Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Decency Groups Warn of Trashy Fall TV Line-up

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Television watchdog groups are warning that the line up of prime-time shows the major networks are set to trot out this fall are trashier than ever, with over-sexualized content the increasing norm. Matt Philbin of the Culture and Media Institute (CMI) told CBN News: “It’s clear that Hollywood is out of ideas when it comes to sit-coms and prime-time dramas. Everything now has to focus on sex.” Philbin noted that there are several new shows “where entire plots depend on characters having had hook-ups, characters having bad relationships and going out to find rebound sex.”

Analyzing a handful of the network’s raunchiest offerings, CMI’s Erin Brown noted that the upcoming prime-time season will include shows “about immature bachelors hooking up before they grow up, the 1960s’ playboy bunnies, and navigating the pitfalls of a one-night-stand with your coworker….”

Among the programs Brown highlighted in her analysis of the fall TV lineup:

Free Agents. This NBC sit-com set to debut September 14th “follows the lives of two PR professionals, after they have a drunken one-night stand,” wrote Brown. “The coworkers (played by Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn) attempt to steer through the messy complications of a professional relationship in the aftermath. While this could make for some funny awkward moments, an alcohol-fueled evening full of regret is just a sad premise for a series.”

Whitney. Another new fall NBC sit-com, this highly sexualized show is based on the “humor” of comedienne Whitney Cummings, whose act, judging from You-Tube videos — and even clips on her own website — is based exclusively on gutter-level set-ups.

New Girl. One of FOX’s new fall shows, this sit com, wrote Brown, “stars Zooey Deschanel as a sweet, but dramatic, recently dumped woman who ends up getting a new apartment with three guys who vow to help her rebound.” Without going into specifics, the show appears to hinge on the main character’s efforts to engage in random sexual relationships after discovering her boyfriend involved with another woman.

One upcoming fall show that has been particularly targeted by decency groups is NBC’s The Playboy Club, (photo above) which boils down to a prime-time glamorization of the “gentlemen’s club” popularized in the 1960s and ’70s through Hugh Hefner’s pornographic empire. Patrick Trueman, president of Morality in Media, noted that since the 1950s Hefner’s Playboy magazine “has pushed a philosophy which dictated that, to the ‘sophisticated man,’ the female is a mere toy to be used, abused, and discarded.” That self-centered philosophy “has inflicted unimaginable harm to our society, now documented by years of research,” added Trueman. “The harms of pornography include addiction of children and adults, violence against women, sexual trafficking, increased child pornography, destruction of marriages, and so much more.”

As reported by The New American, a group called the Coalition for the War on Illegal Pornography, led by Morality in Media, “said the show is nothing more than a pornographic attack on families and the culture that should never see the light of day.” The coalition, made up of such groups as Focus on the Family, the Alliance Defense Fund, the Family Research Council, and Concerned Women for America (to name just a few), said in a press release that “NBC is contributing to the sexual objectification and exploitation of women and encouraging greater acceptance of pornography with its soon-to-be-aired series.” The Parents Television Council added to the attack, charging that The Playboy Club is little more than a “blatant attempt to obliterate any remaining standards of broadcast decency.”

CMI’s Brown noted that Morality in Media “created an online petition to discourage viewers from watching the show. Even famous liberal feminist Gloria Steinem has echoed the calls for a boycott. The real Playboy Club, she said, was ‘the tackiest place on earth.’”

Finally, one of the most popular prime-time shows among teens—and one of the most troubling in terms of sexual content—will begin its third season this fall. FOX’s Glee, a “sex-filled primetime show about Ohio high school students in glee club,” wrote Brown, “has, in its first two seasons, celebrated lesbian sex experiments, drunken hook ups, masturbation, and unwanted gay-smooching.” The alarming aspect about the show is that, while it is portrayed in the media as a harmless, fun-filled program the whole can enjoy, the truth is far different. Noted CMI’s Matt Philbin: “The problem with Glee is that it is marketed as this fun, family friendly musical romp. But the romp is really in the bedroom. Sex is a major theme throughout, as is homosexuality.”

Commenting on the new crop of sleazy shows set for broadcast into homes across America this fall, Philbin said that “the networks have been feeding us a steady diet of this for years now, and every new season it gets a lit bit more outrageous.” Noting that the trashy shows represent the actual worldview of many of the movers and shakers calling the shots in Hollywood, he said the end result is “a combination of viewers being de-sensitized” to years of increasingly inappropriate programming, and Hollywood “giving us what they see as the normal world.”

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