Realism in TV

After watching a very well done documentary on PBS entitled “America in Primetime” I was struck by the comments of the writers for such Cable programming as Dexter, Weeds, Nurse Jackie. One after another expounded the virtues of “realism” especially in the context of comparison to 1950’s TV. I agree there was a lot of gender discrimination and idealized families that no one went home to. I have always enjoyed TV that is more “aspirational”…someone doing something really well, some insight into the human body or brain, seeing how the rest of the world looks and lives. I do not live among serial murderers (Dexter) drug dealing mothers (Weeds) or addicted nurses (Nurse Jackie). I am sure they exist, but somehow having them on a big screen in my home is not comforting, hope inspiring, uplifting. They are ugly characters and ideas, and I just don’t “get” why after reading the paper or watching the news someone would crave “more” of what is despairing. We are what we eat, both in food and entertainment.

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