I Wonder If ‘Good’ Can Sell
November 3, 2008 10:42 AM
I can’t lie. I look at TV today, then our society’s many crises, and sometimes I wonder if there’s a correlation.
This was true even before today’s Reuters article about a study linking teen pregnancy to “sexy” shows. It’s crossed my mind many times as I’ve lunched around town amidst an ocean of people mimicking the mannerisms of Lindsay Lohan.
I’ve asked the same question more recently with the problems of our economy, driven in part by Americans wanting “bling” that they can’t afford. Many television shows over the past eight years have been centered around wealth, whether real or not.
It makes you wonder if Americans were trying to keep up.
It would make sense. TV today isn’t like it used to be, when there was “Dynasty” but then also shows like “Roseanne.” The menu now is almost entirely decadent. Never mind that only something like 14% of the population are millionaires, or that the majority of those I know don’t spend extravagantly.
We’re facing an enormous financial crisis in our country in large part because people want things they can’t afford.
Could television be to blame? I wouldn’t be surprised. There’s always been a good vs. evil battle when it comes to what the media produces. Even if media influences, it’s not necessarily our job to make sure it’s good and clean.
But that’s not the point of my post today. What I wonder is, can other ideas sell? Are Americans no longer interested in watching shows based on real life, like “Roseanne,” or even “Friends”?
Monica, Phoebe and Rachel shared an apartment and worked at regular jobs. “Friends” stayed on the air for years.
Is it the audience truly driving the demand for money-obsessed programming, or is it that the networks are stuck in a rut of what they think works and therefore produce the same concepts again and again?
Is an idea truly working if there are few other options that really challenge it? If given a choice, would a well-written, solidly cast show set in a normal world trump something based on bling?
As an entrepreneur, I wonder if this creates a gray area. I’d love to hear what people think.