Friday, November 11, 2011

Financial Woes Make it to Scripted TV

I read this article on, and decided to leave a comment on it.  I actually do this quite a bit, and I don't usually post what I write here, but after looking it over, I was a little impressed with myself and the points I made (arrogant, I know).  So I decided to post my comment on the blog as well.  The article is about how the entertainment television industry is finally making shows about working people.  But as I point out, I found this more than a little disingenuous. 

The thing that really turns me off about these kinds of shows, is that the only way the entertainment media seems to be able to reflect the reality of hard economic times and poverty, is to make light of it, to make it into a joke.  It shows how detached from reality the people who greenlight these shows really are.  They see things like people losing their jobs to outsourcing, and come up with an idea for a half-hour comedy about it (there was a comedy on last year called, yes, "Outsourced").  Or young people not being able to gain traction in the job market due to the staggering economy and the crippling student loan debt, and they go "hey, let's make something funny out of that", and you get "2 Broke Girls" on CBS. 

I think the motivating factor is that the corporate media does not want people to think too seriously about these things; this might motivate them to get angry and organized.  So the assertion the writer makes at the beginning of the article, on how the TV industry is finally making shows about working people rather than about cops and doctors, is more than a little disingenuous.  Yes, they are making shows about working people, but these shows aren't seriously addressing the many struggles the working poor face on a daily basis or are carrying a message that many can relate to.  It's taking their misery, their failures to pay their bills and raise their kids, and making it into something for people watching their TVs to laugh at.  The more I think about it, the more disgusted I get. 

Not to say that there aren't serious dramatic works that deal with the subject matter of the economic crisis we're in.  Take the new movie "Margin Call" with Kevin Spacey, the docudrama "Too Big to Fail" with William Hurt and Paul Giamatti, the sequel to "Wall Street", etc.  But the dramas I mentioned aren't about working people; they're about the ethical and moral travails of the top one percent as they navigate through the crisis.  As good as these films are, I can't remotely relate to the characters.  What's the worse that will happen to them, they won't be able to buy that yacht they want?

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