A Long time ago, there was this dog named Lassie. Maybe you remember her. She lived for a time in a black and white world (later full color), where life was simpler and happy. She was highly intelligent, loved and cared for people and never used profanity. This show ran for nearly 20 years and survived 4 cast changes, which can be instant demise for many a show. Families would eagerly await the next episode and would enjoy it together. There were other shows like “I Love Lucy”, “The Wonderful World of Disney”, “Little House on the Prairie”, etc., that were all top-rated shows and were uplifting, clean and left you with a good message.
Times have changed. In the 1960’s The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D. were top rated shows on television. They contained no profanity and no sexual content. Total, these 2 shows ran approximately 11 years. By 1976, with the show “Happy Days”, there were 2 sexual references per hour, and very little profanity. In 1996, “Beverly Hill, 90210” had 8.5 sexual references per show and more profanity. A study done in 2010, by the Parents Television Council found that from 2005 to 2010, profanity had increased by 69%. That was 9 years ago and we know that sexual content has now increased dramatically, as it becomes more difficult to even find a show that’s suitable to watch. The scenes leave little to the imagination and many parents or grandparents either end up diving for the control, others turning off the tv entirely or some unfortunately deciding, “Oh well, that’s the way TV is now, and the scene will be over soon.”
A classic movie, “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid”, was rated R way back in 1969, because of the few profane words that it had. Now, a PG-13 movie, has more profanity and sexual content then Butch Cassidy or John-boy Walton ever dreamed about. I love what famous western author Louis L’Amour said, “I’ve written all these stories without pornography, without any obscenity. I grew up among sailors and miners and lumberjacks and the roughest kind of men in the world. But I never found it necessary to use all that in the stories. I can make them real without that. I think that much of that kind of writing is a cover up for lack of real skill.”
I’m definitely not against a good romantic movie. I am a hopeless romantic myself, but I like to be given enough credit that I can imagine a few things without having to be shown play by play. One of my favorite movies is “An Affair to Remember” from 1957. It has got to be one of the most romantic movies ever made. I wasn’t born when it first came out, but I’ve surely enjoyed it many times throughout the years. It is classy, charming, dramatic, suspenseful and a tear-jerker on top of that. It had everything except explosives, monsters and computer graphics. I don’t remember any expletives, and yet I could feel and share the emotion that was taking place in the movie. They were able to convey that with a great story and great actors.
It’s my opinion that Networks and Media Streaming Services that constantly produce shows filled with profanity and sexual content don’t have the creativity or originality to produce quality shows. They might dismiss it as, “Ratings show that’s what people want.” That’s just the majority of what they are producing now, and people want to watch something. Surely, ratings indicate that wholesome productions such as Hallmark Movies and other uplifting shows don’t require the garbage placed in so many others, to receive good ratings. Even though these shows are simple and predictable and what some might describe as “Hokey”, they offer viewers a happy break and escape from stress and the dark things we must deal with in today’s world. When Networks feed us trash, they are discounting us and missing an opportunity to feed our minds, souls and teach us something. More shows such as “Planet Earth”, “The Potato Peel Pie Society” and channels such as History and Discovery would be appreciated.
There’s a story told, about a parent who one evening brings out a plate of cookies for their family. The cookies look delicious and everyone takes one, but right before they take a first bite, the parent discloses that they contain a special, secret ingredient that they might want to know about first. It’s not a big deal, because it only contains a little amount of the secret ingredient. The family hesitantly questions what it is. The parent says, “oh just a little dog poop. No big deal.” Of course, the cookies didn’t really contain dog poop, but the point that this parent wanted to get across, is that just a little of something bad is still not edible or desirable. A lot is even worse.
People used to read literary classics, memorize and recite poetry, and learn languages. They would do things that enriched their lives and vocabulary. I hope that we and our posterity are not destined in the future to expressing ourselves with just a few choice expletives. I hope we won’t settle for rubbish. No, I’m not a prude. I just believe that Hollywood often sells us short and feeds us trash and we often times surrender to and digest it until it becomes a part of us. We are smarter and more civilized than that, and we ultimately are the ones with the power. It just takes a click of a button.