Talking Television and Values.

Archive for April, 2007

Identity Is Fun, but Too Much Skin

Posted by Travis R Grant on April 28, 2007

I really love family shows when it comes to television. And so that often leads me and my family to watch a lot of reality TV and game shows. I know that they aren’t the best type of family television entertainment, but of the choices lately, it’s about all that I have.

Friday nights are one night when usually the kids and I can sit down and spend an hour or two watching television together before bed. And this has meant that we watch a lot of Identity. I don’t think that it is a great show, and I honestly though that Penn Jillette would do a lot better hosting.  We watch, however, for the most part because it is family-friendly.

If you haven’t seen the show, basically the contestant is supposed to match 12 identities (from a doctor to a horseback rider, or an Olympic Gold Medalist to a mortician) with 12 strangers standing on a stage. Sometimes is really obvious, like when the the identity is a clown and one of the people is actually wearing a red nose. However, as the identities are narrowed down, it can often get harder.

The nice thing about this is you can play along. You can make your educated (or sometimes not-so-educated) guess, and then be embarrassed or take bragging rights depending on your accuracy. I have hid my head in shame several times.

I have one big problem with this show, however. This show has too much skin. It seems that every female stranger has to be in either a bikini or strapless, naval revealing outfit.

Sure it has provided me with excellent opportunities to talk to my children about modesty. But it really is getting to be too much.

If the bikini or skimpy outfit is directly related to their identity, then I can understand it (sort of), but when a missionary, preschool teacher, and morticians apprentice are all in bikinis, I just have to wonder if this isn’t just blatant pandering to the perverts in the male audience.

Let’s try to keep family friendly television to at least some level of decency.  Between the poor hosting by Jillette and the immodesty, I don’t suspect that this show has much of a future.

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Choice = Better Television

Posted by Travis R Grant on April 26, 2007

I often find myself disagreeing with Scott Pierce, the television columnist at the Deseret News. However, I find his articles usually quite enjoyable to read. However, he is wrong in his latest column.

While, I don’t agree with the Parents Television Council‘s effort for more government control of television. I do agree that Cable Television should provide an a-la-carte menu. I don’t think that it should be government mandated, I just wish that private industry would provide an a-la-carte cable option without force.

Peirce argues that by creating an a-la-carte style cable system then many of our favorite cable networks would disappear. His claim is that many of these cable stations make money from subscriptions. This is a complete lie. Most subscription services (magazines, newspapers, and even cable networks) make their money from advertising. Subscriptions are simply used to prove that the people view the ads are actually paying customers and not people looking for a free ride.

Of the 38 networks that Peirce lists, there are only a few that are free of advertisements. The rest rely on ads to pay the bills. They are also able to charge a premium ad rate because they can say that their viewers have a specific interest. DIY and TLC can charge more for home improvement ads, and Oxygen can charge more for ads targeted to women.

If people chose their favorite 20 channels, then the premium they could charge for ads would go up. I am sure that this increase would more than make up for lose due to subscription reductions.

Further, If you accept Peirce’s premise that bulk rates are the only way for some of your favorite stations to survive, then I have one question. Why should my money go to support something I don’t watch? If it couldn’t survive without my minute contribution, then why should it survive.

Some might argue that if the a-la-carte style cable system would work, then why aren’t they offering it. The simple answer is because people are willing to pay for bulk packages. It is cheaper to eat at a buffet and not at a cafeteria. However, there are many people who will go to a good steak house rather than get a tough slice of second rate beef from a buffet.

I don’t subscribe to cable. I don’t see that it is worth my money. However, if I could buy just a few extra channels, then I might consider paying more per channel just to get the best of what is available.

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Heroes Renews It’s Energy

Posted by Travis R Grant on April 24, 2007

In gearing up for last night’s return of Heroes, I re-watched every season 1 episode on-line. Yeah, I have to admit I am a little obsessed. Since I did the same thing during the last Heroes drought, I have watched the pre-December episodes at least three times.

While watching these episodes again, I couldn’t help but think that they had tied up too many loose ends. We found out who Claire’s (Hayden Panetierre) real parents are. We had my suspicions that Mr. Bennet (Jack Coleman) was a good guy, and only the “face” of evil not evil itself, confirmed. We met Mr. Linderman (Michael McDowell), however, who he really is hasn’t been revealed. And many more important parts of the story have been discovered.

