Tag Archives: television

In the Words of Seth and Amy, REALLY?!?

28 Mar

Ya’ll know I don’t have network television. We watch everything online. Which means we see a few commercials over and over and over again. I keep seeing this one every time I turn on Up All Night or Ru Paul’s Drag Race, and I just have to say, in the words of Seth and Amy, REALLY?!?

Really??? I’m a working woman. I have a full-time career, a home to keep running, a marriage whose health and happiness requires intentional upkeep, family and friends to make time for, a full workout schedule to maintain, not to mention all the volunteer work and relationships with my high school kids that I care about keeping up with. God help me when I have kids. But, really, now I’m being told by the host of Biggest Loser over and over again that I need to make time to make sure my pets get enough exercise? Um, REALLY?!? I know this commercial is about cats and I have dogs, but I see this commercial and all I hear is ‘here’s one more thing you need to be making time for and feeling guilty about if you’re not.’

 “I can imagine as a cat owner, things start to get into a routine.” Really?!? You’re honestly telling me that monotony in a pet’s life is a serious problem that I should worry about?

Really, I love my dogs, I take care of my dogs. I’d go so far as to say they’re pretty spoiled, especially since both were severely neglected rescues before we got them. I volunteer my time at that rescue, and am all about pets being treated very well. This commercial seriously encourages scheduling daily quality time for pets, as if pet obesity were as big problem deserving of public concern as, oh, I don’t know, getting your pet fixed so we don’t have so many unwanted pets being euthanized in shelters. As if people aren’t already so concerned with their pets that pets are a $41 billion a year industry. REALLY?!? Cats get enough exercise. They’re cats. My indoor dogs get (mostly) daily walks and regularly tear around my house after the toys A and I throw for them. I spend time with them and play because it brings me joy; if someone owns a pet and doesn’t feel that way, why are they pet owners? As if a 30 second commercial is going to stop the neglect if someone doesn’t love their pet enough to play with them? Save the public service commercials for things that really matter, like spending wisely to end child slavery, combating kids being used as war pawns, or telling bullied kids that it gets better.

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Marriage is Cheap on ABC

23 Feb

What is up with all these separated couples on TV thinking that separation equals a dating free for all? Ok, it’s really only two couples on two shows that I’ve seen, Desperate Housewives and Private Practice, but it’s a trend that I find really disturbing.

I’ve never read a single marriage book or heard of a marriage counselor or reputable psychologist that said “you know what would be a great idea? You two separate because of your irreconcilable differences, make vague promises about working it out and just seeing how things go, then start sleeping with other people. It’ll be a great test to see if your marriage was meant to be!” But that sentiment seems to be the major plotlines this season between Lynette and Tom Scavo and Dr. Pete Wilder and Dr. Violet Turner.

How in the world are people supposed to try to save their marriage when they’ve got someone else, someone exciting and new in their beds? Dealing with marital problems is hard enough, never mind problems serious enough to separate over, without a third person adding jealousy, resentment, and feelings of betrayal to the mix. And yet on two major television shows you’ve got people actively in relationship with someone other than their spouse, with their spouses’ full knowledge, while they’re still married. Worse, their friends on the show are all for it and advise them that they can’t do anything about their spouse’s behavior and they should hook up with someone too, as soon as possible. Really ABC? Really?!? Can we back the crazy train up for a minute and look at the messed up message that sends?

