PBS on thin ice
by By Michael Howlett
Now, the Mistress of the Manor and I don’t normally watch much PBS. You know why, we don’t need no stinkin’ culture, that’s why. We’ve got more stinkin’ culture than we can use now.
The only show I like that PBS shows on a regular basis is “Austin City Limits,” while the Mistress of the Manor is a fan of “Antiques Roadshow.” And, no, we don’t watch “Downton Abbey.” I don’t think anybody really watches that show, people just like to say they do so as to exhibit an air of culture. If I want British culture, I’ll watch “Monty Python.” That’s my type of culture.
That doesn’t mean I can’t be proper and refined. I’m a former thespian so I can fake it if the need arises. I’m just glad the need doesn’t arise much because I’d rather be myself, lewd, crude and, if the Mistress of the Manor and I are playing “Shipwrecked,” nude.
It seems like PBS is always trying to pass off some dry-as-dirt British offering as entertainment, or it’s showing some supposed educational show, such as “Why Rocks are Hard,” “Stanley Pys: The Forgotten Physicist,” or “The History of Salt.” I know if I get hit in the head with a rock, I’m going to bleed; I know that I shouldn’t eat too much salt; and as for Stanley Pys, there was a dark side to the man that involved Dalmatian puppies and lard that PBS conveniently left out of the program.
Recently, however, the Mistress of the Manor and I have been watching PBS because they have been having a “festival.” It should be noted that the word festival in the PBS vernacular is a synonym for fundraiser, but, hey, that’s okay, because at least they’re not showing “Jimmy Dean, sausage king or savior?”
Now, my favorite festival show was “60s Girl Grooves.” Yes, the show had all the big names of the girl group era and my three favorite girl groups, The Supremes, Ronnie Specter and the Ronnettes and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. “Rock, Pop and Doo Wop” was very good as well, and, of course, we watched “Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii,” which was originally shown live in 1973. Now, I’m not a big Elvis fan, but I’ve got to admit, after watching that program, that he was quite a showman. We also watched a little of the Ralph Stanley program, but it was mainly interviews and very little music, so we cut out early on that one.
We also opted out on “Dr. Fuhrman’s Immunity Solution!” despite the exclamation mark in the title, “Salute to Vienna” since I already knew more about sausage than I cared to know, and “Doc Martin,” which was presumably a two-hour documentary on boots.
Of course, any two-hour program includes numerous commercial breaks so PBS can beg for money, which usually cuts the actual program down to about 32 minutes. During these pleas for donations, a PBS spokesman constantly reminded viewers that only their donations kept these kinds of programs on the air.
What the spokesman didn’t say was that these types of programs are only shown during the “festival.” The rest of the time, viewers are subjected to programs like “Edgar Bowles: The Forgotten Bee Gee “or “White Shoes: How They Changed History,” or “Wilfred Brimley: Crazy or Misunderstood.”
So, as one might expect by what I’ve written so far, I sent PBS nothing. If PBS wants my money, they are going to have to offer more of the kinds of programs, especially musically, that touch my soul on a regular basis.
Now, I know PBS has a program called “Great Performances,” but that usually involves opera, ballet, classical music, or torture in the form of a Kenny G concert. As I said earlier, I don’t need no more stinkin’ culture.
So, PBS, here’s the deal. If your regular programming … I repeat, regular programming … begins to reflect my likes, I’ll come across with some cash. If not, you can forget it. And, if you show, “Lynching: Time-Honored Tradition, or Form of Social Protest” one more time, you, PBS, are going to get slapped with a parental block.
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