Whoever opined that “television is a vast wasteland” never watched an episode of Pimp My Ride or the equally thought-provoking Lingerie Football. If you ask me, the quality of television has never been better.
The proud tradition of erudite TV programming is nothing new. The birth of excellence in television can be traced back to September 14, 1965, when the much critically heralded classic sitcom My Mother the Car first aired. Fans and critics marveled over the course of 4 months at the antics of a middle-aged man (Jerry Van Dyke) whose deceased mother comes back to life in the form of an antique car. Some jaded media scholars believe television reached its nadir with the introduction in 1991 of the pioneering Jerry Springer Show, where dysfunctional families with 4th grade educations discover on live TV that Shatiqua’s recently paroled boyfriend has been sleeping with her sister, Jazmine and their mother. But if you ask me, that was the start of TV’s true golden age.
Over the decades, Americans’ television tastes have become increasingly demanding. How else to explain such highbrow entertainment as Jersey Shore, My big Fat Obnoxious Greek Fiancé, Teen Mom, The Real Housewives of Orange County, or my own personal favorite, Dog the Bounty Hunter. The Brits can have their BBC series Masterpiece Theatre. I’ll take our American-made COPS any day. Did you see the last week’s season premier episode where this 46-year old crack-addicted, welfare fraud mother tries to offer sexual favors from her 19-year old daughter to an undercover cop in return for crack? You can learn so much about the frail human condition from COPS. We are all just one sex-with-my-teenage-daughter-in-return-for-a-hit-of-crack-cocaine away from a long, lonely stay in the Graybar Hotel. Just one tiny mistake away.