The Idiot Box

May 18, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Posted in Snobbery | 22 Comments

I don’t watch cable TV anymore. Well, okay, fine, not entirely. I still check the weather on channel 24 and, during dinner with the family, I am forced to guess the word puzzles in Wheel of Fortune, answer the film-related questions in Jeopardy and favour the likeable contestants over the obnoxious and cocky ones when we could just easily turn off the damn TV and talk to each other about the past and the distant future.

I just can’t help but frequently roll my eyes whenever I watch TV. If it’s not Willie Revillame’s gloating and ugly excuse for a face hogging the whole screen, it’s news reporters with their fake smiles and obligatory small talk, talking about the most humdrum things happening in Toronto. If it’s not an awkward stand-up comedian who claims to have socially relevant jokes when he’s just really reinforcing stereotypes rather than mocking them, it’s Donald Trump with that grumpy look in that capitalist show of his whom I would be nothing but pleased to kill.

Now that I have grown an affection for films, I think that TV preys on caters too much to idiots, naive and/or uneducated people and people with short attention spans. Or maybe it is the other way around and the short-attention spans people have is the cause of their excessive TV exposure.

Okay, they start off with stuff like American Idol and Survivor. They find out that millions of people are into this stupid shit: judges acting like they know what they’re talking about, white people congratulating and complimenting each other (yet again), and the viewer having the illusion that they control the lives of these contestants with a single text/vote. Next, they start coming up with the most farfetched ideas and create reality shows in the fields of culinary arts? Modelling? Fashion designing? Business? Interior designing? Travel? Even dating?  What’s next? Surgeries? Oh wait, right, you can already watch people performing surgery operations in TV nowadays. Shouldn’t work and entertainment be two entirely different things? Is nothing sacred anymore? Does everything in our lives have to be watchable? Must they create such artificial melodrama about the dullest part of our lives?

And what’s so dramatic about life at the hospital? Must they really create countless shows about that? Do doctors really get that involved with their patients? Um, I think there’s this something that they call confidentiality. I don’t think there’s anything romantic and interesting about overfatigued nurses and capitalist doctors.

Kids and teens have no idea what satire is. They only get a kick out of shows like The Simpsons and South Park because they are crude and offensive, unlike wholesome family shows, and Bart Simpson, Homer Simpson and Stewie are supposedly people they can look up to. But those weren’t the creators’ initial intentions. Bart is a brat. Bart, brat, get it? No? You’re a nitwit then. And Homer is an obese, irresponsible, uneducated, couch potato: the average American. I don’t think we should make T-shirts and other merchandise out of them.

Cars marketed to define ourselves and what we are? Commercials reinforcing typical female/male roles and mainstream gender relations? Consumerist, capitalist agendas? Women in humiliating and degrading situations and roles for the pleasures of prepubescent boys and perverted men? All for business and no room for art? TV viewers and producers getting a kick out of untalented and uneducated people on TV? So much for human progress.

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  1. I love Simpsons for the wit!

    How about Rubi? Can you comment on how the adaptation is handled? I actually liked it and I don’t know why. Reminds me of the emotional turmoil in the classic wuthering heights.

    • Too bad, the creators of The Simpsons have ran out of ideas and the series has lost its wit and charm after its nth season. I really prefer the first seasons over what came next.

      Jake Cuenca’s hot. Other than that, the show looks pathetic hehe. How do I know about Rubi? We have temporary TFC and suddenly glanced at the TV to see this.

  2. Oh, I like Big Bang Theory (watched it just twice and I like it). Other than that, I don’t watch TV. Heck, I don’t even get jokes by people around me. They tell me it’s from the TV and I’d tell them I don’t watch TV anymore: all those soap operas and Wowowee (Hep, Hep!) and shit irritates me. If I’d watch TV I’d go to IFC or Sundance and watch movies. That makes more sense to me.

    This post made me hate popular culture even more.

    • Hooray! Hahaha, alangya, sarap batuhin ng TV pag Wowowee na.

      Big Bang Theory seems watchable though. I have a thing for geeks XD.

      Yes, hate pop culture even more. I don’t care if something’s popular but if it’s mindnumbing, conventional and ridiculous, then I don’t want any part of it.

      But I personally think IFC and Sundance limit their films to American ones with only a few foreign films and not many from the 1920s-1970s. I think you’d get a kick out of Cronenberg, Verhoeven, Argento and Carpenter films, haha.

  3. All these reality shows seriously need to stop for a second. The Bachelor, the bachelorette, groomer has it, so you think you can dance, dance your ass off, all MTV reality shows, Daisy Siyete, GMA fantaserye shit – SHUT THE FUCK UP ALL Y’ALL!

    Don’t fry your brains too much watching TV kids.

    Read a damn book for Christ sake.

    • They still have Daisy Siete? O_O

      I’m glad we share the same opinion about TV. It’s just household noise, really.

      Naku, kuya, sige, turuan mo na nga lang ako magbasketball. Mas makakabuti pa sa akin yun hahaha.

      Me + basketball= BOOOM!!!! not a good combination

      • lol on Daisy Syete. don’t worry, mukhang last season na to. mabubuwag na raw ang sexbomb. hahaha 😀

      • video games na lang kung hindi uubra basketball! hehe..

