Week One: The beginning of the love affair

26 Jul

For many people, watching television is simply a time to sit down and re-wind. For others, it is a passionate hobby that absorbs many hours of the day and night. Many  academics, and even my father, will question the necessity of studying television at a higher education level. My answer in return will pose the question, “How many hours per week do you spend watching television?”

My grand assumption would be that on average many people spend over 20 hours a week watching their television sets. That’s approximately 1,000 hours of solid television watching per year. Surely, that’s worth studying.

People from all over the world love TV. Why?

That’s what I’m here for, studying Television Cultures, to find the answer.

In our first week we watched a screening titled, Hollywood: The Rise of TV. Overall, it got me thinking why are people crazy for TV? Could the idiot-box phenomenon be more popular than a 3-hour Hollywood blockbuster movie?

A great TV show is like a reliable and well-humoured friend. They are there every night for you, at the same time, same place and guaranteed to make you laugh.

A movie on the other hand, is like the handsome guy you met at a bar. He entertains you wildly for a couple of hours and then either leaves you with dissatisfaction or leaves you wanting more that you can’t have. Either way, he leaves you and there is no certainty that you will ever meet again.

Pretty dull, right?

The other thing that makes television series win is they have the power to choose when to leave.

After 10 seasons of America’s overly successful sitcom, Friends, they decided their time was up. Fans worldwide were devastated with the news. Yet, they left on a high-note, with praise across all media headlines that finale week.

If Friends had decided to keep making seasons, could they very well have become that annoying friend who lingers like the smell of gorgonzola cheese?

In January last year, journalist Graeme Blundell, wrote an opinion piece for The Australian titled The Past is another Country. Blundell, speaks of the transgression in to the Digital Age and the effect high definition had on the publics’ relationship with television programs.

Undoubtedly, the technological advances to the production phase of our beloved television programs created a high level of realism on the screen.

I agree with Blundell when he says it didn’t matter if you missed an episode, “The experience was like reading a great novel about the human condition that became more intimate and compelling with every page, even if occasional chapters were missing.”

Our television screens were evolving in to a powerful tool that today dominates our lives.

However, the new age discovered an entirely unique form of entertainment – reality tv. Starting off as hugely successful and popular, Reality TV hits like Big Brother, dawned the beginning of what is now highly regarded as trashy TV.

On our television screens today we watch numerous shows which are literally making us dumber. Being Lara Bingle and The Shire are just two examples of reality TV taken too far. Who watches and actually enjoys this crap? Perverts who enjoy women in skimpy bikinis with great tits?

Sophie and Vernesa from The Shire.

How much longer can reality tv be a success? Unfortunately, I fear that I am one in a minority who honestly does not enjoy this form of television.

What do you think?

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