Op-Ed by Donna Miller
Recently, there has been great debate over cable versus satellite, and it does not amaze me that very few have anything positive to say about either of these companies. It’s not about the quality of the picture per se, but the misrepresentation by each of the companies, the lack of quality programming, and the absence of customer service.
I recently switched from cable to satellite — I was discouraged and disappointed because popular stations are being deleted, duplicate stations of unpopular programming are rampant, and the bills keep creeping skyward. I have to say, satellite is no better, and the cable company is probably the lesser of two evils. I’m entitled to my opinion. The adage, “You get what you pay for,” does not apply.
So let’s examine the main issue here, the quality of the programs. Out of the 200-plus channels I receive on satellite, I can tolerate watching five or six channels of what they consider basic service. As a college- and pro-football fan, I made the decision to switch to satellite immediately before the bowl games. Was I privy to these games? Noooo. But, I could watch unknown teams play on the gridiron. But surely I would get my Redskins football … alas, it was not to be. I felt so violated.
So let’s go channel surfing and see what is available. Hmmmm, let’s see … here are lots of shopping networks, cooking shows, exercise/health-related documentaries, blah, blah, blah, yawn.
I have several questions for the person(s) in charge of programming decisions:
1. What is a Kardashian, and why do we want to keep up with them?
2. Why in the world would anyone want to obtain parenting advice from Snoop Dog?
3. How incredibly starved for entertainment can we be when there is a reality show where you can observe Philadelphia meter maids perform their job duties?
4. Do we really want to see plastic surgery being performed on people in their relentless pursuit of perfection? Do we enjoy watching bariatric surgery, or surgery of any kind?
5. Why do you think anyone is interested in Chinese television?
6. FYI, Tila Tequila is not an infomercial for a new kind of margarita.
7. “I Love New York” has absolutely nothing to do with the Big Apple, and should be taken off the air (along with Tila Tequila) for sheer stupidity, and programmers who made the decision to air these shows should be working in an area of expertise with which they are familiar, (i.e, “you want fries with that?”).
8. Why doesn’t Music Television play music anymore?
9. Does anyone care what Britney or Paris ate for breakfast this morning?
10. Why is HBO, a premium channel, still running “Sister Act” over and over and over and over again? Premium prices for premium channels with premium movies? How about 2008 prices for movies that are 15 to 20 years old? Does that sound more like the voice of reason? The only plus I can see with premium channels is that you aren’t inundated with so many commercials that you forget which show you were watching.
Reality shows have become so bizarre that they are no longer “reality.” Each performance pushes the envelope to see how they can be more ridiculous and perverted than their competition. I always watched television to escape from reality; now I see freak shows without any merits.
Television has been a source of entertainment in the past. I am no longer amused. (Yes, we, as women, do turn into our mothers.) The positive aspect of this whole demise is that I am spending more time with my daughter (when she’s not watching SpongeBob), more time is spent outdoors, my house is a tad cleaner, and I am enthused about reading again.
Maybe the lack of programming is a blessing in disguise. I hope it backfires on the whole industry.
Donna Miller resides in Mount Sidney.