human beings as industrial product to be marketed and sold, the more the essential contempt and degradation involved permeates and penetrates and stains everything done in the process.

A nice bonus to this theory is how it's also useful in explaining a LOT about modern politics. . . .

1:05 AM, February 04, 2006  
Blogger Mark K. Sprengel said...

I find 24, My Name Is Earl, Scrubs and The Office to be less than PC.

2:56 AM, February 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the pitiful TV cliches involving interracial romance: The white female lead and her one-episode "romance" with an incredibly handsome, well-educated, well-dressed, "well-spoken" black man. Seems to exist to prove the lead character (and the nerd writing staff) aren't racists... Then after that episode, it's never spoken of again, as if it never happened! If the show really wanted to be cool - even radical - show a fantastic black man who loves his (black) wife and (black) children.

6:35 AM, February 04, 2006  
Blogger kyleb2119 said...

What, all this talk about Battlestar and no mention of Stargate Atlantis? That show won me over by showing a ponytailed liberal as a cowardly idiot in the midst of take-charge military types. The Stargate frachise has been frankly pro-military, and subtley pro USA for a long time. It does bash religion, but only the demonstrably fales ones. But I agree that it's not the thinker Battlestar is.

9:58 AM, February 04, 2006  
Blogger me said...

I think I agree with the person who said the more TV you watch, the more problems you have -- seriously, the people I know who just veg all the time are always complaining about their lives, AND when I get into a week of watching tv alot I think my relationship, health, attitude etc. suffers. Sports don't count though, I'll be watching bball all day today. :)

I agree there is a leftist bias on TV -- traceable I think to the writers, who probably are mostly young liberals. And Will & Grace is just unwatchable lately, not b/c of the PCness, but because its just not funny. I'm a definte liberal and I LOVE king of the hill, it is hilarious, and I don't see the point of the show as making fun of liberals, in fact I think it makes fun of people pretty equally. Hank sometimes realized that some of his conservative attitudes are wrong, and Bobby is great as the nonathletic son of the football loving guy.

10:23 AM, February 04, 2006  
Blogger me said...

Like the show where Bobby worked in the organic garden instead of being on the football team, and Hank realized that there was value in a guy working in a garden and was proud of Bobby's hard work, but then the garden got overrun by bugs b/c they wouldn't use pesticides and Peggy went insane trying to be purely "organic" even though it wouldn't work. :) Equal opportunity!

10:25 AM, February 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bias - yes it is readily apparent in many shows.

What bothered me was the use of homophobia to explain the demise of Ellen Degeneres' sitcom. My wife and I both enjoyed the show and would watch somewhat regularly. After she came out in real life and the show, it was no longer funny. Ratings dropped and the show was cancelled. The issue was discussed and the consensus was US homophobia killed the show.

No. The show was a sitcom. That is short for situational comedy. It was not funny and funny is a necessary compenent in comedy.

I watched Will & Grace in the early days. At best, it was humorous. It never struck me as funny. When it goes off, watch for the lamenting of homphobia. No one may be so arrogant to directly attribute homophobia to the show's demise. But watch for the wishful thinkers who oh so innocently ask "I wonder what part homophobia had to do with the end of Will & Grace?" It may take the next talking head about .3 milliseconds to contribute "I have often wondered if Will were straight hom much longer the series would have been kept on the air."

I agree with the early commenter. Most of the US is not homophobic as the word is defined. Most people I know are not openly hostile towards gay individuals. They do not approve of the lifestyle, but are content to not involve themselves in the personal lives of others.

10:53 AM, February 04, 2006  
Blogger KCFleming said...

No longer able to stomach the incessant leftist preaching, I took myself over to a la carte movies and Mythbusters. Recently, it's been a blast watching Project Runway, even though I'm supposedly a homophobe.

Too bad I won't ever spend my filthy white upper middle income lucre on products whose commercials I don't see because I never watch the shows on which they appear. Good luck to them.

10:56 AM, February 04, 2006  
Blogger Steven Brockerman, MS said...

"When the character in question came out as a Republican, his Democratic friend blasted him with the usual 'you don’t care about the environment, etc.' To which the Republican replied 'I care about all of those things, I just don’t think the government can solve the problem.' ”

Proving there really is NO diff between the two. Hey, we Repubs are altruistic, self-sacrificing mice; we just want to act self-destructively *voluntarily*.

Far worse, to me, than the political dogma preached on TV is the absolute lack of DRAMA in dramas--the absolute lack of clever plots, original characters and thought provoking themes; and the abudance of gore, particularly on the CSI programs, as if viewing the exposed intestines of a cadaver were germane to the story--which is usually predictable.

As for the "comedies"--not only are they NOT funny, they lack even the semblance of wit. Canned laughter suits these freeze dried & canned programs.

As for most of the rest, there's a complete absence of class in the manners & behavior of most on television, particularly among the late night mediocrities, all of whom are only good at one thing: being boring.

The inane dialogue; the silly antics; the hackneyed "messages; the tripe and trivial plot conflicts; the camera jerking direction; the use of noise as marketing tool; the 3-ringed circus production values designed for those with the concentration span of a gnat all reflect a product designed by & for anti-conceptual mentalities.

Those who create and those who enjoy such manure aren't pigs, mind you.

They'll eat anything.

