If one needed any further proof that broadcast and cable television programming is slipping ever deeper into a murky mass of soft-core porn, circus side show acts and sophomoric humor, I submit for your consideration the following:
– The Discovery Channel’s ‘Naked and Afraid.’ This so-called reality show air drops one male and one female survival expert into such hellish environs as a tropical rain forest, an African desert and a deserted South Sea Island. They’re then asked to strip naked, and survive on what they can forage and kill over the next 21-days. Trust me, the survival part is really just an excuse to focus on these modern-day Adam and Eve wanna-be’s as they frolic, cavort and cuddle to their hearts’ content. It’s truly disturbing and, in my opinion, should carry the tagline: ‘Where survival meets soft-core.’ Yuck.
– TLC’s ‘The Man With the 132-Pound Scrotum.’ And, you thought you were having a bad day! Ouch! Somehow, some way, those oh-so-erudite purveyors of fine taste at TLC managed to track down a guy named Wesley Warren, Jr. Poor Wes suffers from scrotal lymphedema, a disease that has caused his family jewels to swell to superhuman size. Talk about runaway inflation!
But, wait, there’s more to this tear jerker (now stop it. I won’t go there). It seems that El hombre con los cajones grandissimos is also destitute, so he has no funds with which to pay for a downsizing. Such drama. Such pathos. Such drivel.
And where I ask, were the erectile dysfunction and aging male bladder pharmaceutical manufacturers when this show was being made? Nowhere to be seen. Were I a PR guy or media planner for Cialis or Flow-Max, I’d have showered the dude with money AND flooded the program with my commercials. Talk about a missed opportunity.
What makes all of this tawdry programming SO sad is the rich legacy of each cable channel.
I had the unique opportunity to work on The Discovery Channel account AND launch what was originally known as The Learning Channel. Nowadays, one discovers soft-core on the former and oversized testicles on the latter. And, that’s on a good night.
In 1961, F.C.C. Chairman Newton K. Minnow famously described television as a vast wasteland. Were he alive today, and able to suffer through such salacious shows as the ones above, he’d most certainly add the adjective sleazy.
I don’t know about you, but I’m naked, afraid and swollen at the prospect of how much worse TV programming can become.
Sadly, I think the worst is yet to come:
How about parachuting the guy with the 132-lb testicles into the Serengetti Plain, and watch him dodge lions AND raise money for his operation over a three-week period? Now that’s what I call must-watch TV!