The good, the bad and the ugly of TV

Kelly Gallagher

     Television has evolved tremendously over the years. We’ve gone from good wholesome family entertainment to raunchy, violent and shocking TV. Looking back, shows like the Brady Bunch seem cheesy and would never stay on the air today. But why is it that some of the worst television shows are the most watched?

     Of course, not all TV is bad. There are still the hard hitting dramas and gut busting comedies that are nominated for award after award. Among the most recent crop of shows is a new comedy about of group of singing students in high school. Glee was nominated for more Golden Globe awards than any other show. Its three breakout stars have been critically acclaimed performers. Most of the time, Glee has a feel-good message wrapped up in the satirical comedy.

     HBO has also produced numerous award winning programs like Dexter, True Blood and Entourage. These shows have been recognized for their original story lines and brilliant acting. They are also very entertaining to watch and always have high ratings.

     Most television is there to simply entertain. While they may not be award worthy, shows like C.S.I. and Grey’s Anatomy are always a viewer favorite. The story lines aren’t always the best influence on a young audience (especially with all the gruesome crime scenes or promiscuous medical interns) but millions of people still tune in every week.

     “I like the USA channel with shows like NCIS and House. I like shows with action and drama.” Alex Negrete, sophomore, said.

     As far as role models are concerned, shows like Gossip Girl, Melrose Place and 90210’s characters aren’t exactly what teenagers should aspire to be like. None the less, these shows still have high ratings because of their entertainment value. Some people would classify this as bad television because it is seemingly pointless, but obviously viewers disagree.

     Then there is the guilty pleasure of reality TV. Whether we’re willing to admit it or not, most Americans enjoy at least one reality TV show. There is something just fascinating about ordinary people making a fool of them self on national TV. This season, MTV created what has been called the most wretched show ever to grace television. Jersey Shore introduced eight self proclaimed guidos and guidetts living in one house in Seaside, New Jersey. The outrageous cast is not afraid to say what they think and wear what they want. They openly admit that appearance is everything and they are only there to party and hook-up. The ratings for the show sky rocketed after the first show nearly doubling the premiere’s numbers. The show has also become a popular late night punch-line for comedians. This form of public entertainment couldn’t be described as anything other than ugly TV.

     Whether good or bad, TV shows have some sort of influence on their viewers.

     “[Television] definitely has an effect [on people] because it influences drama in high school.” Ashley Cole, sophomore, said.

     Reality TV seems to have the biggest influence because of the fact that it’s real people and not actors. Though some of it can seem set up, the cast does not have lines to memorize and cues to follow. Reality TV has gotten progressively worse because people want to be entertained. Fake drama, fist fights and screaming matches are more entertaining to watch then people having educated discussions. Secretly, most people want to see that trash because deep down it makes everyone feel better about their lives. If the show get’s people talking, the producers are definitely doing something right. The cast of Jersey Shore have become semi- celebrities in their own way, even demanding ten thousand dollars a show to do a second season.

     No matter the concept, people will most likely be willing to tune into any television show at least once. The more extreme the idea and the more ridiculous the characters, the more successful the show seems to be. Society wants to be entertained not by good family values, but by comedies that have you rolling on the floor with laughter, dramas that have you sitting on the edge of your seat and reality TV that has everyone talking about how ridiculous the people on the show are. Whether it is a good influence or not, it seems that the public wants to be entertained above all else, no matter how good, bad or ugly the show might be.