Drawing the line somewhere along ‘Gossip Girl’, ‘Hangover’
BY ROD WALTON World Staff Writer
Monday, October 08, 2012
10/08/12 at 6:57 AM
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Television, television. Thou art my friend and thou art my enemy.
Dutiful parents have a love-hate relationship when it comes to the small screen and their little kids. You can be watching ABC Family channel and something totally inappropriate pops up in the subject matter. Makes you want to scream, "Lucy, you got some 'splaining to do!"
Full disclosure: As a child my parents let me watch pretty much whatever they watched. I saw "Bonnie and Clyde" in a car at age 6 and "M*A*S*H" at age 8 and "The Godfather" at age 10. The exposure didn't do too much damage but my wife and I wanted to be a lot more protective of our children's entertainment psyches.
We don't subscribe to HBO or any other premium channels offered by our cable provider. ESPN, History, the networks and whatever you call that home improvement channel are enough to satisfy my family.
Early on, I knew that HBO, Showtime and others would get into "adult programming." I didn't want nudity and bloodletting on at 7 Wednesday night. I don't like 'splaining things if not necessary. So we don't take those and save a little money to boot. Good for us.
The cable world, however, is trying its best to keep up with the Sopranos, too. AMC and others have dived into "original programming," some of which is excellent.
But let's cut to the chase: I hate "Gossip Girl." My oldest daughters found it, fell in love with it and wanted to watch it every week it was on.
I didn't pay much attention at first. I knew "Gossip" had the beautiful Blake Lively and Leighton Meester, as well as a few male heartthrobs who didn't seem all that manly to me. It was about glitz and teenaged intrigue and whatever else.
Well-adorned junk it was, and I gritted my teeth and let it go at that. Sometime later, however, I was listening to NPR in the car and a feature came on about "Gossip Girl" throwing in a scene involving the French word for "three," and that's all I'm going to say about that.
I banned "Gossip Girl" from the weekday evening viewing schedule, telling the children the show was a little too Lively and me-me-Meester for our family culture. I felt like a righteous dad and took pride in my inward strength and leadership.
Man, do I look like a hypocrite now. A few years ago, someone in our family rented the film "The Hangover" and we turned it on for an evening showing with guests.
Wow, Phil, Stu and the gang made Blake and Leighton look like angels. I tried to grit my teeth but couldn't stop myself from laughing at the movie's events. At one point I almost stopped breathing when the little guy jumps out of the car trunk and beats the crud out of the boys in the Las Vegas desert.
Well, that was one wall that came crashing down on the Walton Censorship Board. And I was powerless to fix that collapse because, well, I loved "The Hangover."
So where do we go from here? Two of my daughters are now technically adults, or AGTSBWJs (adults going to school but without jobs), so they pretty much have to exercise their own mature discretion.
My youngest two at home are very active and don't want much television except for sports and the occasional movie. We lay down a few limits on the R-rated films but realize some of the PG-13s are just as bad.
The films we see together may not all be perfect from spiritual standpoints, but they must be either meaningful, fair-minded or funny. They cannot be pointlessly violent, sexually manipulative or mean-hearted. That's pretty much the way we roll in our cinematic homestead.
So here's my final review: "Hangover 2" was horrible and I'm just glad it's the final season for "Gossip Girl." I'm sure other challenges await, but the kids got to grow up sometime.