Home of the Muppet Imperial Moderator Corps

What ever happened to family television?

And I don´t mean "7th Heaven" or any of that cruft. I mean like, "The Muppet Show". Seriously. That show was a work of genius. Crafted so that entire families could sit down on a Saturday night and enjoy it together. They had a celebrity guest to appeal to the older folks who probably got a kick out of seeing a favored actor/comedian interacting with a bunch of silly puppets. They had colorful and funny characters to appeal to the kids. They had humor for the adults that went right over the kids´ heads, and absolute silliness that made us kids laugh like idiots. Everybody thought it was great.

What´s on in prime time now? People biting the heads off of cockroaches and spitting them into blenders.

WHAT. THE. FUCK.

This is the good ol´ USA. Nevermind politics, look at our sad, sorry culture.
Permalink muppet 
March 15th, 2005
The Muppets would have been fine if you'd kept it to yourselves but we had to suffer it every bleeding Sunday evening for god knows home many years. Almost as bad as when we had the God Slot on Sunday.

I did wonder if they just used the same scripts after first twelve shows.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 15th, 2005
This confirms that all English are out of their God-damned minds.
Permalink muppet 
March 15th, 2005
And I'm not talking about that second attempt at the Muppet Show, with that weird dreadlocked MC guy and crap.. that was horrible; a bastardization of all my childhood memories.
Permalink muppet 
March 15th, 2005
Oh, I don't even remember that, that might have been during the 80's when I had much better things to do.

Given that Dr Who is coming back I await with anticipation the keening of american viewers watching it on BBC America about why can't they do that.

Well perhaps not.

(for Eric Dubois, keening is a kind of mournful cry)
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 15th, 2005
"I did wonder if they just used the same scripts after first twelve shows."

As oppposed to Benny Hill, which used one script that consisted of:

1.) T.
2.) A.
3.) Slap the bald guy on the head.
4.) Repeat.

And this ran on "elitist" public television???
Permalink cubiclegrrl 
March 15th, 2005
No, it ran on ITV and yes Benny Hill was vile and only existed because Lou Grade sold it to silly Americans.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 15th, 2005
And for those who aren't aware, ITV was blue collar "never underestimate the taste of the viewing public" commercial television. Given that it screened Blind Date with Cilla Black, maybe it still is.
Permalink Ian Boys 
March 15th, 2005
I don't know about The Muppet Show, but what's on US TV these days is sickening.. If I happen to watch anything for 15 mins, I can feel my IQ level plummeting!  :)
Permalink dilbert 
March 15th, 2005
Simon: Do you have knowledge or news of Dr Who on BBC America? Last time I checked there was conspicuous silence on the subject.
Permalink Ian Boys 
March 15th, 2005
The "remake" was actually a product of the early or mid 90's, and it was VERY apparent.
Permalink muppet 
March 15th, 2005
I know its scheduled to be released but I don't know what the schedule is. I'll attempt to find out.

It looks like it will be all over the net anyhow. Not that I've seen the first unfinished preview version that escaped.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 15th, 2005
Dr. Who isn't exactly something you can watch with your six year old. Quit hijacking my thread you limeys.
Permalink muppet 
March 15th, 2005
Well CBC has a schedule for it, April 5th, http://www.cbc.ca/programguide/schedule/dailySchedule.jsp?network=CBC%20Television&startDate=2005/4/5 which unless you're close enough is probably worse than nothing. I may hear more tomorrow from an email I've winged into the dark, publically it looks like no one is admitting to picking it up.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 15th, 2005
I think Dr Who started in about 1962, when I was 6. My mother didn't want me to watch it and it was only when she discovered me going off to other people's houses to watch it that she relented.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 15th, 2005
Bork! Bork! Bork!
Permalink Swedish Chef 
March 15th, 2005
Oh, CBC has Coronation Street! How odd.

But unfortunately for my Dr Who watching, CBC is not available in the US even with all those cable channels, so I guess I am SOL for the time being.
Permalink Ian Boys 
March 15th, 2005
I guess family television was forced out by relentness crudeness. I'd think someone who only asks questions in "WHAT THE F***!?" form would understand better than most how that happened.

But incidentally, you can get episodes of The Muppet Show from Netflix. We've watched a few.
Permalink Kyralessa 
March 15th, 2005
Kyra -

Kindly stuff your pompous, smirking, superior attitude up your crusty European ass.

