TV Shows and Real Life

TV shows are probably the primary source of entertainment for the
average American. Most of them run from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. with reruns starting
at 5 p.m. We watch them because they give us something to do, a way to relax,
something to help pass the time. We all watch different shows, some people like
"Married...with Children", some are repulsed with it, but like to watch "Home
Improvement", what draws particular crowds to certain shows? How do these shows
portray the average American, or do they portray average Americans at all?
These are questions many writers have attempted to answer, at least one column
in almost every newspaper is dedicated to this topic. I think the people like
to see shows that portray them, or what they\'d like to be.
"Married...with Children" runs on Fox 29 on Mondays at 8:30 p.m., it has
been on air for a long time, and has passed its 200th episode last season. The
main characters of the show is women\'s shoe salesman Al Bundy, his wife Peg,
dorky son Bud, and slutty daughter Kelly. Al loves to watch TV, bowl with his
buddies, drink and go to the "nudy bar". Marcie and Jefferson, are the Bundy\'s
neighbors and also take an active part in the show. Most shows consist of Al
going somewhere or doing something and everyone else making fun of him when he
fails miserably. Al is someone you can hardly call a father to his kids, he\'s
doesn\'t take care of them and he does absolutely nothing father-like for them or
with them. Al is constantly complaining about his marriage, he says that if he
was sober that night, none of this would have happened. He calls his children
accidents and the only good memory he has, is of him being a great high school
football player, which he would take to the next level had all his dreams not
been crushed by Peg. The only living thing Al really likes on the show is his
dog, Buck, to which he can relate as they are both dirty and nasty. Every show
it is the same kind of thing, over and over again. Peg is trying to convince Al
to have sex, Al blames Peg for his failure in life, Kelly is screwing some guy
in the back seat of a car, and Bud is looking at "nudy magazines". Last Monday,
the 27, Al decided to join the Army Reserve in order to escape his family. John
Ozersky writes in his article entitled "TV\'s Anti-Families: Married...With
Malaise", "These shows portray a downfall of Dad, but no rise of Mom. By
presenting unhappy families to viewers, the viewers tend to feel better about
themselves, on the contrary, the viewer\'s expectations in their own lives
decrease as a result of this. By making our problems "all right by comparison",
the series trivializes them, rather than taking them seriously. The
dysfunctional TV family aids advertisers in their perennial quest for
credibility by creating a supersaturated atmosphere of irony, which atrophies
our ability to believe in anything" (Ozersky 215). But the reason people watch
the show is simple, it portrays our worst fears in a way we can laugh at them,
and who wouldn\'t want to laugh at their fear, an "in your face, I\'m not as bad
as you" kind of laugh. My dad wouldn\'t let me watch this show until I was 14
years-old, because he thought it would give me the wrong idea about real family
Another show about family life is "Home Improvement". It portrays a
traditional family, Tim and Jill are a married couple and they have three kids
of different ages. Tim and Jill always argue about something, if it isn\'t about
what Tim did, or about what Jill did, it\'s about what their kids did. The kids
are also constantly fighting, the two bigger brothers always picking on the
smaller one. It is a funny and entertaining version of the upper-middle class
family. The role of the father in this show is clear, he is manly, he grunts,
he works with power tools, and he can\'t stand when someone besides him has the
power. This is shown in the episode when Jill opens her own checking account,
Tim is upset, he can\'t control where the money goes any more, even though it
isn\'t his money, he\'d like to have control over it. So by the end of the
episode, Jill gives in, a portrayal of female weakness and man\'s superiority,
and the account is joined.