“Viva Laughlin” was canned by CBS after two episodes. You didn’t hear about it? Not to worry, most people never saw it. After all, if you’re gonna make a show that competes against Sunday Night Football, why not make it a song and dance drama about a casino? Sounds like a sure winner to me.

I bring up that show to point to a greater issue in today’s television culture. No longer are we given shows that steer toward real issues, but rather ones that stay safe by not doing or saying anything out of line.

Part of the problem has been the recent FCC crackdown (as illustrated beautifully by a “Family Guy” episode), but also in part because, apparently, Americans have no stomach for tough issues on TV anymore. Anything with a hint of problems, like a planned made-for-TV Hitler movie,

has drawn criticism and ridicule from the public. Dramas don’t make us cry, comedies don’t really make us laugh.

Take, for example, the Monday night lineup on CBS. It’s dubbed “laugh out loud television” solely because all the shows have a laugh track. If, instead, you found yourself merely giggling like a Japanese schoolgirl at a Hello Kitty convention, you’re not alone.

Reality TV, on the other hand, seems to be picking up steam again. It’s been a tough couple years for the genre, with “Survivor: Antarctica” having its worst ratings yet. Actually, I’m lying; I have no idea where Survivor is this year.

It has become fashionable to bash the trashy shows on the air, but listen to this: if no one watched the shows, they wouldn’t be on. It’s simple Darwinism.

Take, for instance, “I Love New York.” The show is about a group of guys trying to win the affections of a girl who lost on a previous reality love show because she was deemed a slutty bitch. By all accounts, the show should’ve been axed probably around the second episode. Everyone I know said the show was just an awful excuse to burn 30 minutes of programming. Yet, it just started on its second season. The logical conclusion is that those who trashed the show are nothing more than a bunch of hypocrites. If you’re trashing a show, do so with a clear conscience.

You may think that I’m trying to get TV to go back to the days of family-oriented programming. Not true. I enjoy many shows on today, including “Two and a Half Men” about a divorced dad and Charlie Sheen. It’s the constant waffling by the viewers that I am speaking of. The viewers like “Men” but don’t like “Skin” (basically a show about naked people), they liked “The OC” but hated Janet Jackson’s boob.

Make up your mind. Either allow the networks to air controversial topics or make them clean up their act across the board. Keep politics out of television.

Maystrovsky is a member of the class of 2009.



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