Stupid Decision

Saturday, January 24, 2009 at 1:18 AM | Filed under

My understanding from what I've read is that one of the problems with Pushing Daisies is that it isn't the kind of show that a person can just sit down and zone out to. A viewer really has to be paying attention in order to understand and appreciate the show, especially when the characters talk fast. It's a show you really have to think about. And thinking, unfortunately, seems to be something which is lacking in the United States these days. This means that large numbers of people might watch Pushing Daisies, but they won't get it, so they won't tune in next time. The show's ratings were good to start with, but they started to drop.

The problem is that if these people aren't watching Pushing Daisies, then ABC isn't getting the ratings the advertisers want. In other words, Pushing Daisies is too smart for television. So ABC cancels it and replaces it with something that the masses can understand, like more reality shows, or perhaps another spin-off featuring characters from poorly-written car insurance ads. Television becomes a reflection of society: it airs what the masses want to see. This is bad because people want to see stupid stuff. I know that America's Funniest Home Videos shows a lot of stupid stuff, like old women falling down, or men getting hit in the groin.

I'm reminded of an episode of Dinosaurs, which aired on ABC. The lead character, Earl, becomes a network executive and since he's a pretty stupid dinosaur, he chooses to air only stupid programming, such as The Happy Colors Show (and maybe a show about cavemen... I don't remember). As a result, all the dinosaurs become stupid and they quit thinking. Earl decides that he should air smarter programming. He airs educational programming, and everybody learns new skills and puts them to good use. (Also, everyone stops watching TV...) I guess my point here is that society becomes a reflection of television, as well.

So it's a vicious cycle. Stupid programming leads to stupid viewers, which leads to more stupid programming. As I mentioned above, thinking seems to be a problem in this country, which means that stupid programming will likely prevail on television. But adding some smart programming, like Pushing Daisies, can certainly help to avert this problem, and it also lends ABC the credibility of maintaining intelligent programming. ABC needs to make the decision between airing smart programming or stupid programming.

It seems that ABC is going with the stupid decision.

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