What happened to recognizing that until a person is divorced it’s still called adultery? I’ve seriously heard on both shows dialogue along the lines of “why feel bad? You two are separated. If it makes you happy, then go for it!” or “He’s moved on, you should too.” And that’s another thing: if both parties are ready and moving on, then why keep them married? Why keep them in a perpetual state of limbo, ABC, letting them act like single adults while still having all the legal constraints of their nuptials hanging like an albatross around their necks? I don’t think it makes for good tv, you can get just as much drama from having them divorce and still have to find ways to be in each other’s lives, seeing the other person date, spying to see who’s sneaking out of their house at 5am. See, the drama possibilities are endless! I’m sure that they’re planning a big thing, at least in D.H. which is in its last season, where the man realizes that he was in love with his wife all along, drops the girl on the side, and comes back and all is happy again. But if they do that, I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that they won’t show the years of work that have to go into rebuilding the marriage and the trust that is lost when your partner starts sleeping with someone else while you are separated, NOT divorced. They won’t show that, because that is not good television, but it is reality. ABC, if you’re going to go down this road with not one, but two of your shows, at least give marriage the dignity of calling it over when it’s over, instead of letting your characters drag the beaten-down carcass of their failed marriages behind them while trying to decide if the person they’re with is enough of a reason to make their divorces final.

I’ve had people in my life who have lied to themselves about this very thing, starting a relationship with a married-yet-separated person before the divorce was final. Never mind all the reasons why a relationship can’t be healthy if one party is still coming off of a failed marriage, what about the responsibility that comes with potentially being the reason a person didn’t fight to save their marriage? And yet people make choices like this all the time without a second thought, regardless of whether people in their lives or their faiths tell them “slow down, wait a minute! What’s the rush? Let the ink dry before you jump right in with both feet.”

Television has a way of shaping culture, and I really don’t like how this is becoming the new norm on television. It’s not healthy, it’s not smart, and it’s not ok.

What do you think? Agree or disagree? Any other television trends ruffling your feathers?

Friday Five: Best Shows on TV Right Now

27 Jan

A and I don’t have regular TV. We’ve been watching on the internet since we were married, before it was a thing and TV’s came with internet-ready hookups. (The day A figured our how to jerry-rig his old computer to our TV…that was a proud moment in the Aylesworth house, my friends.) Anyhoo, we made the decision to not have regular TV because I hated the advertising and we figured that newlyweds had more important things to do than watch TV all evening…like get to know each other as newley-marrieds! Minds out of the gutter, folks. But that didn’t work out so well in the long run. With internet TV becoming a major thing, we watch all the shows (for the most part) other people do, just a day later. So I thought I’d share the five shows A and I wait for the other to watch. The best current shows on television (that we can see on Hulu or Netflix, that is, since not all networks put their shows up yet), according to Bigger in Real Life are:

1. Modern Family

I feel almost trite putting this up here after the sweep I heard it did, once again, at the Golden Globes, but it’s the truth. This show rocks. There isn’t a better ensemble cast on TV right now, and unlike my perennial favorite Friends I can’t think of a character I dislike. I love the patriarch in Jay and how he’s softened by the comic genius in Gloria. I love the whole dynamic of the Dunphys. And Cam is my absolute favorite. So soft and lovable, yet so hard-core. Awesome.

2. Castle

This show had us since we heard the two magic words: “Nathan Fillion.” Sure the plots are semi-formulaic, and A and I usually figure out whodunnit before Beckett and Castle do, but shaddup, it makes us feel smart. There’s no better combo of lighthearted fun and dramatic twists than Castle. And the almost there love dynamic between Kate and Castle? Television gold. Listen up, writers of Castle: if you ever let Castle and Beckett get together it will ruin the show. I know you’ll be tempted if you ever have to end things, but trust me, the almost-there is what makes the show. Although it would help a lot if NF could go back to looking like the dashing hero if the first season. He’s starting to look more like Kate’s older and less attractive uncle than a serious love interest.

3. How I Meet Your Mother

This one almost was #2 for me, as the show neatly fills the hole Friends left behind, but while the HIMYM gang makes you wish you could have a beer with them, Castle just makes me feel good about life. So it’s in at #3. And why is that? Oh, I’ll give you six reasons, in three words or less: Robin Sparkles. Slap bet. Suit Up. Legend-waitforit-Dary! Theme Songs. Neil. Patrick. Harris.

