Matter of Laugh or Death
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
THE BLEEPIN’ OSBOURNES: LOVELY BLEEPIN’ ROLE MODELS
Is anyone besides me confused about all the hype over “The Osbournes”? The hottest show on television right now—MTV’s most successful program ever—is a “reality series” chronicling the daily lives of a middle-aged, burnt out, foul-mouthed heavy metal rock star and his equally foul-mouthed and soon to be equally burnt out bratty family.
I just don’t get it. If I want to see people on TV struggling to form simple sentences, I’ll watch the suspects on “Cops” trying to explain why they really shouldn’t be arrested. (Or I’ll tune in for the post-game interviews with professional athletes.)
The media is currently fawning all over The Osbournes. We are told that Ozzy Osbourne is the new Ozzie Nelson, the quintessential TV dad. Good ol’ Ozzy is just a typical father trying hard to raise his family in the modern world. Of course, you need to expand the definition of “typical” to include being referred to as “the prince of darkness,” biting the heads off of live bats on stage, advocating devil-worship, having tens-of-millions of dollars in the bank, and possessing no more than six functioning brain cells.
In recent weeks, a day has not gone by without a major news story about the Osbournes: the Osbournes sign on for a second season of shows; the Osbournes hobnob with President Bush at the White House correspondent’s dinner; the Osbournes ink a $3 million book deal with Simon & Schuster; the Osbournes have their first coherent thought since 1974; etc., etc.
We are also told the Osbournes have some interesting new fans. Former first lady Barbara Bush reportedly enjoys the show. (And I always thought it was Betty Ford who guzzled paint thinner while in the White House.) It kind of makes you wonder exactly how Dubya and Jeb were raised.
Former vice president Dan Quayle is also a fan. (He probably relates to the six brain cells, struggling-to-form-sentences aspect of the program.) Quayle was quoted as saying he likes the show because it demonstrates to the youth of America what can happen if you abuse drugs. Right Dan. I’m sure the youth of America at this very moment are having thoughtful discussions about Ozzy’s misfiring synapses and reduced cognitive skills, and are completely unimpressed by the fact that Ozzy is rich, famous, and constantly on television. You know kids—they never emulate the bad habits of famous celebrities.
The final straw for me was a Mother’s Day story in the newspaper a couple weeks ago listing the top ten TV moms of all time. Number one on the list? You guessed it: Sharon Osbourne. The writer explained: “This mom and rock-star manager may let her kids cuss up a storm, but watch five minutes of MTV’s reality hit and you’ll have no doubt who runs the show in this family, on or off stage.”
Yes, it’s true, Sharon is in charge. As the only family member not spoiled rotten or ravaged by decades of drug abuse, she is by default the boss. But it’s not much of an achievement to be the leader only because everyone else is incapable of managing a task more complex than when to use the bathroom.
I must admit I have not watched a complete episode. After five minutes of viewing, I was not, as the newspaper writer expected, impressed by Sharon’s leadership skills. Instead, I was thoroughly depressed and fearful about the future of America. After 15 minutes, I was finally compelled to change the channel to something more uplifting and hopeful, such as the ongoing carnage in the Middle East.
Maybe I’m blowing things out of proportion. Maybe the popularity of “The Osbournes” is not the death knell of civilized culture. Maybe it’s just a passing fad and no more than an example of the voyeuristic curiosity of human nature. (After all, George Washington, an upstanding citizen if ever there was one, was known to slow down occasionally and gaze at car wrecks on the Interstate.)
However, I do miss the old fashioned TV families. The strong and confident father figure. The mom who is always wise and helpful. The eager children hoping to be successful and follow in dad’s footsteps. Thankfully it won’t be long before we can watch the next season of “The Sopranos.”
|Home||Current Faith||Current Funnies||Faith Archive||Funnies Archive||Contact Bill|