Love,
Muppet
Permalink muppet 
March 15th, 2005
I was a toddler in the early 70's, and grew up in the US watching programs like "HR Puffinstuff", "Lidsville", "The Monkees" and "The Banana Splits." You'd be hard pressed to find programming more deranged than that...
Permalink Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea 
March 15th, 2005
> "HR Puffinstuff", "Lidsville", ...

Dude ...

> What´s on in prime time now?

How about PBS? And try other timeslots, e.g. use a VCR or equivalent to catch morning shows.
Permalink Christopher Wells 
March 15th, 2005
Yes, because we all know "Judge Judy" really should be on in Prime Time.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 15th, 2005
Luckily for the rest of humanity, I don't have kids, but I have noticed that most of my friends who *do* have kids have been turning to DVD for "quality TV watching". (I thought I saw a post on some blog somewhere a while back claiming that the original Muppet Show was going to be available on DVD at some point.) The downside, of course, is that DVDs are not free (although public libraries are starting to stock more and more of em), and though the "DVD revolution" has helped expand availability, there is still a limited number of titles out there and also a limit to how many times you really want to watch the same stuff over and over again. (Although some kids seem to love doing that.)

Personally, I'm going on my third year without owning a TV at all and I really don't miss it. I won't go so far as to claim that there is nothing worth watching on TV, but I honestly have no problem getting my fill by occasionally catching up on the few shows that I do like at a friend's house or looking online for a bit torrent. As it is, I *still* don't accomplish half of what I want to accomplish in a given day. The amount of TV that some people watch is just mind-blowing.
Permalink bionicroach 
March 15th, 2005
I have quite a number of Muppet Show episodes on DVD, but they weren't all released (not in the US at least). The US got shafted, too, because our DVDs have 3 episodes each while region 2 DVDs had 6.
Permalink muppet 
March 15th, 2005
And we wonder why little girls under 10 want to look just like Brittany Spears.
Permalink hourAndAHalf 
March 15th, 2005
"Personally, I'm going on my third year without owning a TV at all and I really don't miss it."

Amen to that, bionicroach! We've been without cable since at least 2001. (Although I will confess to taping darned near all five seasons of B5 back when TNT ran the whole series several years back...)
Permalink cubiclegrrl 
March 15th, 2005
I agree that there is nothing suitable for viewing by those 2-14 in the old family hour slot of 7-10. Instead, at 7pm on Saturdays we now see that there are CSI reruns showing decapitated bodies and doing microscope blow ups in 3D of semen samples.

Good family entertainment has never been a given, but I seem to recall that there used to be the Muppets, the Sunday Disney Movie, Little House on the Prairie, and a few others that you woludn't be embarrased to watch with Nana.
Permalink Rich Rogers 
March 15th, 2005
Cable is what happened. It's why Saturday Mornings are crap too, and when the only programming on in early/mid afternoons is COPS.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 15th, 2005
So what's the connection? Are you saying that there is such non-family stuff on cable that the broadcast people needed to compete? I'm not following that.
Permalink Rich Rogers 
March 16th, 2005
No, I mean with "The Cartoon Channel" and "Nickelodeon" and the dozens of other specialized channels, the networks are - either free to or forced to show different programming. We're now in a highly specialized, niche filled world. If Nickelodeon has family programming, the networks can concentrate on something more sensational.

We're in a world where Stargate can start on a network, get dropped because of low ratings, but picked up by a cable channel because the ratings are good enough, and they can provide support material to create a special night that will draw more viewers. Combine that with low ratings for Enterprise and POOF, all Sci Fi programming is off network TV.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 16th, 2005
Ok, so you are saying that people who want family safe viewing just watch Nikleodeon and that leaves the big networks free to do the more depraved and sensationalistic stuff that appeals to the widest (ie: dumbest) variety of viewers.
Permalink Rich Rogers 
March 16th, 2005
I had the exact same comment months ago. "The standards for TV are non existent". Here is my solution, allow BritishTV(European TV), I don't know anything about the quality, I heard that Office show is pretty good? Couples was ok.
Permalink Berlin Brown 
March 16th, 2005
I'd be just as against British TV swamping American networks as I am the other way round.

