Get it together, New Year's Eve T.V.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

I've never been huge on the NYE thing, but watching the ball drop in Times Square is an American tradition.  I stayed up until midnight with some close friends, and as we flipped around on the major networks before midnight, I was slapped in the face by the crassness that is our media culture.  

I am not going to go into why I follow Pat Sajak on Twitter (because I don't really even go on Twitter or tweet), but I do and he is hilarious.  So you should follow him too.  And by the way, his tweet about New Year's Eve is spot on.

On NBC, Carson Daly was sitting with Jane Lynch, the guy from Hang Time,  and an apparent actress/comedian, Natasha Leggero (who I've never heard of).  To fill the half-hour before midnight, Daly's gang were giving "comedic" commentary on celebrity twitter pictures from the last year.  This included making fun of a shirtless Giraldo Rivera.  I believe the comment may have been, "nobody wants that head".  Justin Bieber's raised eyebrow was a talking point, along with the wood-paneled hospital room he was lying in.  Yes, people were actually discussing wood paneling in a Justin Bieber twitter picture in the final minutes of 2013.  And of course, no NYE would be complete without mocking Pearl Harbor Veterans.  

Did these people learn nothing from the whole Melissa Harris-Perry debacle just two days earlier?  You know, where time was allotted to caption Mitt Romney's family photo.  Race was brought up (surprise!), and Romney's adopted, African-American grandson was the victim of the jokes.

I just don't get it.  When did the media decide that this is how we spend our time?  These are the people who protest bullying and preach tolerance, but set a special time in their program to ridicule people.  The hypocrisy is astounding.

I didn't see as much of ABC's New Year's Rockin Eve, but I do know that Miley Cyrus was performing, and that in and of itself is cause for concern.  And of course Jenny McCarthy making out with someone.  Who is apparently her boyfriend, Donnie Wahlberg (I had to do research to figure that out.  Sad).

As a parent, I am thankful that my children are too young to stay up to watch the ball drop, and I bet I'm not alone.  I don't want to have to use every TV viewing as an opportunity to teach morality to my child.  "That wasn't very nice was it?  No, it's not right to make fun of others.  I don't know why they're spending time doing that." or "They are kissing because they love each other.  I don't know why they're using their tongues."  Sometimes I just want to watch mainstream TV during family events and be able to enjoy it.  I have enough teachable moments in my day!  

So if this New Year's Eve wasn't a sign of a soon-to-be Apocalypse, I hope the execs at NBC and ABC will consider avoiding the following in next year's NYE programs:
  • Sitting in a circle making fun of people (FYI: celebrities are people too.)
  • Miley Cyrus or any performer who is famous simply for showing poor judgement.  (Licking a tool used in demolitions may be used as a litmus test.)
  • Jenny McCarthy supposedly searching for someone to make out with.

If not, I hope they at least let us know in advance, so I can be sure my kids watch a different channel.  

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