Perhaps Western civilization is in a post-decline phase, or maybe the decline is just taking a really long time, like the Roman Empire's did. The Romans had gladiators and Christian-hungry lions and that sort of thing. We have MTV.
You don't hear TV cops griping because they have to enforce some Draconian law that shouldn't be on the books in the first place, or lamenting vindictive excesses in sentencing. Hollywood, supposedly a frothing cauldron of liberalism, has always been conservative on crime.
A fellow with the inventiveness of Albert Einstein but with the attention span of Daffy Duck.
Your humble critic confesses that he has been wrestling with 'weight issues' since leaving college lo these, uh, several years ago, so it's hard to be receptive to the moralistic scolding and patronizing encouragement offered endlessly by the allegedly well-meaning.
In the best traditions of American comedy, from its beginnings through the crash-bang comedies of the 1990s and 2000s, Leslie Nielsen skewered the otherwise proper, did it with mischievous delight and convulsed audiences mercilessly.
'Leave It to Beaver,' which ran from 1957 until 1963, was one of the strangest, sweetest, most distinctive domestic sitcoms of television's celebrated Golden Age.
Maybe Larry Kings cannot thrive or even survive in a world where the norms for discourse are rage, vehemence and character assassination. King wanted to be liked, not feared; admired, not loathed.
You know you're getting older when - well, first off, when you read almost any story that begins 'You know you're getting older when.' But you also know it when you not only never heard of the musical guest on a given 'Saturday Night Live' but never heard of the host, either.
'American Idol' is sometimes lumped with reality shows and it has that element - folks-next-door battling it out in a contest. But instead of fighting leeches, bugs, parasites and each other, as on CBS's 'Survivor' and other shows that imitate it, the 'American Idol' contestants, of course, sing.
Why, on my mother's birthday, am I thinking about 'Father Knows Best?' At our house, mother knew best at least as often as father did, but then the title of the old sitcom, a homogenized portrait of American family life, was meant to be slightly sardonic.
People of a certain age look back on the Mayberry of 'The Andy Griffith Show' and become almost as homesick for that simple fictional hamlet as they do for their own home towns.
Perhaps unscripted reality shows and written fiction have already blurred together into some new amalgamated mush, just as the line between commercials and programs has been trashed.
The once inviolate frame within which programs or commercials were displayed on television - always separately - has been violated to a pulp. Program content is seen increasingly as a mere backdrop on which ads are posted like billboards on a fence.
Larry King's show got to be an increasingly lonely outpost of humane civility in a mephitic menagerie of hotheads, saber rattlers, cretins and crackpots.
Tom Snyder was big enough to fill the night with talk and his own persona. The Snyder we saw on TV was not a replica of the real guy; it was the real guy.
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