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Please, take me back to Mayberry

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By Camille McClanahan

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had just about enough ‘reality’ TV. What kind of voyeuristic society have we become?

They say it all started with “Survivor.” We Grant Countians loved watching our own rugged Rodger Bingham, aka Kentucky Joe, maneuver the Australian Outback. After that episode, the shows have become increasingly provocative.

The hit parade of reality shows is too numerable to list, but I’ll highlight a few: “Jon & Kate Plus 8”—now minus Jon; “Keeping Up with the Kardashians;” “Hoarding: Buried Alive;” “Real Housewives of—a variety of cities and “Jersey Shore.” Recently, I’ve seen advertisements for the Ryan and Tatum O’Neal show—a father daughter train wreck that is beginning on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve got to admit something: I got a little hooked on the Judds—final—final tour, and just knowing they traveled with their personal therapist says a lot. “Swamp People” drew me in; but, “Hoarding: Buried Alive” down right scared me and I’ve started giving away some personal possessions.

But it’s not just reality shows, even the ‘who done it?’ shows have taken reality to the nth degree. Personally, I’d rather not see a purplish body stretched out on a slab during an autopsy. I don’t want to see a body sliced like salami. And how much blood do we have to see to get into a mystery? I just don’t need it. Give me an episode of “Murder She Wrote” or “Matlock” any day. I admit they’re predictable—but no less entertaining and shows like that have all gone by the wayside.

The truth is, it’s like coming upon an accident along the highway of life—you really don’t want to see the carnage—but sometimes you just can’t help but gawk.

I’ve heard people excoriate the “Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” which ran from 1952 to 1966, because they were “unrealistic.” To quote Wikipedia (not usually a good source for journalistic integrity, but it hits the mark here), “By the mid 1960s, America’s social climate was changing, and the Nelsons’ all American nuclear family epitomized the 1950s values and ideals that were quickly becoming a thing of the past.”

How sad is that?—the American nuclear family—1950s values and ideals—a thing of the past.

What’s wrong with portraying the traditional American nuclear family—where the parents don’t have affairs and the kids don’t say the name of God as a curse word? Maybe it’s not true to life—but, what’s wrong with having an ideal?

So, take me back to Mayberry—to the Andy Griffith Show, where the most racy episode was when Aunt Bee met up with a traveling medicine man and got tipsy on  his elixir.

There is a reason that some of these old shows are still popular today—they’re funny without profanity, they’re interesting without nudity or violence to the max.

Not to be preachy, but the Bible says: “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify (1 Corinthians 10:23).” Even if you don’t believe the Bible, it’s difficult to argue that Snooki’s “Jersey Shore” sprees edify the spirit.

We all need some down time—and TV is a way of unwinding, but watching other people’s dysfunctional dilemmas is not edifying and may actually be eroding our culture.

(Linda Lawrence is the editorial assistant for the Grant County News. She can be reached at gcneditorial@grantky.com.)