The creation of the ghettos we have in broadcasting aren't avoided by a strong public service broadcaster, the BBC hasn't stopped the same process in Britain.although its two terrestrial channels are still more broadly based along with Channel 4 which is that oddity a public service commercial broadcaster.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 16th, 2005
But I didn't actually find much to watch on cable and satellite channels in Britain compared to the terrestrial channels. Apart from Sky 1, I still found most of my viewing on BBC 1, BBC 2 and Channel 4. I probably watched ITV about once in a month. Maybe football and other sports have been stolen from the BBC and ITV more than is good, but otherwise I don't see much to pull people away.

In the USA, the cable channels can be more edgy than the network channels so HBO can gain an advantage with things like Sex in the City. But in the UK, the terrestrial channels can broadcast pretty much anything they want, so there is no equivalent "cable advantage" there.

[Apropos of that: Please, please, please don't let those misguided people succeed in challenging the BBC over broadcasting the Jerry Springer opera.]
Permalink Ian Boys 
March 16th, 2005
Ah, but since the BBC rescued terrestrial digital broadcasting with Freeview we now have BBC 3 and BBC 4. BBC 4 broadcasts what used to be prime BBC 2 material and BBC 3 is aimed at that young adult market that's supposed to make me feel very old when I watch it, so I'm pushed away, though I do go watch Two Pints of LAger and a Packet of Crisps.

There's all the regular splinter channels you'd expect along with the shopping channels, SKY just has its news and sports news channels nothing remotely interesting from them even in the paid for area.

Yes, now Freeview has pay channels like the adult channel and E4, (E4 is the only one I'd want). So the ghettoisation is happening and it isn't helping BBC 1 from falling down the abyss left by ITV 1 as its gone even further down market.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 16th, 2005
I think they reorganised the programming on BBC 3 and BBC 4 didn't they? BBC 4 used to have lots of music and arty stuff on it. Also, everything on E4 eventually reached C4 about six months later, so by paying for E4 you were just paying to see things before everyone else. I don't know if that's changed now?
Permalink Ian Boys 
March 16th, 2005
BBC 3 and 4 are both still targetted the same way, though interestingly for the Supervolcano thing over the weekend it was BBC 1 that had the drama and BBC 2 that had the scientific documentary on about the same thing immediately afterwards. Just as in the old days.

There's a lot of changes going on at the top levels of management of the BBC at the moment, I think there are going to be an awful lot of changes in channel management, even though they've been guaranteed the Charter renewal.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 16th, 2005
Also yes, I meant to say, E4 still is their prime get it hot channel, so really its if you want to watch ER in the same timescale as the US, more or less.

Oh, and all those yawning hours of Big Brother.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 16th, 2005
mmm..well with comedy things that would appear in the old BBC2 9 o'clock slot often turn up on BBC3 - if they work there they go to BBC2 and then *maybe* BBC1. It does mean that they can try things that on paper would be a bit risky - "Nighty Night" for example.
Permalink a cynic writes... 
March 16th, 2005
> ITV was blue collar "never underestimate the taste of the viewing public" commercial television

Wasn't The Muppets shown on ITV?
Permalink  
March 16th, 2005
Indeed...
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 16th, 2005
"I mean like, 'The Muppet Show'. Seriously. That show was a work of genius."

Whackjob.
Permalink  
March 16th, 2005
This particular anonymous dude seems to think that copy-pasting my replies from other threads is going to make me suddenly see the light, or something. Good luck in your crusade, unimaginative anonymous dude.
Permalink muppet 
March 16th, 2005
"Wasn't The Muppets shown on ITV?"

Yes, but there can be gems amid the dross.
Permalink Ian Boys 
March 16th, 2005
I wouldn't mind burying The Muppets for a few million years and subjecting them to enormous heat and pressure until they turn into diamonds, but I don't think that's what you meant.
Permalink  
March 17th, 2005
My first response to "What ever happened to family television?" is, television.

Families are about doing things together, interacting with one another. Television is about sitting there in a mindless stupor, absorbing whatever some idiot tv studio executive thinks is good stuff. After watching a few hours a day of programming aimed at the lowest common denominator of humanity, you'll begin to think that's normal, and behave that way.

This explains much of modern day North America to my complete satisfaction.
Permalink Calgarian 
March 17th, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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