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TELEVISION – PAYING MORE, GETTING LESS

BRYCE ON ENTERTAINMENT

– With the advent of cable, television hasn’t gotten any better.

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There used to be a time when I relished coming home after work and watch some television after dinner. It was a good way to relax and unwind. Thursday nights used to be “must see” TV featuring comedy. News magazines like “60 Minutes” and “20/20” were also meaningful. Personally, I was a sucker for “Law & Order”
and watched it for years. We would end the day by falling asleep to the late night talk shows. Unfortunately, all of this has changed.

As much as I would like to watch television, I cannot seem to find anything worthwhile anymore. The few remaining comedy shows cannot seem to get a laugh unless there is a reference to genitalia or some other taboo subject. I am certainly not a prude, but I tune in to laugh, not to listen to vulgarity. For drama, there are a host of police stories featuring a comic book array of guns, violence and drugs. There is also the occasional game show, but the lions share of entertainment appears to be reality shows, where we watch toothless rednecks surviving in Alaska, a variety of talent shows, bridal planning, home remodeling, and other topics related to obesity, survival, cooking, infidelity, hoarding, and other vices. Interestingly, there are few reality shows promoting patriotic themes, such as the military and veterans, charities, law enforcement, fire fighters and first responders, all representing the true heroes of today who should be emulated.

There are also many Hollywood adulation shows where awards are presented to the entertainment industry. These have less to do with entertainment and more to do with spouting incoherent political commentaries, which I find to be a real turnoff.

Inevitably, I now live in a world of re-runs and news. A big night for me lately is watching old re-runs of “The Munsters,” “Andy Griffith,” “Taxi,” “Newhart,” and if I’m really lucky, “The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.”

I have the same problem finding anything worthwhile to watch on Netflix, Amazon, and the other streaming channels, where a variety of movies are available, but none of which I find stimulating. Most feature comic-book stories with weak scripts. Rarely do any of these services show a movie produced before 1980, leaving me to assume movies were not around back then.

As to news, I have been a junkie for many years, but there is simply too much Fake News being reported today to be credible. No wonder they have lost the public trust. Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Walter Cronkite and Howard K. Smith would all be spinning in their graves if they knew what was going on.

Most appalling of all is having to pay a hefty monthly fee for the many channels I do not watch. Back in the 1960’s, during the “Golden Age of TV,” there were only three channels (ABC, CBS, NBC) and possibly a UHF channel for PBS or an independent station. With such a limited number of stations available, only the crème de la crème made it to the screen. This is when you would find yourself saying, “Hey, it’s Monday night, Laugh-In is on; hurry up, let’s clean the kitchen so we won’t miss anything.” Each night had its own unique set of programs we watched regularly. For example, Sunday nights were dedicated to Ed Sullivan, Lassie, Walt Disney, and Bonanza. And movies were shown throughout the week.

Interestingly, none of this cost us a dime. I find it rather ironic, whereas we once watched good programming at no cost, we are now being charged exorbitant rates to watch a giant pile of trash, and we are still inundated with commercials to boot. For those who may have forgotten, the original idea of cable was to eliminate those annoying ads on television. Interestingly, you’ll notice they are still with us.

Thank God for the Digital Video Recorder (DVR). I actively use it to record the shows and movies I want to watch which are normally played late at night. One of the main reasons I use it is the fast forward button allowing me to speed past those pesky commercials. This is particularly useful when watching sports.

Oh well, I guess it’s back to watching Herman Munster, Andy Griffith, Bob Newhart, Johnny Carson and “Law & Order” for me. What was good then, is still better than what is on today.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2018 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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Tim is a writer and management consultant located in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

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