Does anyone else see this in here?
Does anyone else see something in here or am I just reading into something that isn’t there?
By Jill Serjeant
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Television audiences who thought the ladies of "Desperate Housewives" were troubled haven’t seen anything yet.
When ABC premieres its new sitcom "Hank" during the season that starts in September, the show’s out-of-work CEO joins a growing list of American male characters taking extreme measures to cope with recession, unemployment, housing troubles and soaring medical costs.
"Leading characters are doing things that a generation ago would never have been the activities of the protagonist of a TV show," said Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University.
"You could argue that when you have lost your job, the last thing in the world you want is to watch TV about people losing their jobs. But as it’s a recession, TV executives think people want to see stuff about relevant issues, so they develop these kind of shows," Thompson said.
On "Hank," Wall Street big shot Hank Pryor (Kelsey Grammer) loses his job, sells his fancy New York apartment, moves to Virginia and must learn to make his own toast.
He follows in the footsteps of high school basketball coach Ray Drecker on HBO’s new series "Hung," who finds himself divorced, broke and homeless, so he reluctantly decides to market himself as a gigolo to keep from having to live in a small tent on the grounds of his burned-down house.
And then there is chemistry teacher Walt White in critics’ darling "Breaking Bad" on AMC, who suffers from terminal cancer and faces massive medical bills, so he uses his chemistry skills to cook up and sell the drug crystal meth.
LAUGHTER IN TOUGH TIMES
"I think the story is very relatable in this economic climate where people find themselves without health insurance, without a job, and wondering what they are going to do and how they are going to provide for their family," said actor Bryan Cranston, who won an Emmy for playing Walt after the show’s first season last year.
I’m not sure what you’re getting at, but I think that I would disagree with the professor quoted in the article. During a recession (depression, but hey, that’s just my opinion), rather than not wanting to see people who have lost their jobs, I don’t want to see any lifestyles of the rich and famous type stuff. So, this is at least a recognition that something’s changed.
And actually, Hung is a much better show than I’d thought it would be. (Yes, I do watch a little tv now and again — everyone has their vice .)
One thing I’ve noticed is that the commercials seem to be pushing spending a little bit more like the "good old days" rather than a few months ago when the car companies were openly talking about not repossessing people’s cars if they lost their jobs. The first time I saw one of those ads I almost fell out of my chair.
It’s the only "reality" that is left out there to make a show for the new season. Hey, misery loves company and after all once it is made primetime on TV it makes everything all right! It will be the new lifestyle of the once rich and famous.
Maybe I’m just reading into something that isn’t really there. Marsh read this to me while I was reading another article and I kept hearing "health insurance" and "medical bills". Probably just me being hyper media sensative. I shun tv and have to drag myself through reading ariticle not written by a blogger.
I don’t think you’re very far off base. Bring back the Stooges!!! Dang, I’m just computer illiterate enough to not be able to insert a pic!
Davos, now I get what you’re saying. I think you might be reading too much into it because only one of the shows seems to have a character with health issues and no insurance. But, note that perhaps an underlying message of two out of three of these shows is that the only way for the "average guy" to make ends meet is to do something illegal. They are "forced" to break the law due to unfortunate circumstances. Weren’t gangster movies pretty popular during the last Depression? I don’t sit around watching tv all the time, but I am interested in what popular culture either thinks we want — or wants us to think.
I think the bunk here is that a Fraud Street executive lost his job and is now on pseudo skid row.
Davos. It’s not a reality-based show at all.
Now if Kelsey Gramer played a Detriot auto worker then it might be more believable.
Call me a tin hatter, but I see manipulation.