Thursday, September 27, 2007

There's No Vision Like Re-vision

I am generally amused by OneNewsNow's attacks on the teevee industry, but some days are better than others:

The broadcast television time slot once the home of Happy Days and Little House on the Prairie is now nowhere near as family-friendly -- according to the latest "family hour" study from a high-profile TV watchdog group. [...] PTC's Melissa Henson says the continued degradation is a natural extension of decreasing program standards that started in the 1990s. "The family hour really started to break apart in the mid-90s with the introduction of shows like Friends and Mad About You," she explains, noting that such programs "were really geared to a more mature audience and adult audience debuting during the family hour."

"I wish we lived in a place more like the America of yesteryear that only exists in the brains of us Republicans. "

Of course, things were better back in the good old days. Here's some more old-timey nostalgic daydreaming from Ms. Henson:

Prior to that breakdown in standards, she says, those time slots were characterized by programs that families did not have to worry about containing offensive material and could "sit down and safely, comfortably watch together." She cites among those programs such series as Little House on the Prairie, Highway to Heaven, and Touched by an Angel.
Yeah, and don't leave out The Waltons, Flipper, and Gentle Ben. American Prime Time TeeVee was a safe haven for families in the 70's where families could congregate at their TV Dinner trays and share some undercooked tater tots and rubberized Salisbury Steak with their children while watching merry fare that honored the life, death and resurrection of our Lord. That must be why, in 1977, Donald Wildmon (the founder of the AFA - the parent organization of had this to say:

"One evening in 1977 I sat down with my family to watch TV. On one channel was adultery, on another cursing, on another a man beating another over the head with a hammer. I asked the children to turn off the TV. I sat there, got angry, and said, 'They're going to bring this into my home, and I'm going to do all I can to change it.' I brooded for a while and then came up with a plan for our church to turn off the TV for a week. I sent out a press release and the national media picked up on it. Through that 'Turn Off The TV Week' I learned there were literally millions of other people around the country who felt the same way I did. That was the beginning of the American Family Association."
Of course, Wildmon provided plenty more Nuggets of Intellectual Greatness during the early years of his crusade against satanic television. I found this great report from the Media Coalition that explores the origins of the AFA ... here's a peek:

"Back in my younger days I reached the conclusion that the worst thing that could happen would be to come to the time of death and realize that my life had made no difference," Wildmon said. That night in 1976 as he sat watching television with his family, he found the vehicle for his ambitions. He later claimed that as he switched channels he was unable to find a single show that didn't feature sex, violence, or profanity. Wildmon interpreted this as a calling from God to take up the fight for purer television. The first effort to attract national attention was a campaign called, "Turn the Television Off Week," which targeted mostly southern cities in July 1977. Wildmon claimed that his survey of television programming revealed that 54 per cent of all shows had sexual content. Wildmon said such a high proportion of sexual programming distorted real life. He was also upset that "90 percent" of the sex was adulterous.

He struck out at CBS, accusing it of complicity in the murder of a little girl in Wichita Falls, Texas. The four-year-old was murdered by her mother, who had seen a similar crime committed when CBS broadcast "Exorcist II." "CBS must accept partial blame for her death," Wildmon insisted. "They were an accessory to the murder." An NFD picket outside CBS headquarters in New York carried a sign that insisted: "CBS Controlled by Satan."
So, with all apologies to Ned Flanders, the "Family Hour" appears to be a creative figment of the collective imaginations of "pro-family" radical activists. Not to mention that "Happy Days" (particularly in Season 1) contained a heavy dose of teenage sexual innuendo and in the early days featured a filthy Asian guy (who was, of course, replaced tastefully by the Italian-American On-Cor frozen dinners dude). And who among us didn't want to rip a piece off of this:

"I wish I knew how to quit you."

1 comment:

Carl said...

Donald Trump, of all people, had a great response to this:

"Turn on one of the many fantastic children's or family networks on cable or satellite, or better yet, find a videotape or DVD.

And don't worry about what your kids watch one hour a day. Worry about what they watch 24 hours a day, and stop whining"