Things I Don’t Like About Television: Wrapping Up

Well, here we are. After 36 posts of my ranting, it has come to this.

To quickly review, here are the posts in this series with short descriptions of what they were about:

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Things I Don’t Like About Television, Episode 36: Cable Providers

The information is this post may not entirely pertain to television viewing, but the policies of these companies do of course have an enormous effect in that regard. And note: that “cable providers” includes satellite companies, as well.

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Things I Don’t Like About Television, Episode 34: Censorship

censorship, American television, television, censors, things I don't like about television
…Or do that or show that…

WARNING: This post contains a series of curse words and other terms that are unfit for polite discussion. Read at your own risk.

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Things I Don’t Like About Television, Episode 32: Self-Image Issues

Eventually, we all look at the messages television programs send. Not only do we look for hints of morals and values, but the personal messages that deliberately or inadvertently, discretely or conspicuously sent to viewers by the writers, producers, and executives. Preeminently, viewers are bombarded with the issue of self-image and more specifically, body image on a daily basis.

I can list three basic ways television programs affect viewers’ body and self-image with the last perhaps being the most dangerous. I’m just gonna be pretty blunt here. If this offends anyone, so be it.

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Things I Don’t Like about Television, Episode 31: Competition Shows

Before we began talking about competition shows, I must say that this is a momentous occasion. I have just published my 100th post on WordPress!


This started out as an effort to re-post old thoughts before my first blog was lost (and that is still a possibility), but it has grown bigger than I could have imagined in August 2015. I still want to grow this blog even more. For that I would need help from the blogging community, while making my own strides. Thanks to everyone who has read my posts and even more to those who have chosen to follow this blog.

Back to my scheduled programming…

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Things I Don’t Like About Television, Episode 30: Learning on the Job

It’s very easy to tell when someone on TV is learning on the job. It’s often very painful to watch.

What do I mean by “learning on the job”? It’s quite simple. There are two basic scenarios at play: In one, a child or young adult actor is cutting their teeth on camera. In the other, a former athlete is transitioning to become an analyst (for their respective sport). I will take note of some improvements in either case, though it is still difficult to watch in the meantime.

Acting Is for Beginners

Once in a blue moon, you will come across a wonderful child actor who appears to have his/her priorities in order. This kid is very professional and you will hear wonderful things about him/her by older co-stars, especially well-known veterans in the entertainment industry. (Mara Wilson, Dakota Fanning, and Abigail Breslin quickly come to mind. So does Jonathan Jackson, who started acting when he was about 11 years old.)

Most other kids are naturally rough out of the gate. This is part of the reason why young adults are hired to play teenagers. Chances are, those older actors have been working hard at their craft for at least five years; it shows in the way they are able to deliver their lines and successfully convey emotion.

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Things I Don’t Like About Television, Episode 29: Your Age Is Showing

There are a few concerns I have when it comes to age and television (and movies). In particular, I hate it when it is clear that an actor is too old for a role, because sometimes, it is far too obvious that a twenty-something is playing a 15-year-old. It just looks bad when some 28-year-old in heavy makeup is playing the most popular boy in school or a woman who is obviously over 25 is playing a high-achieving class president.

It might not have been as obvious [to younger viewers] when Beverly Hills 90210 first aired but it was shocking to first find out some of the actors’ ages. (I’ll let you decide what you think about Gabrielle Carteris’ role as “Andrea,” since she was the oldest to play a high-schooler on the show starting at age 29.)

However, it became clear that young adults would be cast in these roles. There would be many shows aimed at teens, including Dawson’s Creek, and most of the cast would be played by actors already in their twenties. Why? Many of these actors have more range than most teens do and are better prepared to deal with heavier material. Does it still bother me? Of course it does.

Here are a few glaring examples:

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Things I Don’t Like About Television, Episode 28: Recycled Plots

You may think you’re about to watch a fresh episode of one of your favorite series, but as the show is half-way through, you notice that you have practically seen a story before. Is this déjà vu? No, it’s just the laziness of the writers.

Every now a then, a show or group of shows tied to one writer/producer will repeat a plot that it has previously shown. Either the writers have effectively run out of ideas or they really need some time to recharge.

Note that this topic also includes copycats. In this case, one program totally rips one plot or premise from another.

Peter Engel Shows Had Noticeable Recycled Plots

If you have ever seen a Peter Engel show, you would know what a recycled plot is.

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Things I Don’t Like About Television, Episode 27: The Disney Channel

I grew up loving The Disney Channel. The first time I saw it, I was of course a little girl, so there were plenty of good shows to see in the early part of the day.

And for a time, there were set times during the day that were set aside for small children, older children, families, and just the adults. But the prime time was in the afternoon to early evening, when most of the kids would be watching.

What I Like(d) about the Disney Channel

If you ask a 90’s kid about The Disney Channel, they might be able to tell you about some of the things that were on during the decade. One popular show on The Disney Channel was The Mickey Mouse Club. The show started way back in the 1950’s when Annette Funicello was developing into a star in her youth. It would be updated in the late 1980’s as The New Mickey Mouse Club and launch the careers of stars like Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, JC Chasez, Keri Russell, and Ryan Gosling, just to name a few.

Kids from the 1980’s can tell you about Kids Incorporated. While not as many stars were featured on that show, there were a few people on the show you might recognize: Jennifer Love Hewett and Fergie.

Come to think about it, The Disney Channel has been very musical. Either shows like these aired or they would occasionally introduce musical numbers in their other shows. I guess it stays true to The Walt Disney Co.’s reputation, one that was built with its cartoon shorts and animated films.

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Things I Don’t Like About Television, Episode 26: Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon, SpongeBob, silhouette, orange
Basically what the network is all about now.

Nickelodeon is a network I found by accident as a child. When I first tuned in, I was enthralled by some of the shows that were on the network. These shows mainly starred kids (!) and there were games shows like Double Dare (!). I remember shows like You Can’t Do That on Television and Clarissa Explains It All. Nickelodeon would eventually air its own cartoons and Hey Arnold! was one of my favorites. In the mid-1990’s, Snick (Saturday Night Nick) was born and there were a number of awesome shows aired initially. The network had variety and at times it was painful to see it turn over to Nick at Nite after Nickelodeon’s allotted hours for the day.

I can’t say that I really care to watch the network today. It also has more than one sister network and I can say the same about them. In fact, the programmers at Nickelodeon networks act like they have been huffing paint thinner since early adolescence. Just take a look at the schedule. It’s abhorrent.

First and foremost, I have to talk about the show that has overrun the network proper for a decade.

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