Has television abandoned us?

I’m not real big on television.

But I watch it a lot.

And let me be the very first person to say that there’s something wrong with TV these days.

No, I’m not going to say watching the tube rots your brain, makes you go blind, or turns you into a couch potato (you can’t blame everything on the idiot box). For solutions to those particular problems, look to the old saying “you are what you eat,” and avoid snacking on brains, the blind, or any kind of root vegetable (unless it’s French and it’s fried).

My problem with television isn’t anything health or hygiene related – it’s purely technical, I think. What a mess! Programs are being mixed-up and shown on the wrong – if not inappropriately opposite – channels. If you took the time to watch for more than four hours a day ,you’d notice that the little person (supposedly) working behind your screen is either playing a practical joke or they’ve screwed up royally.

It’s total chaos! Chick flicks and feel-good shows are popping up on action channels, while all the sex and violence is making its way onto the lighter, fluffier, family stations. By letting this go on, producers are sending a devastating message to our younger generations: Television doesn’t care about your needs.

Some prankster on ABC Family thought it would be a good idea to run movies like “Cruel Intentions” (which is “Basic Instinct” with teenagers), “Independence Day” (which depicts a fiery worldwide holocaust at the hands of ruthless aliens), and “It” (a mini-series based on a Stephen King book in which a horrific clown kills children and in one scene even rips a young boy’s arms off). No self-respecting parent would ever let their kids watch that malarkey on a family network – but on the sleaze, explosions and gore channel a few remote clicks up, it’s no biggy.

Honestly, if my kids are going to watch USA, they better be tuning into “Deliverance,” not “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” Likewise, if my Saturday night is looking like ice cream and Lifetime movies, I want to see “Steel Magnolias” come on right after “Beaches,” not “Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome.” No more screwing around!

I hope this is all a result of human error. Because a station can’t get greedy and play the field – it must appeal to a certain market. What would happen if all the sudden your favorite dive bar tried to attract new clients by cleaning its shot glasses and covering-up the pee smell? First you’d get confused, then angry, and finally you’d stop going there all together!

The same is true for TV.

Daytime viewers of the History Channel would be lost if Wilford Brimley wasn’t there to berate them about their diabetes during the commercial break.

“How can I check my blood sugar – and check it often – if Wilford isn’t here to remind me?”

Some lifeless operator would have to tell them that the History Channel was trying to tap into a younger audience (hence the “Girls Gone Wild” infomercials) and that their beloved spokesman has set sail for time slots on a newer, more mature Nickelodeon.

What happened to customer appreciation? What happened to loyalty? What happened to consistency?

Why wouldn’t people give up on television, if television gave up on them?

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