Take One…by Chuck Barney of the Contra Costa Times
Dumb plots, loud commercials, and the entire Kardashian clan are just a few pet peeves.
We need to vent. Chuck made a list (and checked it twice) of what that blasted box is doing lately to annoy us the most.
Here are 10 things hated about TV:
- BLOATED RESULTS SHOWS:
Fans of “American Idol” and other talent competitions want results, and they want them NOW. Instead, we’re subjected to programs with more padding than a strip-mall Santa. We get clips of performances we already saw (and hated). We get random actors flogging their new movie. We get previews of the latest Britney Spears video. We get Howie Mandel lamely discussing his Twitter feed. On and on it goes.
When it’s finally time to present the actual results, we get an announcer who milks a dramatic pause for as long as humanly possible and then delivers the goods — right after this commercial break.
As an obvious addendum to this item, we insist that there is no fathomable reason “The Biggest Loser” and other reality shows need to be more than one hour long. Absurd. It’s time to trim the fat.
2. FREQUENT FLASHBACKS:
As the opening scene of a show unfolds, our hero is running along an empty, rain-slicked road at night. He’s being chased by a mysterious figure — a mysterious figure with a gun. The chase continues until our hero ducks into a dark alley and comes to a dead end. He turns to face his assailant and, then, suddenly, we cut to another location and the screen reads: “Five Days Earlier …”
Enough already. Flashbacks and flash-forwards were fun for a while when “Lost” was in its heyday. But now every show seems to deploy them — some on a repetitive basis — to the point where they’ve become a narrative crutch. Memo to TV writers: Let’s try something different and spend a little time in the present.
3. AN OBSESSION WITH PRIVATE PARTS:
Last fall brought us “the season of the vagina,” as several new shows about women had a thing for below-the-waist humor. On one hand, it was only fair. Prime time, after all, long has been a haven for penis jokes.
But as TV continues to so freely toss around references to anatomical parts, it has reached overload mode. We’re no prudes, and we certainly realize that good comedy often flirts with the uncomfortable. Then again, good comedy isn’t cheap and lazy.
As for the people who write those sitcoms, we’re beginning to think we knew them in high school. They were the snickering doofuses who filled their notebooks with naughty drawing during anatomy class.
4. A BUG INFESTATION:
At last, the would-be lovers on our favorite nighttime soap are about to turn that sexual tension into some real physical heat. As they inch toward one another on the couch and close in for a kiss, up pops an annoying ad in the corner of the screen for a stupid sitcom.
Talk about ruining the moment.
What began as a slightly pesky promotional ploy a few years ago has now turned into a full-fledged epidemic. Those on-screen logos, or “bugs,” that networks thrust upon us have become bigger, more animated and more intrusive. And they’re ruining our viewing experience.
Let’s call for an intervention: Stop cluttering up our TV screens!
5. SCARY PROMS:
In real life, prom night generally is one of the major highlights of our teen years — a rite of passage accented by sweet corsages and super-slick dance moves.
On TV, it’s an American horror story waiting to happen.
TV proms just can’t unfold without culminating in ugly drama — a drunken brawl between guys competing for the same girl, the head cheerleader going into labor in a bathroom stall, a horrible post-dance accident, the shocking revelation that your best friend is really a vampire. …
Considering the pileup of unfortunate occurrences, it’s a wonder anyone on TV attends prom anymore.
6. DEATH WITHOUT CLOSURE:
We instantly take it into our arms and devour every morsel of TV goodness it has to offer. But wait. The ratings are kind of saggy. Uh oh. The network just pulled the plug. That sends us into mourning. Why does this always happen to good shows we love? Adding to our frustration is the fact that the network refuses to provide any kind of payoff to the story in which we’ve become invested.
No wonder so many of us have commitment issues when it comes to TV.
7. DELIBERATELY MISLEADING PREVIEWS:
We’re told that next week’s episode of “The Bachelorette” will be more “shocking” than ever. Then we see scenes of our leading lady bawling her eyes out, interspersed with images of a guy saying “I cheated.”
So we tune in next week expecting high drama, only to discover that she’s crying because she’s been chopping onions in the kitchen, and the guy admits he cheated in a game of poker. Ugh. We’ve been played again. A pox on TV’s marketing liars.
8. GABBY GRANNIES:
We refer to it as the “Curse of Betty White.” She and Cloris Leachman have made a lot of money playing older women with no filters who talk freely about sex and body parts (See: Item 3) and spout plenty of politically incorrect dialogue. It’s funny, of course, because it goes against the stereotype. Grandmas are supposed to be sweet and virtuous.
But these characters are surfacing everywhere, with the latest examples in “Malibu Country” (Lily Tomlin) and “The New Normal” (Ellen Barkin), and they are becoming the stereotype.
It may be time for a temporary moratorium on gabby grannies.
9. REALITY REWINDS:
We’ve just watched the drunken babe toss her drink in that dumb guy’s face and leave the party with another dude, while her gal pals look on in horror from the hot tub. Now, we’re expecting even more fireworks right after the commercials.
Except when the show returns, what do we see? Recap scenes of the drunken babe tossing her drink in the dumb guy’s face and leaving the party with another dude. Monotonous. (And another form of reality filler). Get to the good stuff already, and don’t waste our valuable time.
10. LAUGH TRACKS:
Television has used canned laughter to sweeten shows since the 1960s. It is now 2012. Isn’t it time we finally issue a gag order once and for all? The CBS sitcom “Partners” was pretty bad. But that irritating laugh track….