Losing the Best Reasons to Watch TV
by Deacon Blues
My television viewing habits are already quite limited to begin with. I hate reality TV shows and avoid them, and I only watch certain news programs on broadcast and cable TV, staying away from the propganda seen on Fox "News". And my type of television dramas aren't the flashy or trendy ones, but the ones that do stories and characters well, even if they are considered boring by others. And I greatly appreciate comedy along the lines of John Oliver, John Stewart, and especially David Letterman.
So you can imagine the disappointment I feel over the last week with "Mad Men" and "The Late Show with David Letterman" ending their runs, and with the clock ticking on Stewart's "The Daily Show". Watching the broadcast networks put forward the same steady stream of formulaic dramas and sitcoms, with the usual dose of mind-numbing "reality TV" shows only reinforces the feeling that television has made a conscious decision to leave behind a certain but large demographic: people with brains and taste.
I admit to being a TV snob, and I know I'm not the demo that the major networks target. I'm just a 50-somthing guy with some intelligence, some taste, and disposable income looking for entertainment that doesn't treat me like the lowest common denominator. I look for flawed, cynical, but smart people in my comedy and not mindless clowns, and I look for real, flawed humans in my drama and not the sensational and overdone characters. And at a time when our news is corporate and right wing, I lean towards comedy that does a better job at revealing truth than the "news" shows themselves.
So it is a bitter pill to swallow that Letterman leaves the air tonight, and Stewart later this summer, leaving us with an "aim to please" two Jimmy's and an unknown Colbert and Noah, especially on the verge of a presidential campaign that cries out for cynical but well-informed comedy. Perhaps the current generation will uphold the standards set by Letterman and Stewart, but I fear it is just as likely they won't. In any case, I think we are all the worse for these departures from our television screens, and I only hope I am very wrong about that.
Thanks Dave for not being warm and fuzzy all these years.