The subtext of this unbelievably stupid article brought to us courtesy of The Incredible Shrinking Los Angeles Times, is that adultery sells on television because our society is changing to the point where we’re now warming up to the idea of marital infidelity. This is the actual subtitle of this very poorly researched piece of cultural propaganda: Cheating spouses are prevalent on prime-time TV. Blame society’s changing views on marriage and fidelity, and the shows’ need to push boundaries to succeed.
In other words, television is following society, not the other way around. Whatever. Here’s a snip:
Prime-time TV is starting to look like an ad for Ashley Madison, the online dating service for married folks, where the message is, “Life is short. Have an affair.”
To be sure, bed hopping as a plot point is nothing new. In fact, it’s as old as storytelling itself (see: the Bible). But the proliferation of adultery on TV — seemingly occurring far more frequently than in real life — could be the result of a perfect storm of cultural and sociological factors, industry veterans and sociologists say.
Among those factors: Cynicism about marriage is rampant, and about half of all marriages end in divorce, a number that’s remained steady for years. “Since the ’60s and ’70s, we’ve seen a general loosening of mores in this country and a cultural shift away from the core values of marriage, fidelity and monogamy,” said Julie Albright, a sociologist at USC. “People believe marriages don’t work anyway, so seeing affairs on TV kind of serves as a model for how things can and will go bad.”
Marriage has never been less popular. A recent Pew Research Center study found that a record-low 51% of people older than 18 in the U.S. were married in 2010, a precipitous drop from 72% in 1960. If the trend continues, married people will no longer be the majority in a few years. New marriages decreased by a sharp 5% last year, and there are fewer married people in all age groups. The biggest decline has been among 18-to-29-year-olds, from 60% a half-century ago to the current 20%, perhaps illustrating that the younger generation has little faith in getting hitched.
The Journal of Family Psychology said recently that between 20% to 25% of married Americans will stray, though some estimates put that figure as high as 60%. (The research, mind you, depends on the willingness of those participating to come clean.)
Hilariously, the LA Times uses the words “hit” and “popular” to describe these shows and yet never once mentions that you don’t see a whole lot of those shows on this pesky little ratings list. In fact, is there even one?
Because of the proliferation of the number of cable channels and the subsequent fracturing of the viewing audience, a show like “Nurse Jackie,” which receives fewer than two million viewers, can now be called a hit — I guess. But articles like this one, that avoid context like the plague, are intentionally designed to make the right-of-center majority feel like they’re in the minority. Facts be damned, the L.A. Times has crafted this nonsense to make us feel outnumbered, like we don’t have a seat at their cool kids’ table where adultery is in and marriage is as old-fashioned as a buggy whip.
Come over to the dark side. Clothing is optional.
Something else the corrupt L.A. Times intentionally refuses to reveal is that most of the “hit” shows they use to back up their argument don’t even pull in as many viewers as the top shows they’re in direct competition with on cable. Moreover, most of the top cable shows actually aren’t about pushing us closer to the sexual free-for-all the left so desires. In fact, many of them are conservative leaning in their cultural portrayals of small business owners, America, and the working class.
You want a real laugh? Cable’s number-two show, “The Closer,” is not only about a female detective willing to do most anything to put scumbags behind bars, but (at least through season five) one of her primary antagonists is a sleazy reporter from — you guessed it – The Los Angeles Times.
Rizzoli and Isles (TNT): 8.44 million
The Closer (TNT): 8.20 million
Royal Pains (USA): 7.154 million
Burn Notice (USA): 7.151 million
Covert Affairs (USA): 6.74 million
Pawn Stars (History): 6.33 million
Jersey Shore (MTV): 6.07 million
Deadliest Catch (Discovery): 5.92 million
White Collar (USA): 5.28 million
American Pickers (History): 4.98 million
In Plain Sight (USA): 4.93 million
Psych (USA): 4.87 million
Memphis Beat (TNT): 4.59 million
Hot in Cleveland (TV Land): 4.27 million
The Glades (A&E): 3.88 million
Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family): 3.25 million
American Chopper: Senior (TLC): 2.78 million
Are We There Yet? (TBS): 2.72 million
Haven (SyFy): 2.51 million
Top Shot (History): 2.47 million
Think about it; “Top Shot,” an openly patriotic show about the beauty of firearms, draws almost twice as many viewers as “Nurse Jackie,” and yet the incredibly insulated and dishonest L.A. Times is panting over how a show watched by less than one half of one percent of the American people represents a part of some new cultural zeitgeist.
To be clear, I don’t oppose storylines involving marital infidelity in television (or movies), but most of those I’ve seen portray adultery as the soul-destroying behavior it is. But that doesn’t change the fact that every point made in this subtitle….
Cheating spouses are prevalent on prime-time TV. Blame society’s changing views on marriage and fidelity, and the shows’ need to push boundaries to succeed.
Fact 1: Cheating spouses do not prevail on television — just on the shows the bubbled-up, elitist left watch.
Fact 2: The top shows on cable and broadcast television prove that infidelity and the pushing of boundaries are, in fact, not the keys to success. For if they were, “Nurse Jackie” wouldn’t be getting its nihilistic ass kicked by the gun-loving, America-loving “Top Shot.”
Here’s something else for the L.A. Times to suck on…
Another show they cite to prove their dishonest point is Showtime’s “Homeland,” in which the protagonist is a cheating spouse. The “Homeland” season finale broke ratings records with a whopping 2.03 million viewers.
Well, gasp and egads.
But did you know that ”Sarah Palin’s Alaska” enjoyed more viewers on a bad night? Palin’s bad night also beats another L.A. Times’ example, “Justified.”
Would someone please inform the L.A. Times that wishful thinking and journalism are not the same things.
NOTE: The numbers used in my ratings comparisons are apples-to-apples as far as the number of viewers who watch a new episode the night it premieres. Because most cable shows are DVR’d and broadcast more than once throughout any given week, more people will eventually see that particular episode, be it “Top Shot” or “Nurse Jackie.” Those are called “across platform” ratings, but I was only able to find those numbers for some shows, not all.
[Cross-posted from Big Hollywood]