The Family Friendly Programming Forum consists of several dozen major television advertisers that urge the entertainment industry to build "a commitment to and understanding of quality family entertainment." It has just announced its "Family Television Awards." To be sure, what the Forum has chosen to salute is far less offensive than so much of what is oozing out of our TV sets, but is it "family friendly"? You, dear reader, decide for yourself.
Their best drama series selection was ABC's "Lost," a gripping and popular show, but also incredibly violent. Scenes depicting torture and people being destroyed by explosives, the kind that leave pieces of flesh dangling on the shoulders of survivors, are a staple. Maybe for older teens this is acceptable. But for grade-school children? The Family Friendly Programming Forum says it is.
They awarded best comedy honors to CBS's "King of Queens," centered on a married couple living in New York. It's another popular show, and often very funny and innocent. But not always. And that's the problem: You never know what you're going to get when you turn it on. One episode this season featured the wife taking stripper pole-dancing lessons to spice up their sex life. She was always fully clothed, of course, but there was that predictably racy dialogue that accompanied the storyline. Does this qualify as family programming in your book?
The best actor was Jim Belushi of ABC's "According to Jim," and here we go again. Would you feel comfortable putting young children on the couch with a box of popcorn to watch the episode about Jim's low sperm count? Hilarity ensues when Jim's brother-in-law puts in a "sample" of his own sperm instead for testing, and the wife convinces the two that she's been impregnated with her brother's sperm.
ABC's "George Lopez Show" was honored for the "funniest family." One recent show revolved around George's mother getting breast implants. "Oh, my God, Mom! You look like you swallowed a bouncy house!" exclaims George. Later, the rest of the family is introduced to Grandma's new cleavage. "Damn, Grandma! Your boobs are huge!" says one of the children. The show ends with Grandma getting the implants out. Is this your idea of a funny family? Is this the kind of storyline children should be watching?