Sunday, March 17, 2013

THE POLITICS OF TV WATCHING! or THE IDIOTS I DEAL WITH! A rant on the delusion of America



(Frustrated Sigh)

A lot of you may know, that I am a member of many film and TV discussion/debate groups on FB. I go there to hear what they're talking about, occasionally I jump into a conversation if I think I have something to say, and I also post my latest blogposts there as FB links. Many of the participants in my "TEN GREATEST TV SHOWS OF ALL-TIME!" poll, participated after seeing my blogposts in these groups. Usually I'm up for spirited conversation and even debate, but recently, a few of the people on these groups have made me lose my cool. You see, a couple of these sites are apart of a group of sites until the title "Annette's Debates". Now, Annette, runs a bunch of different debate sites, most of which are political in nature, but I've only applied for, and am a member of "AD's You're the Critic", which is a Movie debate site, and "AD's TV Critic", a Television critic site. Now, normally, everything's fun. Favorite screen couple, or some other fun topics. I often like to go on, and get in on a game of "Movie Lines", where we're given a line of dialogue and we have to figure out what movie it's from. One of my favorites to challenge people on is "I'll bop 'em on the head, you do the skinnin'." they never figure out what that's from, and yet, when they hear the answer, they all can't believe they couldn't figure it out. Anyway, a few of the people who insist on talking politics in the entertainment sites, have been getting on mine and everyone's nerves. When one person kept insisting on it, I called him out on it, and insisted he keep the conversation to the subject at hand, or I'd message Annette (Who I am FB friends with) and petition to have him banned, and after he posted on one of my posts about the Oscars, how the Oscars sucked because they had the First Lady, Streisand and "Hanoi Jane," (His words) I made true on my promise, and petitioned Annette. [40+ years ago, she was right to do it then, and people are still acting crazy about it... UGH!] Now, I don't know whether my petition had any effect, last I checked in fact, he's still a member of the group, but to that person's credit, he hasn't said anything like that since in that group.

However, this time, another member of the group, really got under my skin because of his unbelievable stupidity, and I, correctly exploded on him, after this person made this comment on the FB post of my recent "GOOD ON TV?" post on CBS, this after having written numerous pieces recently, on the demise of NBC and they're ratings. Here's what he wrote:

NBC is nothing but socialist BS. They have for years been tying in their entertainment programming to their central message. The Today show has gone from great to crap, the news is nothing but propaganda, hell they even try to make political commentary during sports events. NBC stands for Nothing But Crap

Well, I wasn't gonna let that go. This level up stupidity and ignorance, political or otherwise, I cannot let go, unanswered. So here's what I wrote back (I've only deleted the person's name)

{DELETED], Are you fucking kidding me? First of all, if we're talking political commentary during sporting events FOX takes that honor, by a mile. They have been bragging about the troops overseas, and showing most of the time, unnecessarily, the National Anthem at the beginning of all sporting events, just to show how damn patriotic they are. They're the ones with the politically corrupted sporting events, 'cause that's every major sport they do that for, every game. Bob Costas says one opinion, that was a quote from someone else, that was completely relevant to what was happening in the NFL and the sporting world in general, and I'll say it, he was prophetic, and you're calling them propaganda. I'm calling bullshit on that claim. Second, "The Today Show" was never fucking good. None of the morning shows are, none of them ever were. They're two hours of people trying to kill time, and "Today" is four hours now, including the Hoda and Kathie Lee hour, which is just more wasting time, and basically is nothing but material for SNL, but even in the beginnings of the show, it's still two hours of repeating the same news stories, and trying to come up with two hours of live air, trying not to have a blooper, is really what it is. Even at their best, if there's not a major story happening, they still have to kill an hour, and it's always been painful, whether it was Jane Pauley, Katie Couric, Barbara Walters, or whomever was on the show. P.S. Considering the other Nightly News's I think NBC's Brian Williams has been quite good consistent. MSNBC, you have a point, but I'm differentiating them, 'cause they're two different networks. "Dateline" sucks, I'll give you that. As to a "Central message" are you fucking kidding me!? What is the Socialist message of "The Celebrity Apprentice". Tell me that, right now! You say all the programming, okay, let's go through it....

Before I continue, after coming up with the first couple shows, I went to NBC.com and clicked on "Shows" to see the entire list of TV shows on NBC, anyway, back to the post, which is still continuing.

