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Creation Date: March 1st, 2010 06:15 PM
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Musings of a Knight of the Imperium.
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In Moot Member Blogs Tasteless TV history Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #544 New May 15th, 2019 04:30 AM
I recently viewed the old Logan's Run TV series, based off of the feature film of the same name. It hasn't aged all that in terms of its Special Effects, and some of the costumes are a bit low budget, but the stories are solid enough. Heh, in one episode they mimic a light saber battle, and the "heavy" in the scene is the head security Martian from "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" I knew I recognized him from somewhere.

But, to the point, most of the cast is predominantly white, though not exclusively, and there is a push to sprinkle some good social awareness into the story regarding race, but without being didactic and obvious--unlike so many of today's offerings.

It's a good old fashioned scifi TV show that lasted for a season, based on an okay premise, but lacking a budget (and technology) to really make it shine. So in a sense it's mimicking it's parent feature film because the dome miniatures were truly awful. And still are.

I have not watched regular TV in many years now. In the late 80s things really went south when the FOX Corporation bought up a bunch of indy TV stations and became the raunch humor leader with things like "Married with Children" and a few Simpon's episodes. I think there were several other shows that tried to mimic the FOX model (WB with its Mister Floppy program on, I did not watch it regularly, just one episode). It's been my guess that that sprouted from the raunch humor trend in the 80s with feature films and publications like "The Truly Tasteless Joke Book" with various follow-ups and imitators.

Computers, Music and scifi films were the hallmark of the 80s. Tasteless humor and the beginnings of punk culture were down-shot. And as much as I did not like the 70s, 70s disco culture, 70s valley girl talk, 70s this and 70s that, there was a culture spirit of being polite as well as confrontational for addressing wrongs. That eroded in the 80s, and you saw it on the street and in TV shows reflecting culture and so forth.

There I saw the origins of Juvenile culture where adults were buying superhero comics, which stopped publishing simple detective types going after bank robbers or mobsters, but publishing stories that were sexually edgy and had a lot of bloodshed. I can truly say I was not into any of that, but really wondered what on Earth was going on with American culture.

The first hint of it was Chevy Chase's Vacation, with the dog urinating on the sandwiches joke. That's not funny. Years later Steve Martin's "My Blue Heaven" remade the old 30's film with more similar humor, and unlike my drug-induced idiotic a$$hole former friend who was part of my Traveller gaming group, it was not comic genius.

I'll get back to TV in a second here, bear with me. There was a film by Billy Wilder called "Iram LaDouc", about a French (Parisian) Gendarme falling in love and marrying a prostitute from the same city. It's not funny. The play upon which the film is based, is supposed to be a musical, but there's no singing or dancing save for one "victory dance" sequence when Irma scores what she thinks is a high paying customer, but is secretly her former cop lover. If there was ever a place for bad or tasteless humor, it would have been this film. But there's not one sexual nor body function joke in it.

A few years later and the seams begin to crack in movies as more edgy stuff is put into films. Ten years later TV follows suit.

I've often wondered why that is, and it's my one real dislike of American culture. I can forgive campy vapid stuff, because I don't watch it save for the Brady Bunch, which I really detested because of it's air-headed approach to teenagers in the 60s and 70s (the baby sitter and her two sisters watched the thing Vietnam War flashbacks for me, I really hated that show, and still do), but I can't forgive implicit jokes about sex or body functions that are tantamount to just saying or showing said function.

When I entered the local film and video industry I had an ambition to clean it up, get rid of a lot of "immoral" behavior and illegal practices that I witnessed, but what became to me years later was that it's part of the social psychologists scheme for culture outlets, and is also a cog in law enforcement and international security on a very thematic level. As I've explained earlier in other log entries, a lot of scripts you see in your favorite TV shows are either criminal histories or family psychology dressed up as either cop shows or situation comedies. Ergo you're seeing stuff that actual criminals have tried somewhere in the US (or abroad), or are seeing something that you may be familiar with in a situation comedy; i.e the Brady Bunch and Bobby with his "exact words" episode man I hate that show

But somewhere along the line the tasteless humor in feature films leaked into TV.

