Worthless TV

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In response to the recent HBO film Big Love, the Church issued a statement that said, in part, the following:

Big Love, like so much other television programming, is essentially lazy and indulgent entertainment that does nothing for our society and will never nourish great minds. Parents who are casual about their viewing habits ought not to be surprised if teaching moral choices and civic values to their children becomes harder as a result.

Should we avoid worthless television programming?

18 thoughts on “Worthless TV

  1. How does one determine the worth of the program before viewing it?

    For that matter, how does one determine the worth after viewing it?

    That’s the real question.

    I’ve watched the news lately, and upon later reflection determined that I had wasted the previous half an hour – I was already aware of what was presented, or it did not matter to me.

  2. Another point:

    When has television ever been about “nourish(ing) great minds”?

    TV is/was/and shall ever be a distraction, and only occasionally a learning tool.

    Sometimes a pleasant distraction from a stressful day is very much needed.

  3. Seems like a question that answers itself: Should we avoid that which has no worth? Unless everything else we could possibly be doing has no worth, then yes, because (by definition) there are worthier alternatives.

    There is, however, some worth, however slight, in pure entertainment.

  4. The very premise of Survivor turns my stomach. :( But it may have more worth to you, personally, than to me. :)

  5. Our family will be watching General Conference this weekend on Television, just like always.

    I suppose that how much worthless TV you watch is in direct proportion to how many TV channels you subscribe to. For those of us who don’t subscribe to HBO, Big Love is not a problem, other than it generates some interesting questions amongst my co-workers.

  6. Yes, we should avoid worthless television. however, sometimes what seems worthless isn’t. Like Corner Gas. It seems mindless but it’s not, I always feel light hearted after watching it because it makes me laugh. And laughter is good. However, I feel a tad guilty about liking CSI.

    Of course we relaly don’t watch a lot of television anymore. We were watching far too much for awhile (at least I was).

  7. Arrested Development was the most worthwhile television in television history. Too bad too many people are watching worthless television like “According to Jim” instead, causing the AD to be cancelled.

    Ugh.

  8. Rusty, I concur.

    The problem with the show was that there was no laugh track to show the average viewer (i.e. an idiot) what was supposed to be funny.

  9. ltbugaf? What exactly about Survivor turns your stomach? I like watching how week after week people complain how rough it is out there and that they can’t swim or start fires and they are starving etc etc.. makes me wonder what goes through their heads when they are at home applying to go on the next season after watching 10 seasons of it and not realize they will be SURROUNDED by water and have to START fires and do physical stunts..

    It makes me understand that if I were to apply to be a participant I would make sure I could survive in the wilderness, start a fire with nothing, build a shelter, and swim.. oh wait I can do that already..

    speaking of which I better go set my vcr to tape it while I am at Kim’s this week so I don’t miss my quota of worthwhile watching :->

  10. My feeling about Survivor is mostly visceral, but I’ll try to explain it. What I loathe and despise about Survivor is that it is based on people placed in difficult or desperate circumstances who, rather than acting like compassionate and civilized humans, are directed to turn on and destroy one another. In short, it fosters the very worst aspects of human nature and celebrates them.

    I think that explains my feeling. With more thinking time I might be able to articulate it better.

  11. My favorite TV shows right now are Lost, American Idol, CSI, Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs, and House. If I only watch those shows, I will be watching about 7 hours/week (American Idol is usually on twice each week) or one hour per day. Is that excessive? Is it okay to indulge in SOME worthless programming, or are we supposed to watch ONLY uplifting, educational shows?

    P.S. I borrowed the first 2 seasons of Arrested Development from my friend and watched every episode. It was hilarious. I also borrowed the first season of 24 and loved it. I can’t wait to borrow the other seasons. (Maybe I should stop watching TV and just buy the DVD sets instead. No commercials and no waiting a week for the next episode.)

  12. I think that both Survivor and American Idol are useful in that they are in fact microcosms of western society (and specifically America).

    The mediocre and well connected rise to the top. We are not in a meritocracy, it is a popularity contest … unless you’re the one making the rules (ala Jeff Probst).

    Certain people are above the rules (did Paula ever sing off-key?). But for the most part the world is about being more successful than your fellow man, not by actually being better at something – but by manipulating the social environment around you eat your competitors alive.

  13. Television in itself is only an appliance, what we choose to do with that applicance is the key. I know that this is a pretty symantic distinction, but I like thinking of it that way.
    To quote AofF #13 “If there is anything hvirtuous, ilovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”
    So if we use our television to watch General Conference, obviously then television is not worthless.
    There is a saying I have heard that it’s better to have a “Rated R truth than a Rated G lie.” While I think that is oversimplfying things, I think what we choose to watch on TV had better be stand for something (to quote a now overused
    phrase).

    PS. My vote is for Arrested Development, although I cant think of what it or According to Jim stand for, but I laugh more watching AD.

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