"The Biggest Loser"
"Law & Order: SVU"
"Whitney"
"The Office"

"30 Rock"
"Parks and Recreation"
"The Voice"
"Days of Our Lives"

"America Ninja Warrior"
"Smash"
"Miss Universe Pageants"

"Grimm"
"The Tonight Show"
"Last Call with Carson Daly"

"Chicago Fire"
"The Golden Globes"
"Parenthood"...

Find the rest on NBC.com and click on "shows". I used to be a political science major, I've worked on multiple political campaigns and for some political organizations. I'm about as politically astute a person I know who wasn't a professor or mine. If you can look at all these shows, and actually make any claim that their programming is nothing but a tool for leaning the public towards any political opinion, with these shows? You're fucking delusional! First of all, if they are doing it, it isn't working 'cause they're in fifth place, so if failed, B. They've had dozens of network presidents over the years, even recently, so they all can't be programming the channel towards that, and C. They're not making money doing it, which they need to stay in business, so what good is a political message when no one's there to watch it? A network's job, whether it be NBC, FoxNews, or Bravo, or the Discovery Channel's job, is to make money. That's even PBS's job, that's why they have the damn pledge weeks. You wanna say it's crap, go ahead, but it isn't political. Some of it, is just crap. Get a clue before you speak again.


In case some of you are wondering, the only regret I have so far, is grammatical errors. God, I hate those. I wish I was a little more clear on my points. Anyway, you would still think that after bitchslapping this person to kingdom-come, he'd go away, but believe it or not, he immediately responded. Unfortunately, someone (Not me) has deleted his response (And subsequently I realize his previous "Nothing But Crap" statement) so, I'll have to paraphrase here, but this person, claimed that he indeed had a clue. Mentioned, as for his side of the debate, that Keith Olbermann does the NFL halftime and pre-game show, and that Alec Baldwin, made a reference to his Hanging Henry Hyde comment on Letterman,  (Which was incorrect, he said that in other countries they'd "Stone" Henry Hyde, not hang him.) claimed that my remarks regarding FOX and CBS's sportscasts were incorrect, without any evidence. (I didn't say anything about CBS, and frankly I have nothing to say to CBS's sports broadcasts, I haven't noticed anything political in them either.) He also claimed that before the Reagan '80s, NBC was fine, by his standards and was never political. Which, is probably back when NBC's only Top 20 show was "The A-Team", and it was pre-Cosby, "Cheers" and all the dozens of great shows that NBC has had since, but anyway, he also said that the left has been "batshit crazy" since the '80s.

This is how I responded to that claim:

Keith Olbermann doing a sportcast, (Who btw, is an experience sportcaster) is not a Political stance! the same reason that Rush Limbaugh on ESPN's NFL Pregame Show, isn't a political decision (Until he made it one, by being, well, himself) If i had him, or any other experienced good sportscaster on my payroll, I'd let them do the sports. He happens to do another show on their channel that is political, and is labeled, political, doesn't mean that he can't be multi-talented, and be good at multiple jobs, and be an expert on both things? Just a person's presence, is not a political. Same with Alec Baldwin, one of  the best actors alive. So he's politically active on the left? They've had two people on their network in the past ten years with regular shows, who've almost won the GOP Presidential nomination! (Remember, Fred Thompson was on "Law & Order") GE, or Universal, or Comcast, aren't political groups, they've in the business of making money. That's all they're trying to do, and they do it with politics everywhere. just because you hear one halfway-political comment during a sporting event, doesn't mean they're political. Costas, maybe he's political; it's the most political position I've ever heard from him, I'll give you that.

Oh, as to the left going batshit crazy? Since, Reagan?? You mean, when a whole population of our country was dropping dead from AIDS, and we were funding Apartheid in South Africa, and places like Pittsburgh were edging towards 20% unemployment! We weren't batshit anything, we were just ignored! The same way you're just using specific little things to justify a false opinion.. So you never hear a political opinion on a FOX sporting event! (CBS I don't believe I've heard one myself, that wasn't just them copying FOX, I'll agree with you there) Well, boo-hoo. So, what a sporting event, must deal with sports, 'cause anything else is too complicated or controversial. Grow up.

And btw I don't know about hanging Henry Hyde, but he was a hypocritical prick. Certainly not the worst opinion I've ever heard an actor have. Not even the worse I've heard on letterman.

Okay, this one wasn't as well-thought out or structured, and damn, those grammatical errors-, man I really need to spring for an editor once I start making money off of this thing. I meant to write "...they don't do it with politics..." and not "...they do it with politics everywhere." For instance. Again, when you're writing quickly, it can be tricky to organize your thoughts. That's what I do here.

