Friday, October 29, 2010

TV's best family values show airs at 10pm. Huh?

The TV show parents should watch with their teenage children and discuss afterward airs at 10pm on Tuesdays. Why? Easy. Parenthood is actually realistic, by and large. It's not a soap opera. Problems are not exaggerated to goose the ratings. There's a paucity of sex and violence. There's character development instead. And, to put it simply, quality--quality of casting, of execution, of dialog, of plotting.

The shows aired at 8 are, by and large, the sorts of shows that I'd call frothy (with strong exceptions such as House).

Yet the Parents Television Council doesn't recommend the show. Turns out their concerns are entirely negative--they don't care if the show models constructive family problem-solving. They don't care if the show offers positive role models. All they care is whether sex, violence or bad language are used/alluded to. So by that gauge they've give a rave review to a show that just had people reading innocuous passages from grade school primers.

Of course no one could stand to watch such a show. Nor would it offer any kind of role modeling--of guidance. But if innocuousness is the only value, as the PTC's ratings enshrine--my imaginary show would get a big thumbs up from fools like the PTC's staffers and all the foolish parents who think guiding their kids only means steering them away from thinking about issues they don't want to think about.

On the other hand, the blog "Connect with your teens through pop culture and technology" lists Parenthood in its entry "20 best shows for parent teen bonding."

Having no children at home, I watch Parenthood with my spouse because it's actually good. How many shows have you wanted to like but for the fact that they frequently descend into soap opera, even if they have a good premise and good castingl--possibly at the instigation of the networks' suits? I feel that way about Grays Anatomy, for example, which is a good show at its core, but which constantly channels "The Young and the Restless" because it doesn't trust the audience to stick with it if it were more realistic.

Lastly, I recommend using ratings of Parenthood as a bellwether--as a way to see whether a parenting/media watch organization really has our children's best interests at heart, or is just serving some backward ideology.