TV or not TV? A rant | Column

by | November 17, 2018 5:00 pm

Last Updated: November 14, 2018 at 12:03 pm

Jon Bon Jovi recently told an Australian newspaper, “I’ve never given 60 seconds of my life to the Kardashians or Real Housewives.”
Can I just say that JBJ is a silver fox? Also, I second his opinion.
“Keeping up With the Kardashians” is easy when you don’t watch them to begin with. I have no idea which one is Khloe, Krusty or Karma, and don’t care. How this vapid, grasping, shallow, sellout family became famous is beyond the capacity of my brain. I do know Kris Jenner, aka Satan’s Bride, launched their game by leaking a *** tape of her daughter, and that’s all I need to know.
If you want to tune in to Kim and Kanye’s antics, have at it; you’ve got plenty of company. I’d rather stand in a fire ant mound.
Same with the “Real Housewives” franchise. I gave the OG series, “Real Housewives of Orange County,” about five minutes before realizing I don’t care about watching skinny women with puffy lips drink Chardonnay and complain about their lives. Also, everybody had the same busted hair extensions and I couldn’t tell them apart.
It’s not that I hate realty shows; I watched MTV’s “The Real World” from the first through the sixth seasons. It was riveting TV, until it wasn’t. (Spoiler alert: In every house there’s a slut, a stoner and a misunderstood genius.)
Here’s the thing: Reality shows aren’t real. Every catfight and family spat, every catastrophe and breakup, has been engineered and edited to a fare-thee-well.
(I promise I don’t judge anyone who watches the Kardashians or “Chrisley Knows Best” or “The Bachelor.” It’s called “mindless entertainment,” and it can be a real stress-reliever. I relax by watching old “ER” episodes I’ve already seen twice, while reading a stack of week-old newspapers. It doesn’t get more mindless than that.)
Speaking of catastrophes and breakups, when did the Food Network break up with its bread and butter, recipe shows? Am I the only one who misses Sarah Moulton’s soothing instructions on how to roast a chicken? I loved her ponytail and calm demeanor. I also loved Rachael Ray’s “30 Minute Meals” and even Sandra Lee’s semi-drunk “Semi-Homemade.” Now it’s all competition shows: “Chopped,” “Top Chef,” “Cake Wars,” “Iron Chef,” etc.
Ina Garten and the Pioneer Woman are entertaining, but all about branding. And speaking of branding, my once-beloved Rachael Ray jumped that shark by shilling her talk show, magazine, cookware and dog food. (I don’t miss Emeril, who was visibly tired of yelping “Bam!” but couldn’t seem to find another shtick, or Paula Deen with her syrupy drawl and sexual innuendoes.)
I’m not much for nostalgia, but I do miss stellar TV like “MASH,” “St. Elsewhere,” “Picket Fences,” “Scrubs,” “Mad About You,” “Ally McBeal,” “LA Law,” “Taxi,” “Moonlighting,” “NYPD Blue,” “Golden Girls,” “Hill Street Blues,” “Frasier,” “The Office,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Party of Five,” and, of course, “Friends.”
Today I watch three shows: “Modern Family,” “Life in Pieces,” and “Trial and Error,” which is absolutely hysterical and has the greatest cast chemistry since “Cheers.”
I tried “This is Us” for a season, but gave up when I realized that crew was never going to get happy. Widdle and I also binge-watched “Ozark,” but my interest is waning. Both seasons have ended with them poised to flee, but deciding to stay. And the lighting is so murky, some wags call it “Odark.”
Whatever. We’ll always have ER re-runs.

(Julie R. Smith, who was obsessed with “St. Elsewhere,” can be reached at

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