It was after writing the title to this article that I realized it’s not just TV that isn’t fun anymore. Almost NOTHING is fun anymore!
In the 50s and 60s people were positive. Wow! We live in the Twentieth Century! Hallelujah! The Space Race is GO! We’re going to the moon! Cars are V8 two-tone convertibles with bigger tailfins every year! Let’s grab a burger and Coke and take in a movie at the drive-in! Listen to the radio! The music’s fun! Les Paul and Mary Ford! How high the moon! The Beach Boys! California Girls! TV is fun to watch! Maverick, Ed Sullivan, The Monkees, The Honeymooners, I Love Lucy. They’re all fun! Even the US pavilion at Expo 58 in Brussels is fun! And we’ll have fun, fun, fun till the Grinches take our optimism away…
Fast forward to the 21st century. Now what? Cars aren’t fun anymore. No big red and white convertibles, no tailfins, no fun. Now cars are either drab-colored pokey little boxes that all look identical, or else they’re SUVs and Hummers and we are supposed to hate their owners because they’re destroying the ozone or the planet or something. Radio is full of talk shows with constantly complaining hosts taking calls from a miserable whining public.
And what does TV offer? South Park , CSI, and Dancing with the Stars. Whatever these shows may provide it’s not “fun." Neither are the shows that depict people’s insides being dismantled! And look at grumpy Hugh Laurie on House, and disparaging Simon Cowell on American Idol. Funny Lucy’s out and miserable curmudgeons are in!
And the commercials! People used to enjoy smoking and actually did it onscreen! “I’d rather fight than switch," “It’s a whole ‘nother smoke." Sure, we knew that smoking wasn’t good for you but we didn’t get all in a knot about it! Nowadays we are fed an endless stream of information about what’s wrong with us and what we need to buy to make it right. Available are Advair, Aleve and Ambien; Celebrex, Cialis, Claritin and Crestor; Flomax, Lipitor, Valtrex and Viagra, just to mention the few I’ve noticed. After pinpointing a perceived problem, these commercials feature earnest actors or voiceovers delivering grave warnings about all the terrible things that could happen if you do use the product. If you don’t die from the disease the side effects of the drug could make your life a living hell anyway! Whatever happens you’re on the way out! It’s useless. Living is worse than dying. What’s the point? Even if you survive the diseases and the drugs your life is going to be so unhappy that you might as well give up right now.
The modern message seems to be that we’re all going to die any day now – not long after the last polar bear dies from drowning or eating a mercury-tainted fish or something! If it’s not pollution that kills us it’ll be global warming or cooling or listening to Al Gore bore us to death. The last thing we must do is joke about any of it because life is dead serious don’t you know?
And then there’s the economy! Although the standard of living is the highest that human beings have enjoyed since Atlantis the populace sees nothing but gloom. If gloom is here can doom be far behind?
Of course most of this gloom is started by government telling us about all the things that we should be worried about and that only they can fix – with the use of our money of course. Terrorists, sexual predators, pesticides, light bulbs, cell phones, cigarettes, fast food, cholesterol, SUVs, asbestos, lead paint – is there anything that isn’t a hazard and needs a government program to correct?
C’mon folks, lighten up! Try to put some fun back in your lives! By your own admission you ain’t gonna be here much longer so you might as well get what little enjoyment you can while you can. As for me, I live near one of the last remaining drive-in theatres in the country so I know where I’ll be going tonight. Of course that’s if I can find a movie that’s not about serial killers or pregnant teens or parental abuse or the end of the world or…
April 24, 2008