I vowed to bring the taste pendulum back to norm. No, I did not like ultra sweet clean junk (again, like the Brady Bunch, which was just completely out of touch with mainstream society), but nor did I like edgy crap the likes of which were on FOX or in mid range budget feature films; i.e. "War of the Roses" which I saw with an undercover cop where we witnessed Michael Douglas urinating on Kathleen Turner's potroast or meatloaf.

Mel Brooks made a comment in his Spaceballs commentary that humor is rarely funny unless it's raunchy or tasteless. No, totally wrong. If that were the case then the Three Stooges or Laurel and Hardy or Abbot and Costello wouldn't have gotten anywhere. Ma and Pa Kettle, even late 80s and early 90s episodes of The Simpons, for all of its edgy humor, would not have gotten anywhere. If that were the case then films I saw with the fake mother unit, films like "How to Beat the High Cost of Living", "9 to 5" or even "Smokey and the Bandit" would not have gotten anywhere. Indian Bollywood films wouldn't be successful. Japanese drama and comedy wouldn't be successful. There's a whole gamut of films from all nations that acknowledge good taste, that have been successful, and yet the US, for whatever reason, has been cranking out films that celebrate human waste and explicit sex.

I don't get that. I really don't. I don't think society needs an outlet for that kind of junk. I do in fact think that a little repression to keep that garbage out of mainstream society and media, is a good thing.

Then again I quit watching TV years ago. And the last movie I saw was either the Ghostbusters' remake or the Blade Runner sequel, and I disliked the Blade Runner sequel. Both of those films were relatively clean, but the vapid screenplay of Blade Runner made me conclude that US media is dead.

Ergo I watch a lot of YouTube and some Vimeo stuff.

The Hollywood anointed and self appointed guardians kept normal Joes like you and me out of their exclusive club because they feared we were all potential megalomaniacs, and were going to mass produce racist and sexist films that would pollute society as a whole, and bring America and the world crashing down with societal reverberations. But in the end it was they who shot themselves in the foot, and true to form, science and technology (by way of the Japanese) have democratized media by making image and audio capturing technology affordable to the "barbaric masses". In spite of our having fought a war with Japan some 70 years ago, I think Jefferson and the rest of the founders would be proud and delighted with Japanese consumer electronic innovations, and would wonder why the US did not retain the lead in consumer products.

My neighbor once observed that Baseball is big business. He was a WW2 and Korean War vet, a former Marine Driver. After seeing how staged a lot of baseball bench clearers are, I agree with him. Still, a good ball game is a good ball game, but I refuse to pay for a ticket so I can buy overpriced food and sit with rowdy drunk a$$holes in the stands (which I used to). Before TV went south, Baseball was there with unruly fans, players with lots of personal drama, and just stuff that you could identify with tasteless TV. Ditto with music halls and Vaudeville in "days of yore." So in this sense tasteless humor has always been around, but it was more relegated to people lacked class and indulged in that low brow behavior. But it wasn't mainstream.

And that's pretty much my beef with old guard mainstream media; if it isn't jokes about pass gas, then it's jokes about explicit sex. As much as I think it's healthy to talk about coupling in a mature way, explicit or extreme implicit as to be explicit stuff has no purpose in mainstream media. And I say that as a kid who understood a lot of that stuff, but felt it really in poor taste.

Again, on the upside, YouTube, Vimeo, and other online venues, have put a crimp in the major studio's style. What a relief. Now I don't have to sit through 15 minutes of commercials to watch a 45 minute program that takes up a 60 minute slot on the TV schedule. Nor do I have to listen, wade through, nor tolerate some social psychologists' various messages about egalitarian values, when all I want is to see or experience a good story--especially since racial and other social divides seem to be more acute than ever, way to go Hollywood.

And so it would have been with anything I produced for either this game or any other book or game that struck me as being worthy of a visual realization; a good story with good clean humor, casting based on the role and acting experience, not based on sex or race, and some rocking effects and music. Thank goodness I don't have to do it anymore

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