I used to be merely asportual — completely uninterested in watching sports on TV. They strike me as excuses to not play the game (any game) and, God forbid, remain or get in shape. After all, people are not referred to as couch forwards or sofa fielders. They’re potatoes. I’m not grounded enough to be one of them. Not for ball games and definitely not for awards shows.
The Oscars and Emmys and Grammys and Golden Globes and SAG Awards and CMAs and People’s Choice and several other wastes of time have nothing to do with entertainment. Maybe the Tonys do, since Broadway actually knows how to put on a show. The rest of them? Uh-uh.
For a limited time only
What they are at their core are hours-long ads. They’re ads for the winners, and the winners spawn banner and print ads the next day touting just what was won and that you must come and see it (at a theater or online) or hear it (when you add it to your playlist or purchase and download a song).
If you’re a studio or TV or music executive, the only thing you care about is “did my movie/series/album win” because that translates into revenue. If you’re an actor or singer or arranger or mixer or costume designer or makeup artist or set decorator…, the only thing that matters is how you can parlay a win into work. You don’t need to listen to bad jokes for more than three hours.
But, as the saying goes, there’s more. Awards shows themselves are window dressing for ads — for cars, insurance, cruises, drugs, shampoos, fast food, and everything else that you don’t really need. And, yes, I’m not the target demographic for most consumer packaged goods or processed foods or cruises (where I’m trapped for weeks with people I would never spend time with on land) or pharmaceuticals that viewers neither need nor understand. That means that my viewpoint is skewed. I admit that.
Ya gotta spend money to make money
However, network executives like shows that will let them sell airtime to run all those ads, so they’re in it for the money, as well. That’s normal. All of it is in America. But the practice is way past its use-by date.
Technology exists to let me see ads just for products I care about, but no one will invest in it. The ROI’s too far in the future. And if that targeting isn’t available, the shows must be long enough to get in all the ads from all the companies that want to reach the viewers of those shows. (Whew!) And all those shows employ lots of people. And the money those people earn can buy lots of tickets to movies or online subscriptions for streaming or good seats for concerts or just a nice dinner or two. And all of those products and services employ and pay others who go out and buy the same stuff.
That’s how the economy keeps going. I get that. But until there’s any real entertainment in these show biz backpatteries, I’ll wait until the show’s off the air and get the names of the winners in three seconds online. And if there was really something that was truly worth seeing, that will be online, too, in the highlights reel.
I may be past my own prime, but the time hasn’t come when I have all those hours to waste.