Let's start again with, this person's a fucking delusional idiot, who shouldn't be talking. He knows nothing about politics apparently, or Hollywood, or in this case New York, where NBC headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Center is, and he also, more importantly, doesn't know how a network TV channel is programmed, which, something I went into deep care to explain in my "Good on TV?" blog about CBS. None of that matters to this person of course, because he just wants to waste everybody's time, (Especially my time, apparently, as I'm writing this blog) because he just wants to protest some half-ass delusional political opinion, he has, and that's what really pisses me off. Doesn't matter what my political opinions are, the reason I got out of political science, was because I was tired of having these same fights with people who were never gonna change their mind, even when, members of the opposing party who I would discuss and debate these issues with, they would just blatantly tell me that I'm correct and then do what they know to be wrong anyway. If I'm gonna have that argument, I'd rather it be arguing why "Lord of the Rings" sucks to a LOTR fan, at least none of these arguments, are the difference between whether somebody has a job or medical insurance or food to survive on that particularly week. However, I don't just spew BS either, and I made damn sure to know as much as I could about film and television, and if there's something I don't know, I continue to learn, and one of the first things I learned is that, film and television, above all is a business. To not understand that, is to not understand the first thing about film or television.

For starters, let's go through his original claim, that NBC is socialist BS, and that every show on NBC, is programmed towards a point of view. Let's just brush over how wrong that even is, like discussing how "The Apprentice" is maybe the single greatest expression of philosophical capitalism ever, but let's just start with the basics. How do you get a TV show, on a network? The simplest of beginnings. There's a lot of pilot scripts out there, and unless you have an agent, or are a really big name to begin with, the networks won't take your call. First thing one would have to do is get on the writing staff of an existing show, just to get credits, to do that, you need a pilot script and a spec script of a currently running show, preferably one you'd like to work on. (Oh yeah, folks, I've got my old "Family Guy" spec somewhere. And my old "The Office" spec, and my old, "Entourage" spec, and now I'm working on my "Parks and Recreation" and "Girls" specs.) So, presume you have all that, you ain't the only ones in town, however, good news for you, NBC isn't the only network in town, so you shop to every network that does your kind of shows, whether it be, drama, sitcom, reality, whatever. (Yes reality shows start with an idea and a drawn out concept, so essentially, a pilot sketch) Okay, so, let's go through the networks, 'cause we don't just have CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX, anymore, now there's TNT, TV Land, TBS, A&E, AMC, HBO, Showtime, Lifetime, etc. So, you have to sell that script to one of these networks. Now, two things that a Network executive can do. Either reject it, or have you film the pilot, and see if it's promising. Now if the network is the only one interested, you better hope that pilot sells. If not, you're screwed. Now, if there's multiple networks interested, then it gets interesting. So, who do you pitch to first? Who gets first chance at your script? Well, depending on the kind it is, you'd probably go to CBS, because they're number one in the ratings, therefore, you'd get paid more, and they have more money to spend. NBC right now, if they get pitched a script, they're probably the 4th, maybe the 7th network that the script has been sent to, because their shows are getting zero ratings. This is why they've held onto to the few stars they have, like when they resigned Tina Fey, for her next TV project, before "30 Rock" even finished. They want to keep her, because she's a name, and while ratings are mediocre, she has a core audience, she's a brand, and they can make money from her. Now, other than that however, to most writers in town, NBC is where you go right now, when you're their last hope to make a show go on the air. Every networks been through that phase at some point, it's nothing new by the way. ABC was that place for years, and that is a channel that tended towards a specific audience. And one could argue usually it was family-based programming like "The Brady Bunch" or "Happy Days", and in later years, "Full House" and other TGIF programming, they also went through a very strong phase of lower-class television, with shows like "Roseanne" and "Home Improvement", leading their so-called lower class sitcoms. A more conservative demographic mostly; I think you can make that claim with ABC, they're owned by Disney, their mission statement, "entertainment for the whole family", stuff that everyone from baby to grandparent would like.  However, in hard times, the Disney network couldn't stick to these typical standards, so when they were in drop dead 4th, they had to take chances on shows nobody wanted and everyone passed on, that were different than before. The big one for them like that, the most recent one anyway, was "Desperate Housewives", turned the whole network around. NBC, didn't get so lucky trying that with "Whitney" so they're trying that with "The Voice", and "Smash" and "Revolution", and whatever other show that nobody else wanted. They can't just pick and choose, they only get so many good shows to pick from. Yeah, folks, you have to understand this too, "Whitney" was probably the best thing they had, from their pile of crap that sucked. Whitney Cummings was in the middle of her fifteen minutes, she sold "2 Broke Girls" to CBS, if they didn't try to get a piece of what she was offering, they would've been fools not accept it. That's how a network, decides what makes the air. [Sorry Ms. Cummings, I don't mean to keep using you as an example, but it's just convenient in this case.] CBS, has first pick. They may still pick a bad show or two, or reject a show for content purposes (Which doesn't matter to much for  them, because they also own Showtime, so they have a place "Homeland", "Dexter", "Weeds", etc. that they can pick up and put there) because, well it happens, but that's how all the networks work. Now they work this way, because without money from commercial ad-buys, they can't stay in business. So, they need to make as much money as possible, so they can fund the TV shows, on the airwaves that the government lets them be on. So, even if you wanted to, subliminally pollute your network with political propaganda, you couldn't. You'd have to be funded by some private investor, who has unlimited funds, and doesn't care about ratings. No network channel does that, and I hate to tell people this, but no cable channel does that either. All they do, is try to garner specific subsects of the audience with their shows, many of which, are throwaways from that pile underneath "Whitney." More options, all networks are owned by corporations, and corporations above all, their objective is to make money. And BTW, the heads of those corporations. Viacom (CBS), General Electric, Comcast, Universal (NBC over-the-recent years), NewsCorp (FOX), even Walt Disney Company (ABC), most of them ain't Democrats, but they need to make money first, even before they get to their mission statement of producing quality product for the whole family. Basically, if you even remotely start trying to form a network schedule based around political preferences, you'd be fired, and pretty quickly at that, if for no other reason then the fact that, you're working for a corporation, and by leaning politically one way, you single-handedly eliminated half of you potential audience, at a time when you're trying to get as many audience members as possible. It's a balancing act running a network, and being the best at it, gives you advantages the other don't. Now, try doing that, with just members of one political party, let's see how far you get.

