ABC has some explaining to do
by Michael Howlett
How many of you out there watch the ABC Family Channel ? The Mistress of the Manor and I watched a movie on that channel a few weeks ago and, as one might expect, the channel was promoting its other offerings during the numerous commercials. The reason I bring this up is, if ABC is promoting itself as a family channel, why in the name of Art Linkletter does every show have a lurid title. Oh, by the way, the movie we watched on the family channel was “Burlesque.” Now, I’m sure we will all agree that “Burlesque” is right up there with “Mary Poppins” and “Finding Nemo” as family fare.
After seeing an abundance of promos for shows such as “Pretty Little Liars” and “The Lying Game,” I sought out the channel’s web site to see what other family-friendly shows were available. I found quite a list, including “Twisted,” “Switched at Birth,” “Secret Life,” “Baby Daddy,” and “Greek.”
Now, I could be wrong, but when something is advertised as being family oriented, I thought that meant it was appropriate for all members of the family. However, ABC apparently has other families in mind, possibly the Manson family, the Gambino family, or the Borgia family. In fact, I think it might well be the Borgias that ABC modeled their family fare on.
The Borgia family, you see, was a family prominent during the Renaissance in Italy; prominent enough to produce three Popes. I think their names were Sodomy III, Baby Daddy I and Pedophile II. Anyway, they were suspected of a litany of crimes, including adultery, theft, rape, bribery, incest, and murder. They were particularly fond of poisoning their enemies with arsenic. In fact, in addition to being remembered for their corrupt rule, their name has become a synonym for treachery and poisoners.
Now, with all the talk about the problems that stem from the broken family unit, I’m a little surprised that ABC Family features shows about lying, unmarried men who father babies, and fraternities. The last time I checked, fraternities were primarily interested in two things; drinking and helping young women become unwed mothers. I don’t know what the show “Twisted” is about. It could be about a serial killer that eats his victims, or Rush Limbaugh, I’m not sure. “Switched at Birth” might be about a Jewish child that is raised as a Muslim with the reversal being true for the other child. “Secret Life” lends itself to so many lurid ideas that it boggles the mind. Don’t get me wrong, I can think of all kinds of lurid ideas, but I don’t want to give the ABC Family Channel any more ideas.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for censorship. I don’t think TV, movies, music, literature or video games makes any individual do something that they are not already predisposed to do. No TV show or any other form of entertainment is going to make someone a serial killer unless that person already has it in himself to begin with. However, I also believe in honesty in advertising.
To give you an idea of what kind of tragedy ABC’s dishonesty could result in, let’s look at this scenario. A mother and father are watching TV in the den, while their 12-year-old daughter is watching TV in her room. The mother decides to check on little Brittany to see if she’s okay. She walks to upstairs and knocks on Brittany’s door.
“Honey, what are you doing,” she asks.
“Watching TV, mom,” says Brittany.
“Which program are you watching, honey,” says mom as she walks into the room.
“It’s called Pretty Little Lying Sluts Club. It’s on the ABC Family Channel. You see, Chelsey is pregnant, but since she had sex with four boys on the same night, she’s not sure who’s the father,” answers little Brittany.
Mother promptly faints, falls down the stairs and dad is left to raise little Brittany all by himself. He then begins to drink heavily, leaving little Brittany on her own. Before long little Brittany, left to her own devices and influenced by AB C programming, becomes a member of the Pretty Little Lying Sluts Club.
This tragic story could have been avoided if only ABC was more truthful. Maybe, just maybe, ABC needs to rethink the family label and go with something like the ABC Dysfunctional Channel or, at least, the ABC Wayward Youth Channel.
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