Writers’ Workshop: Entertainment, Schmentertainment…

Image by Devon Breen from Pixabay

Today is my 65th birthday, or as I like to think of it, the 30th anniversary of the entertainment industry not caring what I like.

Seriously: the key demographic for the folks in Hollywood and New York is people from the ages of 16-35. Everything is geared to them: movies, TV, music, art, even theater is geared to those born between 1986 and 2005. If you were born before that and like what the 16-35’s like, great, if not, well, go watch In The Heat Of The Night reruns and shut up, Gramps.

Do I sound upset by this? Because I’m not. I knew the day would come when I’d turn on the TV and find nothing I’d like, turn on the radio and hear nothing but noise, look at the movie listings and see remakes of movies that were remakes of movies that were remakes of movies which, in true Telephone fashion, completely miss the point of the original. Or they’re movies based on some kids’ cartoon, or a comic book, or on a video game, or on a TV show that I watched 50 years ago as seen through the eyes of some twentysomething screenwriter who got the whole thing wrong because his idea of research was to binge-watch all seven seasons while playing with his phone the entire time…

We looked at what our parents had, decided we didn’t want it, and built something different. Our kids didn’t like what we had and started building their own thing. Their kids will do the same thing. To its eternal credit, technology has intervened to give all of us what we want. When we didn’t have a choice — when there were five TV stations in a market, 15 radio stations, and one movie theater in town — we were very interested in current trends in entertainment. Now, who cares? I don’t. I don’t have to. There are plenty of alternatives, and more are on the way. Stay tuned.

29 thoughts on “Writers’ Workshop: Entertainment, Schmentertainment…

  1. Happy belated birthday!
    I agree, there’s nothing good on TV and I don’t care. I think the last time we watched anything on TV, it was the Super Bowl.


  2. Belated happy birthday. So much not to like in modern culture. I’m thankful for sources like TCM so I can watch movies more my age. Music? I’m pretty much stuck in the past for the most part and that’s okay by me. A lot of the new stuff sounds alike. My father probably thought the same about my music when I was younger, but now it really is true.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


    1. I heard that a number of cable systems are taking TCM out of their Baasic package and bundling it with other movie services into a premium package. No doubt a lot of people would pay the extra money for it, but it goes against the whole idea Turner had when he added the channel. Evidently it wouldn’t be that big of a deal to give subscribers the ability to go full automat (let them choose what channels they want and pay for them a la carte), though it would be a hassle for them. I think in ten years everything will be streaming, where you have some live TV and video on demand.

      Thanks for the birthday wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nothing is new, everything is a circle. The younger generation always think the have invented something new!


  4. It never occurred to me that this might happen! I’m going to think of this blog post when I’m 65 and can’t find anything entertaining at all and I’m going to be like “JOHN WAS RIGHT!” Maybe I’ll make my own videos for people my age and turn our collective boredom with the industry into a profit for myself. πŸ˜‰ HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!


    1. That’s what YouTube is about, making your own videos for people your age and turning boredom into profit?

      Seriously, so much of what I like now was what I liked 50 years ago, and the best part is, it hasn’t gone away. So, the radio doesn’t play the music I like, I have a lifetime supply of the music I like, and Spotify, Apple Music, TuneIn, Pandora, iHeart and YouTube have what I don’t. There’s nothing new that I want to see on TV, but the subchannels (the .2, .3 etc. channels that local stations add) carry a lot of vintage programming, and the streaming services have the rest. There’s no lack of entertainment available that I do like, so I don’t care that there’s nothing “new” aimed at me: I still have a of “old” stuff I haven’t watched…

      Thanks for the birthday wishes. Honestly, if I knew I was going to live this long, I’d’ve taken better care of myself…


  5. Happy birthday! I’m about to (only) turn 42 and but know exactly what you mean about music and movies. Sometimes I reference 80s and 90s classics and my 18 year old students stare at me. When pressed, they say they don’t even know what I am talking about. Clearly, their parents have failed them!


    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes! And happy birthday to you, whenever it is (over the weekend?)

      It could be the “you can lead a horse to water…” thing. The parents might have tried to introduce the kids to the music and TV, but the kids weren’t interested, and you really can’t force a kid to watch a TV show or listen to a style of music the way you can force them to take a bath or go to bed. Best you can do is show them what’s available and hope that they take the bait.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You should post this on Next Door, the official outlet for grumpy old men, hypersensitive suburban moms, and people with Ring videos of strangers on their porch.

    All these damn streaming services means that what you want to watch is on some service you don’t subscribe to and basic cable is reduced to reruns of shows that were reruns when I was a kid or cooking shows or real estate shows.

    I join you on the anniversary of your birth to proclaim: β€œhey you kids, get off of my lawn!”


    1. We tried Next Door, and what a miserable experience that was…

      We’re at the point where we don’t watch that much TV: Jeopardy, Andy Griffith and Hogan’s Heroes on weeknights, Columbo reruns on the weekends. Mary occasionally will subscribe to Britbox when there’s something she wants to see. I watched an old Perry Mason on Pluto this morning while I was having my leg compressed. I spent about three hours at the dentist getting a crown replaced (he was able to make the crown right there, so I don’t have to go back) and they watch HGTV, which is actually kind of interesting when you’re having your tooth fixed.



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