Sep 19, 2006

Shootin' From the Hip

by Jay Guthrie


Summer is coming to an end and that can only mean two things -- football and TV season premiers.  These are the number one Monday morning conversation starters for the small talk annoyance of the a.m.  I personally am not a big fan of TV. When I do watch it, it’s usually syndicated.  However, as I get further into my college career I start looking to kill time with anything but school work.

TV isn’t what it used to be, that’s for sure.  It’s hard to compare today’s cheesy reality shows with the witty, original sitcoms of the 90s.  

For years my heart belonged to Stephanie Tanner, my first crush. However, once that Topanga Lawrence girl scrapped the nerdy clothes and stepped up to junior high, I kicked Stephanie Tanner to the curb.  Guys are jerks, right?  I know we are, get over it.   

It turned out that the TV relationships would never work out for me.  I only saw my dream girls once a week and they couldn’t see me -- now that I read that it sounds sort of creepy.  Anyways, it was a rough time in my life and I needed a mentor.  I sought help from Dr. Frasier and Niles Crane, who told me that it was time to move on.  So I did just that.  I started hanging out at Monk’s Café and the Central Perk, and they were the best days of my life.  

After a few years those good times came to an end as well and I was left with nothing.  That is when television’s dark days kicked in.  The torch had been passed to reality TV.

Reality shows are all rigged from the start, every last one of them. After seeing one after the other come and go, I figured this was just a network slump and it would soon be over.  Boy was I wrong.  Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, the nail was put in the coffin this past summer with  ‘America’s Got Talent’ -- more like “America’s got nothing better to do.”  In short, it was a freak show
that encouraged the Jerry Springer rejects that they still had hope at making the big money without having to work for it -- you know, the new American way.

 It turned out to be another poor “American Idol” knockoff, to say the least.  Even the judges were the same.  There was the brutal British bloke who hated everyone, the wanna-be diva and they replaced the cheerful, stout man who never liked to hurt anyone’s feelings with Knight Rider.  

You’re probably wondering when I’m going to touch on the football part that I mentioned in the opener. Well it actually ties into my disgust of modern TV.  After seeing previews for NBC’s latest offering, “Friday Night Lights” I couldn’t help but wonder, haven’t I seen enough high school football from Texas? 
Nothing against Texas, but it seems like nearly every year we, the American viewing public, get some sort of show or football flick dealing with that state. If high school football is everything they crack it up to be, then it is safe to assume that there are about 100,000 Uncle Ricos wandering around aimlessly around the Lone Star State in their van, wondering what if...

I understand high school football is big in Texas, but I don’t need to be reminded of it every year.  Each geographic region has its own sport so why don’t the networks think outside of the box and work on something new and creative. How about a show about Eskimo dogsledding in Northern Saskatchewan – rumor has it that some of the Iditarod dogs are juicing.  “America’s Next Top Jockey” in Kentucky sounds riveting as well, or even “Making of the Sheepherder” in Northern Wales. All of those ideas have one thing in common -- they won’t last for more than one season, which is what makes their demand even greater.

Contact Jay Guthrie at jtguthrie@liberty.edu.

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