      • @ jayvie

        buti naman. its like their 22nd season of atrocity already. enough is enough

  4. Minsan may na-meet akong doctor. Tinanong ko sya kung nanoood sya ng Grey’s Anatomy, nanonood daw sya. As a follow up question, tinanong ko kung nangyayari ba sa totoong buhay ang mga drama sa Grey’s Anatomy. Isang matamins na “Oo” at isang makahulugang ngiti ang sagot nya.

    Ang punto ko? Wala.

    😉

    • Pauto ka naman :P.

      Sana sa totoong buhay maraming Patrick Dempsey, mas makakabuti pa sa atin yun, lalo na sa mga nurses at doctors. Yun na lang wish ko. Wa ako paki sa drama sa ospital.

  5. it seems like every household is incomplete without this idiot box. i think it somehow keeps the people sane and at the same time makes them stupid. but at the end, it’s the viewers who are supposed to have their own informed choices on what to watch and what not. just sad, that the television is supposed to take on a great social responsibility in somehow honing the attitude and personality of its viewers, but most tv shows fail to do so.

    • Earlier, I just read on a Time magazine that TV is changing the world and making it for the better. What!? The author argued that illiterate people have learned to read through TV and women are becoming more aware of their freedom and choices.

      Umm, I think these people can also learn about this stuff through reading more. Not only this, but they also get to learn a whole lot more, other than knowing which celebrity is going out with who and which contestant is going to win whatever the price is, useless information.

      And I say TV networks completely have their own agendas, that they really get to influence almost every household out there. Scary stuff.

  6. well, blame everything to voyeurism and the inherent “need” to know what’s happening to other people’s lives in order to escape one’s own pathetic life. hahaah!

    Just the other day, I was saying the same thing to myself…that we have too many reality shows… i mean look at that jon & Kate plus eight series? do we really have to know what happens 24/7 to the lives of those poor kids and their obnoxious parents? seriously. and the kind of teleseryes this country has sucks. imagine people constantly looking for their biological parents and kids? for months they feed that to their viewers. no wonder many filipinos pity themselves and the minute you tell them to shape up, they tell you that you’re just trampling on poor people. what the?

    That’s why I advocate reading over watching tv. nakakabobo ang tv nowadays.

    but if we’re talking about hot men like Mcdreammy and McSteamy, well, i’d say bring it on! hahahaha!

    • Jon & Kate plus 8= exploitation and fabrication of what’s going on in their daily lives
      For TV of course, they add some artificial drama to these reality TV shows. If this is “reality”, then I don’t know what it is anymore.
      In soap operas, everyone’s adopted, separated from her real parents, or raised by a stepdad/stepmom. And everyone makes such a big deal about it hahaha.

  7. New here! The new idiot box is the computer more specifically with World Wide Web in it. It’s less “idiotic” and more democratic though. Or is it that I’m not watching TV these days rin except for Chuck? Hmm.

    • With Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and all other applications that even corporations are trying to use for their own selfish intentions, yes, maybe the computer is the next idiot box. And also easy-to-access information, and dumbing it down for the masses.
      But then at least with the computer, you still have more alternatives and possibilities. Without the computer, I wouldn’t have known about such great films, music and books. Watching TV, you have more limited choices, only the mainstream.

  8. Personally, I like watching reality shows because I love seeing what people would be able to do for a million bucks, fame, and their dream job. I don’t think we are supposed to learn something THAT huge when we watch TV. We learn, yes we do without noticing it, whether it be as small as finding out that people from this place don’t have this kind of food, that these kinds of fruits are deadly and stuff. Bottomline is, we’re supposed to enjoy ourselves. We already have a lot of things we do everyday that we can learn loads of.

    And c’mon. You have to love those bitches from ANTM do catfights. Those men from Survivor walking around half naked. And those singers who make us swoon when they go pat their eyes. I know I love that.

    • Um, I don’t think you have to watch TV to learn which fruit is poisonous and which is not. And I’m pretty sure you won’t get stranded in an island anytime sooner :P.

      Yes, escapism and entertainment are alright but must mainstream TV rely too much on excessive sentimenality, manipulation of its audience, and overdramatization of human lives? The idiot box is just literally begging for me to feel contempt and hatred for it.

      I can’t help but think that maybe regular TV viewers are more misanthropic and more sadistic than I am. I mean, they enjoy people humiliating themselves in public TV, desperate people fighting each other for the prize, etc. TV’s legal human exploitation.

      • The thing is, you learn things that you don’t purposely google. Seriously, how many things have you learned from TV that you will never think of trying to find out for yourself if you didn’t hear about it from some dumb people on reality shows? Let’s not overly criticize the hype. I mean, sure, most of their ideas are dumb, but by the end of the day we know we turned the TV on because we wanted to have fun. If that’s making fun of people we see on TV or voting for them to win the show, then who would care, right?

  9. When will I learn? The answers to life’s problems aren’t at the bottom of a bottle, they’re on TV!
    – Homer Simpson

    Still, hail the Simpsons for the wit, hehe.

    • I am a Simpsons fan myself but I hate its latest seasons. It’s not funny anymore, not even satirical. It tries so hard to be like Family Guy, when it used to be topnotch stuff when it still wasn’t a sell-out.

      I think I already mentioned on a previous comment that The Simpsons has lost its spark and wit after its early seasons.


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