Monday, August 28, 2006

Argh! It's called an OFF switch!

I was reading today that NBC has apologized for Conan O'Brien's pretaped sketch at the top of last night's Emmy Awards. Off the top of the show they had a scene that parodies "Lost" where Conan is in a plane that is apparently crashing. They don't show an actual plane crash but it implies it when moments later, Conan emerges from the ocean on a beach as depicted in the TV series.

However, earlier that morning, a commuter plane crashed in Lexington, KY killing 49 of it's 50 passengers. When that sketch went to air on NBC's affiliate in Lexington, the Program Director was up in arms and felt "completely helpless" to do anything about it.

While the Emmys soldiered on, it was also the one year anniversary of hurricane Katrina. The Discovery Channels in the US and Canada ran a special on the hurricane and the mayhem that ensued, at the same time as the Emmys. My friend David, a Katrina survivor watching the special, called me in hysterics saying "it's too soon! It's too soon!" He proceeded to tell me that he called The Discovery Channel to complain. I reminded him that he had the power to make it end by simply shutting off his TV or changing the channel.

I know it sounds insensitive, but isn't society's over-sensitivity towards what airs on TV and it's apparent "timing" getting a little ridiculous? Doesn't this sudden anger towards a short bit of TV seem a bit contrived? When is it going to end? I suspect it's the same people who are calling the FCC or the CRTC (Canada's broadcasting regulator) because someone said a bad word or they accidentally saw Janet Jackson's nipple for 0.765 seconds.

People are saying that NBC was insensitive and one of their own affiliates called them "ignorant and incompetent" for airing that sketch when 49 people died in a plane crash that morning! #1 I doubt very highly that the Emmys were priority TV viewing for the families of the victims; and #2 those who were offended can just look away or turn it off. NBC shouldn't have to apologize. (Maybe they did because they're screwed enough in the ratings...Conan sang about THAT last night too.)

The same goes for Discovery's "Surviving Katrina" or any of the September 11 films that have been released recently. The sketch didn't even SHOW a plane crash and it was NOT related to that story WHATSOEVER! It was a parody of a fictional TV show. I also think the plane scene lasted only 30 seconds.

Don't get me wrong, I feel sympathy for the families involved in all those tragedies. I'm not a complete sociopath. The timing for it was maybe a little off. But planes crash every day and you have to stop and think: there are more people watching that Emmys telecast than just the population of Lexington, KY. And I doubt that, after a year, anyone who was in the chaos of hurricane Katrina was interested in seeing their bad memories played out on the small screen. So, THEY can CHOOSE to watch or shut it off. Why should the rest of us be affected because a small few are offended by it? You CAN NOT legislate and impose your beliefs on EVERYONE! We're living in a 500 channel universe...you couldn't find ANYTHING else?

My message to them: Obviously, those TV shows were made for someone else. So stop being so damn overly-sensitive to what you see on TV. You have the power to turn it off yourself without trying to impose it on the rest of us.

Don't get me started on parents who are suing MySpace because their 14 year old met a psycho-predator online. Who's parenting your children when they're online? MySpace isn't a babysitter.

(on a side note: David asked me to record "Surviving Katrina" and to burn it to a DVD so he can watch it later. Go figure.)

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