I confess, I have been locked away from prime time entertainment TV for 11 1/2 years. From February 2002 until October 2013, I worked nights anchoring On The Record at 10pm – so for 11 1/2 years I never watched entertainment TV as I was busy working at my job. I did not get home until midnight and at that hour, after a day of hearing TV’s in the background all day (covering news) I wanted to get away from the TV so I always read. With our new time of 7pm (which I love) I now get a chance to watch what everyone else is.
I asked some friends what I should watch and they suggested ABC’s Scandal. Because it is now in its second season I had to quickly catch up – and I did. I got hooked on it like many other viewers and thought it a great show – until it’s most recent episode.
I turned it on the most recent episode and what did I see? In the opening scene (and repeated several times in the hour) a friend has a friend tied up and he is torturing her – pulling her teeth out with pliers. Really? Entertainment? How can that be entertaining? It certainly is not clever or creative. Did they really need to do that? Why did they do that?
Are scenes like that going to desensitize some viewers so this is what we can expect during the next real life street version of the now knockout game? That some young people will go from viciously and randomly punching people on the streets to pulling teeth out with pliers or worse? If you glamorize or desensitize a vicious act don’t be surprised if you see it become a reality.
But it isn’t just graphic violence in Scandal that is disgraceful. There is emotional violence. Part of the story line in this recent episode is a gay person being viciously blackmailed for being gay. That story line is indecent . It is mean. And worse, some may see it as the glorification of trying to intimidate someone in a very personal way and them even mimic it – yes, bullying. There is nothing honorable about adult bullying. There have been many cable news segments devoted to the horrors of teen bullying – yet adult bullying is seen by some in Hollywood as some legitimate form of entertainment or they would not make it a storyline. Why is that entertaining?
Is that really the best Scandal writers can do? I don’t think so because much of the series is really good and intriguing. It is when the writers go too far – to the cringe point where it is indecent and wrong. The number of really good episodes of Scandal shows us they do not have to go this far. It is a great show – except this latest physical and emotional viciousness that they now pander and inflict on their loyal viewers. Why do the writers and creators do this? They do it deliberately….but why? We watched when they didn’t do it so they know they don’t have to.
And what about the advertisers? Is torture by pulling someone’s teeth out with pliers (not to mention the dialogue with the guy saying how much he enjoys it) or blackmailing someone for being gay something advertisers want to associate their products with? I have heard of advertisers not wanting their products associated with coverage of real trials when we confront what is really going on in America – yet they think it is ok if horrible violence or indecency is cooked up by a bunch of writers around a round table in Hollywood for big bucks?
And how about us? And what about me? I watched the whole show. Why did I do that? Maybe because I had been hooked on the writer’s and actor’s previous creativity? Maybe I like the show and thought it was a one time deal and that the show would not keep repeating the scene as they did throughout the episode?
Why are we doing this to ourselves, to young people and the nation? Can’t we be smarter ? More creative and clever so that we don’t have to put ourselves in this gutter?
Am I wrong?