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Where has the Family Viewing hour gone?

When television began broadcasting shows in earnest, circa early 1950s, many of the programs were family friendly.  The entire family could sit down in the comfort of their living room and watch a television show that made them laugh, that made them think.  TV shows, like Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, My Little Margie, I Love Lucy, are but a few examples of such television fare viewers could expect.

When I was growing up, in the 1970s, there were still family shows where we could all gather and watch a program without being embarrassed by the content.  Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons, The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family.  After the 8:00 hour was done, my brother and I knew cop shows usually reigned supreme, Hawaii 5-0  or Kojak, and then at 10:00, when we were tucked in for the night, more adult programs would be on, like Police Story.

In 2012, no such family hour exists anymore and I don’t know why or when it began to disappear.  Today’s sitcoms, I don’t let my younger children watch them, and if I were to watch them with my parents, I’d  feel very embarrassed.  The major networks have been lamenting for years the loss of viewers to cable.  Maybe  the families  have left, looking for programs worthwhile for a family to view.  I am sure some television executives would simply give out that all too often excuse, “We’re just following the culture”, but I think they aid and abet and influence the culture much more than they give themselves credit for.  If networks want viewers back, then bring back the family viewing hour, with programs that are uplifting and wholesome, and go back to showing the crass and profane at 10:00, when the children are safely tucked in for the night.


Two movies about being a father

My husband and I recently ventured to our church last Sunday evening, for a free showing of the movie, Courageous.  The movie was about a group of four men. Three were police officers, one man a construction worker.   All fathers, all examining themselves at various points in the movie, to see if they were being the best fathers they could be to their children.  Tragedies struck these four men in the course of the movie, and many people in the sanctuary, where the movie was played, were crying, myself and my husband included.  Courageous was a  tear jerker, and it showed the pain and sorrow that people go through when tragedies strike.  One man of the four made a bad decision, and his consequences to come were hinted at near the movie’s end.  It didn’t have a happily forever after ending, but it did have an ending of hope.

I’ve been seeing ads for another movie about a father,  starring George Clooney, called The Descendents.  One evening, I noticed an ad for the movie, and it showed a caring father, trying to do right by his children, as his wife lay comatose in a hospital due to a boating accident.  Near the end of the commercial, I noticed that the movie was rated R.   I wondered why did this movie, about such a sad and serious subject, need an R rating?  The commercial I saw depicted nothing to hint that an R rating was needed.  Being curious, I looked up The Descendents and from my readings, I  found out that it definitely needed the R rating due to the bad language, sexually charged topics, drug and alchohol abuse it depicted.

Hollywood, from articles I have read, hasn’t had a banner year at the box office.  I am sure Red Box, Netflix Streaming, the internet, and ye old video/dvd store have all done their part to chip away at the numbers of people who go to the theatres to see a movie.  However, I also think that if Hollywood would really pay attention to the movies that do better than most at the box office, they would realize that they are the movies that are rated  G, PG, and PG-13.  Courageous, it was recently reported, produced by Sherwood Pictures, has sold more dvds than Moneyball, The Ides of March, and Abduction.   If Hollywood would have made The Descendents without the gratuitous, offensive material, earning it a PG-13 rating, it would probably have done much better at the box office than it has done.  Hollywood, learn a lesson from Sherwood Pictures: gratuitous, offensive language and actions by one’s actors are not needed to convey the theme of a movie!  You just might see a rise in those  box office receipts!  Less R, more G, PG, PG-13, please!

I Voted!

Living in Missouri, we had a chance to vote in a primary yesterday, February 7th, 2012.  I did my civic duty and voted, in my new voting precinct.  It was at a quaint, older church building near the western city limits of Rolla, MO.  The election workers were all friendly, welcoming me in, one gentleman held the front door open for me as I entered.  I could tell from their eagerness to assist me that they must not have had many voters so far that morning.  I proudly handed over my voter registration card that had come in the mail in the early days of December, which is when I finally got my act in gear and got registered.  The card checked out fine, and I signed my name to the voter records book, initialing my current address.  After telling the lady handling the paper ballots which one I wanted, she began to explain how to fill it in so it would be properly read and I stopped her by asking if there were any touch screen machines to vote on?  I explained that in St. Louis County, we had touch screen machines and that is what I was used to voting on.  The election workers proudly smiled and told me to look in a far off corner, there stood the one touch screen voting machine that they had for their voting site!  I smiled and said that, yes, that was what I wanted to vote with, so I was escorted to the machine and I voted.  Afterwards, I was given a “I Voted!” sticker, which I proudly wore to the grocery store, and two of the ladies asked me how did I like Rolla, compared to St. Louis.  I did say that I like Rolla, that it is quieter, and the election workers all laughed at that.  I did say it’s taken my kids a while to adjust to a smaller community.  Every now and then I will hear one of them sigh, lamenting that a mall, or zoo, or museum, or their old friends  are now 2 hours away.  Getting acclimated to a new community can be stressful and fun all at the same time.  Voting in a new community is yet another way of getting to know the area and to feel like one belongs.