We Interrupt This Program

Sunny FrazierReturning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today with her thoughts on the state of TV programming today.

The third Christy Bristol Astrology Mystery, A Snitch in Time, was released on January 24, 2015.

sunny69@comcast.net   //  http://www.sunnyfrazier.com

First, let me confess, I love TV. There were many times in my life where I didn’t have access to one: on Midway Island as a child, in my first apartment, during my stint in the Navy and as a college student. When I returned stateside from Puerto Rico, I was lost in a wilderness of cultural references. I didn’t know who the Fonze was, the Warthogs, or the Brady Bunch. I couldn’t figure out if “MASH” was a comedy or a drama. I was at a college party when “Saturday Night Live” came on and the whole party stopped to watch. I was in the dark.

Every year I eagerly look forward to new shows being aired. However, this year I couldn’t find one show to invest my time and interest. They all seemed dark, joyless. Or juvenile. Seriously, I can’t buy into superheroes and demon hunters. Medical shows seem to want to scare people from ever going into the hospital, which is a bad thing since I’m facing a transplant. Crime fiction is more and more outrageous. I’m more comfortable with the ID channel and real crime than fictional sadistic killers. What prompted this blog was “Wicked City.” A glamorous serial killer? Who watches this crap?

I’m trying to understand what drives this need for pure fantasy or gory pseudo-reality in our programming. TV executives, obviously. But, they must be feeding off something in society demanding more and more of the dark side. It seems that we, as a society, have lost hope and given up. Paranoia does not equate to entertainment.

Maybe it’s an age thing. At 65, I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t need gloom and doom. Isn’t life tough enough without turning on the TV for more of the same? If I want to be depressed, I’ll turn on the news. What I want is humor, like “The Big Bang Theory” and “Modern Family”. “Neil Patrick Harris and Best Time Ever” makes me giddy (okay, that’s a new show). “Fresh Off the Boat”, “Mom”, “Elementary”, “The Soup”—just give me light fare that entertains. Because, I already have these demons in my life:

A Snitch in TimeA vampire called PG&E.
Ghosts of publishers past.
The Blob growing in my fridge (formerly known as spaghetti sauce).
Extra Terrestrials (my ex—I swear he’s from another planet).
My possessed computer.
The witch next door who hates my cats.
Devils—my cat named Cookie (aka Cookie Monster).
Pain & suffering on reality TV: “Survivor”, “Project Runway”, “Top Chef”.

I feel for kids today who don’t have “McHale’s Navy”, “Gomer Pyle”, “Gilligan’s Island” and “The Monkees” to lighten things up. When they get older and watch their best friends eaten up by cancer, lose their parents to Alzheimer’s and bodies to regenerative disease, maybe they’ll wish they enjoyed themselves when they had the chance. TV doesn’t have to remind us that the worst is yet to come. It comes soon enough.

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19 thoughts on “We Interrupt This Program

  1. Terrific post, Sunny. I also back from overseas and didn’t know who the Fonze was or the Brady Bunch. Today, too many TV programs appear to have been written by 17 year olds. The sad thing is people throughout the world judge Americans by the programs they see produced in America.

    The same thing could be said about TV that Susan Elizabeth Phillips said about books: “…life’s too short to read depressing books.”

  2. My thoughts exactly! Our society is paying a big price for all the inane and violent and dreary shows. I’m addicted to those light, silly, uplifting Hallmark Christmas movies!

  3. Sunny, I do agree and it is very disappointing to me, as well. I have always dislike sci fi ( except the X-Files) and medical shows; I flip through channels, and I imagine the only two shows that hold my interest, somewhat are Mysteries of Laura and Elementary; I am watching far to many ‘over-the-top’ risqué nonsense, and just pure trash. While I do enjoy Hallmark shows and movies ( Cedar Cove, The Wish List); I think their Christmas shows begin far too early in the season; I like to give a wee bit of time.

  4. I agree with you. I try not to be an old foggie but very few tv shows appeal to me now. If we didn’t have PBS & HGTV I would have very little to watch.

  5. I’m in total agreement with you, Sunny. The one show that was the biggest disappointment to me was Criminal Minds. The actors and actresses very good and often the storyline was a real hook. I’ve enjoyed a numbered of the shows, but then my husband and I started turning them off when the crimes became gorier and gorier. It’s like someone behind the scene was trying to dream up the most horrible crimes imaginable.

    • Linda, YES, CRIMINAL Minds was my penultimate favorite for years, especially when Potankin was lead, but I could not get enough until one show about PIGS and a deranged psychotic who was disabled, etc.. then the crimes became horrifying— the background of nightmares.

      • Yes, Skyecaitlin, they had people killed and their eyes torn out or people’s faces removed and placed out in public. A very good show with outstanding actors and actresses, but they let unthinkable horror dominate it to the point, we couldn’t concentrate on anything else.

  6. I feel for kids that don’t have those programs too. They were a lot of fun. Thanks for introducing us to Sunny Frazier. Her Christy Bristol Astrology Mystery, A Snitch in Time, looks very interesting.
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal – Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

  7. I agree wholeheartedly. It’s ok to have an edge to a story, but when the whole darn show is knives, it gets too depressing. I’d rather have lots of humor with some good intrique then this gory pyscho drama that passes for TV these days. I know that Breaking Bad won awards but the whole idea just turned me off.

  8. I didn’t watch it, but I do LOVE Mysteries with Laura and Elementary and for a period of time, I adored How to get away with Murder, but now…..??? I prefer cute shows like Cedar Cove and a good mystery w/o graphics ( sexual or gory).

  9. I’m a little late chiming in–with a little different take. I didn’t watch TV ay all until I was in my 30s. Then it was mostly mini-series. Then The Sopranos and The Wire. But in the last few years I’ve found some TV I really like. I don’t mind if it’s dark as long as it has depth.Example–Public Morals is fascinating, and although true Detective is up and down I think it’s interesting. I’m with you on Wicked City. And Quantico. And The Bridge. These shows are dark for dark’s sake and sometimes the story lines are preposterous.

      • Didn’t that just start? I have to be honest, I still adore How to Get Away with Murder; it is SO complex and so unusual; the only problem I have is that it’s difficult to hear certain comments said???

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