TV pet peeves

A television aficionado channels several aspects of TV that irk and irritate.

By RUTH BELOFF
September 25, 2016 21:21
ROAST MASTER David Spade (right) takes aim at Rob Lowe on the ‘Comedy Central Roast of Rob Lowe.’

ROAST MASTER David Spade (right) takes aim at Rob Lowe on the ‘Comedy Central Roast of Rob Lowe.’. (photo credit: MICHAEL TRAN/FILMMAGIC)

Once again the Emmys have been and gone, and once again I lament the fact that I and thousands of other loyal TV viewers have been denied the pleasure of watching the proceedings because HOT did not air the ceremony on any of its cable channels.

I resent it all the more because I love Jimmy Kimmel, who hosted the show, and am sorry that I didn’t get to see him in action.

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At Emmy time I usually write an article about TV, such as my favorite shows or favorite characters or the like. But this year, as I am already in a griping mood, I think I’ll vent some of my other complaints vis-a-vis TV.

Let me preface this by saying that I love television and spend a lot of time watching everything in sight.

But with it comes a slew of things that I find annoying in that pursuit, hence the following diatribe.

The thing that distresses me the most as I am surfing the channels in search of something to watch is the inordinate amount of violence on TV, cliché notwithstanding.

As I click the remote from channel to channel, I am literally assaulted by scenes of people being shot, stabbed, strangled, stalked, threatened, beaten, tortured or lying in a pool of blood. I am often hardpressed to find something to watch that does not involve war, murder, crime or physical abuse. Granted, there are some excellent crime dramas that I do watch and enjoy, but really, the profusion of violent programming is, shall we say, overkill.

Aside from the graphic scenes that are a visual assault, my ears are assaulted as well. The foul language used in films and on TV shows, particularly reality shows, is shocking. F bombs are hurled as often as hand grenades, with total disregard for tender ears. Even on a relatively classy reality show like Top Chef, the contestants use language that has to be bleeped out much of the time. Totally unpalatable.

But bleeping out the offensive words is no help. It’s just an annoying sound, and we know what the words are that have been censored, anyway. The producers should not permit such language to be used in the first place.

And speaking of offensive, I simply cannot watch Inside Amy Schumer. I try because I know she can be clever and interesting, but every time I watch even more than a minute of her comedy show, she touches on a subject or goes into a skit that I find so repugnant that I just have to change the channel (and good luck with that, right?).

Even more offensive than her show are the roasts on the Comedy Central channel. Oh, please! The recent Rob Lowe roast was so abusive that I couldn’t watch more than 10 minutes of it. Crude, vulgar and downright cruel, it was an insult to the word “comedy.” It was hosted by comic actor David Spade and a dais full of C-list presenters, most of whom I never heard of, who took nasty pot shots not only at Lowe but also at each other. I drew the line when Spade made an utterly tasteless remark about a presenter’s father who had died in the 9/11 attack. I will never watch that show again! And speaking of watching shows again, there are reruns ad infinitum. Some I don’t mind seeing again, like Seinfeld and Cheers, but others have really overstayed their welcome. That ‘70s Show seems to be on all the time. And much as I love Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler and Joey, how many times can we see Friends being aired over and over from start to finish, with the constant ups and downs of Ross and Rachel’s relationship? I know – “they were on a break!” but as Lorelai Gilmore would say, “Enough with the poodles already” (whatever that means).

Speaking of which, I hope that one of these days we will be fortunate enough to see the new episodes of Gilmore Girls that Netflix is putting together. That was one of the best-written and best-acted shows on television – with absolutely no violence – and I hope that HOT lets its subscribers get to see the new episodes at some point.

Back to the reruns. If we are to be inundated with them, then at least bring back some of the really good or really campy shows like Frasier, M*A*S*H*, The A Team, Stargate SG-1, Northern Exposure, Columbo and Remington Steele. But not Lost. I don’t think any of us could endure being led up once more to the most disappointing ending in television history, short of the season nine finale of Dallas that was “all a dream.”

On the subject of TV series, I find it very annoying to get all involved in a gripping series and then a season ends, and we never know when – if ever – the next season will air. Reruns of the past seasons run rampant, but what about the newer subsequent season? On a totally different tangent, another thing I find extremely annoying is the ludicrous placement of subtitles.

I watch English-language TV shows, which have Hebrew subtitles at the bottom, which is just fine. But sometimes on a TV show or a movie, someone speaks in a foreign language, and there is an English subtitle for it. But whoever is in charge of subtitle placement, in his infinite wisdom puts the Hebrew subtitle directly over the English one, so the whole thing is obscured and you can’t read the English or the Hebrew. What’s the point!? Put the Hebrew subtitle somewhere else, such as just above the English one or, better yet, as a surtitle at the top of the screen. Really, how complicated is that? And I know they can do it because they manage to insert those irritating little promos for upcoming shows right in the middle of a scene, so it can be done.

But at least we don’t have commercials on most of the cable channels, and that is a viewer’s blessing.

So there you have it. An earful about some of the things that irk and irritate me about one of my favorite pastimes. Still, there is so much to enjoy and appreciate about this multifaceted medium.

In that regard, I will end on a positive note. On one of my surfing expeditions, I fortuitously came upon America’s Got Talent, which airs on Channel 1 and Channel 33. What a delight that is. Contestants of any age and any kind of talent compete. The winning act receives a cash prize of $1 million and his/her/ their own show in Las Vegas. The panel of judges consists of Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Mel B (of the Spice Girls) and comedian Howie Mandell. With skillful acts that range from singing, dancing, acrobatics and magic to tightrope walking, sword swallowing, ventriloquism and stand-up comedy, America’s Got Talent is enthralling and entertaining. As Simon Cowell would say, “I don’t like it – I love it!” Check it out.


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