5:28 PM, February 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to totally love Law and Order SVU - but over the last two seasons or so it's become preachy and PC, and when I saw an episode wherein a home-schooler was approached by Ice-T who got in his face and preached, "You home school because you're afraid of your kids learnin' the TRUTH?" Click. I shut it off and haven't looked back. At this point, our remote is set to totally by-pass the networks, and for that matter the cable news shows. We start at channel 32. Cartoon network! :-)

5:33 PM, February 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting thread! I used to study media. In '90 or '91, there was a comprehensive study of television viewing. All of us students read through it - lots of stats. What I remember most was that the hours of TV watching declined in direct correlation with the increased years of education.

I watch very little TV, although I am engrossed in "Masterpiece Theatre" of all things. It has been showing a miniseries of Dickens' "Bleak House" that's excellent.

The only shows I miss from cable are the Stargate series, HGTV programs, and Smallville. I never got into Battlestar Galactica, as I couldn't suspend belief that NO ONE noticed that the doctor was, at the very least, insanely talking to himself. I liked Will&Grace because of Will only; the fact that his friends were such lying, conniving oddballs was just his cross to bear in the first couple of seasons.

7:10 PM, February 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmm. I can't get enough of South Park. My friends all love it too. And we're all liberals.

As for bias, I don't understand the complaint. It's a TV program. What do you want to do? Force the networks to sanitize every program, making it palatable to all, appeal to the lowest common denominator?

Obviously, as has been pointed out by many, there are shows that appeal to conservative values and shows that appeal to liberal values and shows that attempt to steer clear of any values. It's no different than radio talk show programs, music, etc. If you don't like it, don't consume. If your beloved market works the way you believe so strongly it does, then you will be satisfied.

8:33 PM, February 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:33 PM apparently hasn't noticed that our 'beloved market' is working the way we have observed that it does -- the monosource media is indeed spiralling deeper and deeper into the abyss of irrelevance.

As to why complain? Well, one primary reason for complaining about the monosource media's biases is to demonstrate the social acceptability of so doing -- to actively break the taboo against identifying and criticizing the sexist, and leftist, and other biases so frequently found therein.

And if my past experience is any guide, it's also a primary reason why Anonymous 8:33 is attempting to trivialize this behavior -- the aconscious attempt to deny the social acceptability of criticizing the monosource media's biases, and reestablish the taboo against so doing.

10:28 PM, February 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


um. If the "monosource media" is irrelevant, why are you guys whining so much about it?

As for a taboo against identifying and critcizing biases, I see more conservatives fighting for a taboo against identifying and criticizing biases--homophobia, racism, sexism..."There's no need to discuss it and I'm tired of hearing about it. The biases you claim don't exist or are irrelevant. It's a free market. People have the right to hate gays, blacks, and women."

THAT has been the paradigm so far, and I guess that's why I find this discussion so ironic.

12:25 PM, February 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for catching that - you're partially correct. Yes, I typed the wrong -aker. No, there are still 3 Shakers left; they're all over 70, though.

12:54 PM, February 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have not watched any series since Seinfeld went off the air, but there is one series out there that does seem to excite a lot of conservatives -- 24.

My question is "Can you watch this series in the middle of it and figure out what is going on?" Or is this like the X-files, where if you did not watch from the beginning, you need to read some type of Primer to understand it?

4:47 PM, February 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:25 -- I didn't characterize the monosource media as being irrelevant, but rather well on its way to becoming so (NYT, LAT, etc. circulation/income sinking like a lead weight, PC/console gaming industry eating Hollywood's lunch, to cite just two examples).

If you can't keep even just that much straight, then I suspect that the paradigm you see is far more the result of your own perceptual filters, and the room for improvement in your comprehension skills, than that of any objective, empirical recognition of reality.

2:19 AM, February 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 4:47 - no you can't pick up 24 in mid season and make sense of it. Actually, the first four seasons are somewhat important in understanding the current one. The good news is, all the previous seasons are available on DVD at Blockbuster. By the time you get through the preceding seasons on DVD, the current season should be on DVD as well.

11:37 AM, February 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dreamer said: "It's very intentional. I work out with some sitcom writers who talk about how hard it is to squeeze in a political message,...I recently watched a sitcom with a refridgerator in the background - and sure enough the prop person had stuck a peace magnet on the fridge. It had nothing to do with the sitcom. Very visible, and yet subliminal. And very intentional."

I saw an old episode of "Kind of Queens" recently. Their car had a "Gore/Lieberman" bumper sticker. It was very obvious, and very annoying. (It's doubly stupid when you consider that the average Joe from Queens is most likely a Conservative. I know...I lived there until the age of 25.)

7:10 PM, February 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your "distinction" between the phrases "is irrelevant" and "is... spiralling deeper and deeper into the abyss of irrelevance" borders on the Clintonian. Impressive.

And I'm glad it's not the Dr. Helen-friendly conservatives around here who engage in rudeness and insults; otherwise, I might mistakenly think you were calling me stupid when you suggest I have "room for improvement in [my] comprehension skills".

You can accuse me of alot of things. I may be flippant and sarcastic at times. But I did not insult you.

We ALL have "room for improvement" in our comprehension skills. But I suspect that "perceptual filters" are working no more on me than on the rest of you.

You guys have spent 150 posts descrying the state of television entertainment. If that is where the conservatives wish to focus their formidable energies, have at it. It just makes you look, um, like you have "room for improvement in [your] comprehension skills".

8:10 AM, February 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Dr. Helen for saying it like it is...Truly TV programs are full of comic strip characters that deserve 'only a glance' since there is nothing entertaining or thought-provoking. America Wake Up! We are being lulled asleep by rich liberal teeny boppers in hollywood!

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