Thursday, May 06, 2004

Botoxed Boob Tube
You never really see old people on the TV anymore. At least not in the sense where they are acting like familiar and real people. There's no Angela Landsbury, or Matlock, or Golden Girls (though that show was a bit creepy at times when the subject of retirees and their sex drives was explored). There's no wise old Wilford Brimley giving sage advice to the young Shannon Dougherty. No, the only times you see old people now are in commercials where they are either falling off their chairs, whining about their health insurance in campaign ads, or losing control of their bladders. Then there are the endless riffs off of the Cocoon theme, where commercials show Gramps getting that old time urge and chasing after Grandma, one clunky step after clunky step of his walker one at a time. I can't help but think of that line from a Porno for Pyros song, "..and elderlies act like children...", that is how our TV depicts them that's for sure.

Maybe that's why Everybody Loves Raymond is popular. Old people are watching that show because it's one of the few that actually has old people as characters. Where else are they on TV? Maybe all camped out on 60 Minutes perhaps? Does Larry King serve as the token for all the networks? Keep representin' Larry!!!

With so many channels on TV to choose from, I am greatly amazed at the narrowness of the programming. Nearly every station is geared towards the young. Young hipsters getting a makeover, or redoing their home, or cooking up a fantastic meal, or arguing drunk over stupid sh*t in their IKEA decked house. Young people diving headfirst into a bowl of pig intestines, or competing against each other singing sugar coated pop songs in overdone R&B style. What's Grandma gonna watch that's not rife with quick cut images or rattling her brain with the Fred Durst dirge?

Thinking about it, it will be quite interesting to hit that moment in life when the mass media culture is no longer directed at me or my age. How does America look, and how do you look at America when American TV ignores you? I bet that view is very interesting. No wonder the old buy RVs...


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