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Advance Warning on Two Thursday TV Offerings -- One to Catch, One to Throw Back
January 5, 2011  | By David Bianculli

Just a fast note of warning about two impending TV offerings televised Thursday night, Jan. 6 -- one not to be missed, and the other not to be watched.

One of them is the third-season premiere of MTV's Jersey Shore. And, thank the TV gods, the other one isn't. Instead, it's a very special episode of CBS's The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson...

Noting that Jersey Shore (10 p.m. ET Thursday, MTV) is back on TV, with new episodes, isn't to be misconstrued as a recommendation. It's intended as an anti-recommendation -- more of a civil defense warning.

And there's no way not to sound like a crusty curmudgeon by saying this, but here goes:

All of the blatant misbehavior that typifies reality TV these days, from the narcissistic trashiness of Jersey Shore and the young pregnant "stars" of MTV to the parade of stereotyped, pampered and absurdly volatile Real Housewives of Bravo -- and, for that matter, for virtually any reality show on E!, WE or VH1 -- all off it adds up to a toxic stew that will infect, and is affecting, the first generation of the 21st century.

Once about every 20 years, Congress and other TV watchdogs get all upset about the levels of sex and violence, or sex or violence, on television. But how about the levels of boorish behavior, about making stars out of talentless jerks, and making a generation of young people feel -- not without justification -- that all it takes to become a celebrity these days is to out-misbehave everyone around you.

As for Nicole "Snooki" Polizzo heading for the bestseller lists because she described a few thinly fictionalized scenarios to a "collaborator," who wrote them and sent them back to Snooki for approval and "changes," that makes me worry even more about the publishing industry than broadcasting. Next week, Snooki will be appearing at a book signing in Manhattan -- making it, quite probably, the most writing she'll have done IN the book.

When the people in charge of TV and books are content with nothing more than giving people what they want, what we get, as a culture, is what we deserve. But as cultures go, this one is getting to be more suited to a petri dish.



At the other end of the pendulum, thank goodness, is something worth celebrating rather than bemoaning.

Craig Ferguson's goofy musical Doctor Who salute, which he recorded to open his show late last year, but which was pulled from the show minutes before air because of music-rights clearance problems, finally has cleared those legal hurdles.

We've shown the clip here previously, courtesy of YouTube -- but Thursday night, it actually makes it on the official CBS Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:35 a.m. ET). It's worth watching on air, if only to see how Ferguson will set it up.




Marlark said:

And it's not just you. Today an article from Dr. Douglas Fields -- Chief of the Nervous System Development and Plasticity Section, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development -- was published that draws a direct line from the rudeness prevalent and extolled in American culture to neuortoxins in developing adolescent brains.

Those black-and-white sitcoms have been supplanted today by garish reality television programs that showcase domestic and social interactions driven by narcissism, factionalism, competition and selfishness.

Full article here: http://huff.to/ePMVxI

So, it's true. TV is eating away at our children's brains.

Dr. Who musical parodies? No research yet.

Comment posted on January 5, 2011 10:29 AM

jan said:

Yeah! Now I finally get to see it on the TV instead of on the computer--much better picture. I still think Ferguson is the best talk show on television, although I have to admit really, really enjoying the video of Jimmy Fallon as Neil Young and Springsteen as an earlier version of himself singing "Whip Your Hair." Brilliant stuff.

Comment posted on January 5, 2011 1:02 PM

Tausif Khan said:

Please don't tell us anymore about the Jersey Shore. I come to this site to read about the creative and interesting stuff that people are doing much like the Ferguson bit. Please don't remind us of the television not worth watching.

[On general principle, I quite agree. There are times, though, where it's necessary to identify and redefine the bottom of the barrel, just to know the width of the spectrum. -- DB]

Comment posted on January 6, 2011 9:11 PM
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