Anyway, nothing can be less politically-motivated than network television, and only the people with no clue how a network is run, would even think that it in any way is. "Baldwin's on NBC, they must be liberal!", wtf?   That's like saying "Walker, Texas Ranger" was on CBS, Chuck Norris is a conservative so CBS, must be conservative!" and if someone said that to me, I'd respond mockingly with something like, "No,CBS  has the Tony Awards every year, they're liberal as all hell!" This isn't debate, this is isn't criticism, this is, the exchanging of taunts on a kindergarten playground, and it sickens me to hear this childishness from adults.

Of course, this guy doesn't care about that stuff, but I do. I don't bash people and things, just to bash people things. The group we're in is called "AD's You're the Critic", Critic being a keyword. Critical, not just spewing off your own crap. It's really thinking about what people are trying to do, and how well are they achieving it. Just because it's TV and film, doesn't mean it shouldn't be taken seriously. The people who make it, myself included, take it very seriously. Frankly, this person's, for-lack-of-a-better-phrase, view of the world, is not as unusual as it should be. It's selective, it's willfully ignorant, and frankly delusional, and is representative of much of America, and nothing pisses me off more than that. I've mentioned mission statements a few times here, but I don't know how many of you have read mine, which is paraphrased on the top of my blog. "...Intelligent, thoughtful analysis of the Film, TV and the Entertainment World." Those aren't random words, I wrote that for a reason, 'cause that's what I bring to the table, and that's what I want this blog to be. If that eliminates a large portion of my potential audience, well, I'm not a network executive, I don't have to worry about that. In the meantime, I guess the real point of this blogpost, is that, in light of having to deal with this moron, I thought it time to reaffirm my mission statement today, so here it is:

"'David Baruffi's Entertainment Views and Reviews' offers/provides intelligent, observant and thoughtful analysis of the Film, TV and Entertainment World. This includes, Random Movie Reviews, Canon of Film blogs, and Critical Essays of the latest goings of the entertainment world and culture."

There. Done.

I apologize and thank you all for this indulgence. We well have discuss more important issues next time on this blog, like making fun of  this year's "American Idol" contestants or why we don't have enough people on TV getting pies through in their face anymore, or maybe we'll just dwell on the great female nudity scenes in movies. Like I said, whatever it is, it'll be something more far important than this.






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