I was honestly thinking that if they kept up the pace, then the show would be all over by the end to of this season. However, with this one episode, while having several questions answered, we had many new questions to keep our interest.  Some of these interesting new questions are:

  1. Will Nathan (Adrian Pasdar) encourage his brother to explode?
  2. What is Mrs. Petrelli’s (Cristine Rose) power?
  3. Does Claire need to stay in New York or go to Paris to save the World?
  4. Can Mr. Bennet stop the Company?
      • Does he meet up again with Claire when in New York?
      • Or do they end up going to Las Vegas instead?
      1. What happened 15 or so years ago to cause a former group of Heroes to separate?
          • Was Mrs. Petrelli one of the group?
          • Does Mrs. Petrelli work for Linderman?
          • Who was in that group?

          These are just some of the question that I have come up with, and I am excited to see them develop. I am also very interested to see what happens 5 years in the future that is so important to today, so next week is going to be another great episode.

          It’s great that I have Heroes to hold onto, because as of late, I have been losing a lot of interest in television. Sure, I am still watching Lost, but many of the other staples in my TV diet aren’t as appetizing as they used to be.

          I really don’t want to get into the speculations about the show, I just want to point out how good this show is and has become. This show is so good; I even started to believe the tricks of this episode.

          It should have been obvious to me that Peter just needed the glass pulled from his head. But for some reason, I was so caught up in mourning his loss (or trying to figure out how Linderman was going to save him), that I didn’t really think too much about pulling the glass out of his head.

          I was moved when Claire saved him and cited the all to cliche line “I guess we’re even then.” I just solidified their relationship in my head. Before it was just a young girl fantasy about an older brother figure. Now, it is a great uncle-niece relationship that I know will prove important through out the show, even perhaps during the next few episodes.

          Posted in Drama, Heroes, Television, TV | Leave a Comment »

          Jericho Gets Nuked

          Posted by Travis R Grant on April 19, 2007

          As Jericho is one of my personal favorite new shows this year, I am upset to report that I won’t be watching any more. I have said in the past there is one thing that will make me stop watching a show. I have been accused of being a prude and of not understanding real life because of it too.

          Last weeks episode had an allusion to the fact that Bonnie (Shoshannah Stern) had spent the night with her boyfriend at her house while Stanley (Bradley Beyer) was in New Bern. I started to question if I should even bother watching the show then. However, I couldn’t determine if Bonnie was a teenager or not.  While I had alway thought she wast, I didn’t want to give up on the show just then.

          According to Stern’s IMBD bio, she is 26 years old. However, it isn’t uncommon for television to have actors portray people younger (or older) than they really are. So, I decided to reserve judgment. Honestly, I was hoping that they would just drop the issue and let me watch in peace.

          However, they continued the story this week, and during a conversation between Stanley and Mimi (Alicia Coppola), Bonnie’s age is hinted to. She is referred to as a teenager, and it was specified that she was having sex with her boyfriend.

          I struggled at that point. I love this show. While my interest in Jericho is starting to wane, I don’t want to stop watching yet. I even contemplated not writing about it today and just letting the incident slide hoping that no one would notice my hypocrisy.

          However, I can’t do that. If I give in on one show, then I lose and those who are determined to normalize teen sex win. So, I am done with Jericho.

          Before some of you start arguing that I don’t know anything about teenagers, I want to point out, that yes I know teens are having sex. I also understand that sex is very much on most teenagers’ minds. However, it isn’t something that they should take casually, and too many television shows are treating this as a casual act.

          I am also hopeful that there is still a large number of teens who are choosing to abstain. I am still waiting for a show that emphasizes that choice, and not as some fanatically religious reason for their choice. I am fine with religion being a part of the choice. I am just afraid that the media will make it some religious fanatical reason for the decision.

          I predict that Jericho will lose a lot of viewers over the rest of this season, and I further predict that fewer will return for the next season. I am sure I am not the only person who feels this way. We need to have more viewers be more discerning about the shows they choose to watch. As for me, I am done with one of my favorite shows this year.

          Posted in Drama, Jericho, Television, TV | Leave a Comment »