4. 30 Rock

Honestly, this show is so freaking good it could have usurped any of the ones listed above. I only ranked it lower because the non-linear plot line makes this show closer to sketch comedy than something where you can really invest in the characters. But oh my goodness, I love everything Tina Fey does. And prior to 30 Rock I never thought I’d say this, but Alec Baldwin really makes the show. First time in his career I’ve been laughing because of him, not at him.

5. Community

This show has been a bit of a sleeper on the acclimation scale, but I’m here to tell you that it deserves a place on any top five list, with a bullet. This show has served up paintball wars, a claymation Christmas Special, anime foosball, Dawn of the Dead-type plots, blatant fun-making of Glee, alternate timelines, and Troy and Abed in the Morning. You don’t have to have attended a community college to love this show, you just have to be able to recognize greatness when you see it.

Runner up in the drama category: Parenthood

I felt bad that all my top picks were comedies lasting half an hour, so had to throw this one in as an honorable mention to show that I don’t only like the funny shows, and that I have an attention span longer than a goldfish. Because really, could Parenthood have won over any of the above? I don’t think so.
A doesn’t like to admit it, but when he’s up in the loft playing computer games he totally pays attention to the plot-lines of this oh-so-well-written show. Do I agree with every decision the writers make? No. Do I think some of the things they write intending to be heartwarming are stupid and shallow? Yes. But I love this show for the way it portrays families. I come from a crazy large family, and we all talk over each other, just like the characters in Parenthood. I’ve been every teenager on that show at some point in my life, and have had friends like all of the Bravermans. I love how they have problems and make choices for better or worse, but in the end family trumps all. I will say one thing, though. I still don’t know the name of Lauren Graham’s character, because to A and I she’s still Lorelei Gilmore.

Potential List Addition in the Future: Alcatraz

This is the first show in a long time A and I have been really excited about. I’m a straight-up sucker for any show set in California (another reason I love Parenthood. Watching them take a road trip down Hwy 5 was like taking a trip home for me. But I digress.) but set it in my favorite city in the world and I’m in. This show is full of intrigue and secrecy, and we can’t tell yet if Sam Neil is a good guy or a bad guy. Plus, they have Hurley, who I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to call by his new character name either.

And in case you were wondering, here are some shows that would have made the cut, had circumstances been different:

Best show if it was three years ago:
Glee

Best show if I wanted to admit to loving a dressed-up soap opera:
Private Practice

Best show if I was over 50 and wanting to still feel like I’ve got it:
Desperate Housewives

Best show as long as Steve Carrell stayed on:
The Office

Best show if I wasn’t burned out on the mockumentary-style filming thanks to The Office:
Parks and Recreation

Best concept turned disappointment by uninspired writing:
Once Upon a Time

Best case of a supporting cast totally being better than the name-brand star they got to play the lead character:
New Girl

Best show if there wasn’t something about Christina Applegate that makes me want to punch her in the face:
Up All Night. Love. Me. Some Maya.

So that’s my list. Do you agree? Disagree? What are your picks for best shows on TV right now?

Watch What I What?!?

12 Jan

Hold the phone, we have a winner for Christy’s new favorite commercial.

We don’t have network television, (we watch with a computer hooked up to our huge tv, and make do with Hulu and Netflix) so I don’t know if this ad has been around for a while and I just haven’t seen it. But I saw a slightly shorter version today for the first time and I almost spit out my fizzy water, because it’s the best counter cultural ad I’ve seen since that one Dove commercial.

I am forever telling my high school students to be filters of culture, not sponges. Sort of along the lines of “in the world, but not of the world,” but more specific. Being a filter of culture is all about looking at that which we take in with a critical eye. It’s asking ourselves “what message is this sending?” “What am I being sold?” “What assumptions am I being asked to make?” “Is there an ideal being set that I’m asked to buy into?” The questions one can ask are staggering. I apply this to television, books, media, news, music, and especially advertising. This is the first time I’ve seen a commercial ask the questions.

Watch What You Watch, sponsored by the Girl Scouts of America

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