Guys kissing guys? Naked butts and shower scenes? American television has come a long way since its inception. Depending on your view, it’s either more realistic or it’s gone down hill.
Years ago, Rob and Laura Petrie would never be seen in the same bed together. Ward and June Clever didn’t yell at their children. A mention of girlfriends on the small screen meant the women were just friends. Anger on TV didn’t sink to swear words. Instead, actors would call each other scalawags or louses.
Today, mentions of girlfriends makes one wonder exactly what the relationship is although the suggestion of girl on girl action makes men take a second look. The American Music Awards have been the backdrop twice for two shocking events. First, the Madonna and Britney Spears kiss and then a few years later, Adam Lambert and his male dancers controversial lip-lock.
Although the suggestion of sex, gay behavior and seedy dealings was clearly in programs fifty years ago, these types of situations were only implied. There was no physical contact between participants unless it was a passionate kiss between genders or a bar fight. Murders were shown as wheedling a knife and a blood splatter on the wall.
In the race to be as realistic as possible, producers and actors forgot we have imaginations and we’re not stupid. As the viewing audience, we can sit down, watch a show and get the fact that something isn’t right by suggestion. We don’t have to see the full blown groping or the actual hacking away at a victim. It’s really not necessary to see a rape. We know what it is, we get the violence.
The unfortunate side affect of trying to be more true to life is people become hardened to reality. We’re not shocked when we hear the news a child has been murdered. We saw that same scenario on Law & Order last week. It’s sad, but we’re not shocked. A neighbor gets raped and we’re upset it’s so close to our house. That episode aired on Criminal Minds. Teenagers get pregnant and we don’t like it, suggest abortion to deal with it but forget, we are the ones putting sex in their faces all day long. Desperate Housewives showed us the mom covering for the daughter who was sent away to have the baby. Jerry Springer is still the king of ridiculous behavior shown on TV.
Television is no longer the fun novelty it was when it began. Now, we get all of our information, entertainment and weather on the spot as “breaking news” and “Doppler Radar.” There are warning labels with certain programs. Some commercials and cartoons can only be shown after the kids are in bed. With the addition of cable and satellite, we’ve now got over 950 channels at our fingertips. Anything goes on these networks from subscription porn to the God Channel.
It’s amazing the development of culture and what comes from an idea such as television.