Sunday, July 23, 2017

Stop making such good TV already!

When I was growing up, there were only three TV networks and, to paraphrase the Bible, it was good. It took two or three years for a hit movie to arrive for viewing on TV, and even then it was constantly interrupted by ads, and it was good. 

As consumers, we knew our place. They gave us "The Love Boat" and we ate it up, just as a dog which has never known steak thinks hamburger is scrumptious. I would not put "The Love Boat" up there with hamburger, but you get my meaning.

Now there are also Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, streaming-providers of shows which have decided to become creators of shows, and if anyone from those companies is reading this, please pass this message on up the chain: STOP CREATING STUFF! 

Do you think I am made of time? Do you get some sadistic thrill from coming up with terrific, funny, heartbreaking shows I will never get around to seeing, because for every one I manage to watch, you pump out 20 more? 

I am calling for a moratorium on awesome, on gripping and on ground-breaking. If your show pushes boundaries or melds genres in never-before-seen ways, with writing which manages to be moving and funny at the same time, you can bite me. 

I only have time to reinvigorate my humanity maybe five hours a week. You know those hack shows some networks only put out in the summer? "Battle of the Network Stars," "The Gong Show," "Candy Crush"? Those networks possess something I never thought I'd see from a soulless corporation: mercy.

I implore you, content creators, in all humility, to spend the next, oh, five years, only green-lighting shows which suck. Give me a chance to catch up. I know camera operators and set dressers and writers need work, so I am not saying close up shop. Just produce things which make "Fantasy Island" look like "Gone With the Wind." 

Let inane be your watchword. There is an audience for inane. Here’s an idea: standup comedy shark-jumping. You can have that. Use it.

If Instagram becomes a movie studio too, I cannot be held responsible for my actions. I might have to become a TV critic just to make a dent in the backlog, something I promised my parents they would never have to see me do. 

Please, oh great and powerful NetAmaHulu, have a heart. 

. . .


© 2017 The New Yorker

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