Most of us in America at this point in time have watched television since we were kids. Shows like the Three Stooges, My Three Sons, Father Knows Best and of course Sunday evening with Ed Sullivan were staples during my formative years.
We were and continue to be entertained and educated by television—the Kennedy assassination and the 9/11 World Trade Center attack being two prime examples of the latter.
In light of the current television writers strike, I have become increasingly aware that television is not about us, the consumer anymore, but is a bottom-line driven big business. The big four (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) don’t really care about us, the viewer and haven’t for some many years.
If a new program doesn’t show major financial promise within a few episodes, it is thrown away like so much stale food—with never a consideration of the quality that may be inherent in the shows creative process.
In other words, you can pretty much say if I like the program, chances are it won’t last. That being said I will have to admit to a fondness towards such quirky shows like Picket Fences, Northern Exposure, Joan of Arcadia and Earth Two. I do like the CSI and Law & Order type shows but will readily admit that they are like so much TV eye candy—normally well written and acted but easily forgotten after one viewing. And they all pretty much explore only one aspect of the human psyche—the predilection towards violence.
When Sandi and I moved to North Carolina, we didn’t have a TV for a year or two and then, after our first child was born, got a small black and white television with which to watch re-runs of Perry Mason, Andy Griffith and Sesame Street. Most of our spare time was spent reading or hiking or doing all the other things people who don’t have TV’s do.
Kind of like the “middle-ages” right!
Anyway, having said all that, I think it is time that we let Hollywood know who’s the boss. That we are no longer going to sit around and let “them” decide what we will be offered to watch—and then to have our favorite shows yanked after we have committed ourselves to the characters and their respective lives.
I think a TV Blackout Boycott would be good for a few days. When the advertisers realize that no one is seeing their million dollar ads, maybe things will change.
I realize that this is highly idealistic and that most people will not give up their TV’s if only for a few days. Exxon/Mobil is still around following the Valdez episode and even though I didn’t go to a McDonald’s Restaurant for several years out of frustration concerning their lack of local initiative, they are still in business as well.
But can you imagine what it would look like with everybody checking out the local libraries—maybe even some local bookstores and Amazon dot com would make a profit for a few days if the TV was turned off at night during prime time.
Maybe we could even have some people over for coffee and dessert and listen to an old Jackson Browne album.
Or we could get caught up on our bills or correspondence or all those odd jobs we have been putting off because we were busy watching TV.
I think I will send a link to ABC and the others and wait for the bookstores and libraries to fill up. What do you think?