So, I’m watching the roundtable on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos and instead of being able to concentrate on the talking heads, I’m distracted.
Because at the bottom of the screen, ABC is running non-stop Tweets from viewers. It was remarkably annoying and a real impediment to enjoying the show. Look ABC producers – if I wanted Twitter, I’d be online, not viewing your damn show. Please stop treating us like we are all six years-olds with untreated ADHD.
It would be one thing if the show were on Music Television (MTV) – but the people who watch Sunday morning political talk shows usually have a large enough attention span where they don’t have to have multimedia hurled in their faces to stop them from fleeing to another channel.
Note to news producers: Stop the live Twitter feeds and Facebook updates. It doesn’t make you seem cool, just out of touch with the demographic that is actually watching your shows.
Speaking of MTV, can a network still call itself MTV if it stopped running music videos more than a decade ago in favor of reality TV shows? I suppose it’s similar to the National Basketball Association’s Jazz franchise keeping its name when it moved from New Orleans to Salt Lake City – a town definitely not known for jazz.
While we are on the topic of hoops, what is up with producers switching to behind the basket angles when players steal the ball and go for fast break slam dunks? When they change the angle, any chance of witnessing athleticism is obliterated because all you see is a player flying at you. Instead of watching from the expensive center court seats, the producer and floor directors inexplicably whisk you to the cheap seats behind the hoop. Have the producers ever stopped to ask themselves why television viewers would want the crappiest seats for the most exciting plays?
Another annoying habit of broadcast networks is to constantly have “breaking” news crawlers slithering across the bottom of the television screen. Instead of real news, however, a stream of gossip and glamour overloads our senses. Unless my life is in danger or there is a story of genuine national or international interest, it isn’t breaking news, but superfluous nonsense breaking my concentration on the newscast I’m trying to watch.
The most stunning media monstrosity of the modern age, however, is the television show 1 Girl, Five Gays, on the Logo TV Network. Once upon a time, we had “bimbos” and “himbos” to describe ditzy straight people. Thanks to Logo’s late night weekend show we now have a new category for flighty gay men: “Gimbos.”
Logo’s 1 Girl, Five Gays is by far the most vapid use of the airwaves since the invention of the tube. For the past couple of decades, LGBT people have generally been portrayed by Hollywood as smart and witty, which definitely beats the psychotic roles of the 1970’s and early 1980’s. But as we get closer to full legal equality, it has apparently given producers the green light to show that many gay people are as vacuous as everyone else. I suppose that such embarrassment and humiliation is a form of progress. But it is still painful to watch, 1 Girl, Five Gays is a reality show where a dumb girl helps even dumber gay guys hook up or find love. Here is a sample of the show’s topics:
• The guys discuss crying to music, giving to charities, and walking in on their parents
• The guys discuss blacking out and whether or not the Kardashian sisters are good role models
• The guys discuss body hair, hooking up through Grindr, dating fat people and what can be found under their beds
• The guys discuss if they have ever been homophobic and their most unattractive traits and when cheating is okay
Here’s a wild guess, but maybe these Gimbos wouldn’t have so much trouble finding a boyfriend if they weren’t obsessed with the Kardashian sisters and body hair. Is showing unlovable degenerates trying to get laid while talking about insipid topics the best that the world’s largest gay cable channel can do? How about using the late night timeslot to showcase single gay men who can actually spell IQ?
Whether it is older TV executives failing to make a product cool through grating Twitter feeds and worthless news crawlers, directors habitually ruining basketball games by inexplicably filming the best highlights from the worst seats, ruining a brand as in the case of MTV, or a gay network peddling Gimbos at ungodly hours, it simply amazes me how out of touch some of televisions alleged “experts” truly are.
Wayne Besen is a columnist and author of the book “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.”