Perhaps TV critic Lowry doesn't watch much television. On March 22, the CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men" made oversexualized, amoral monkeys out of both its lead characters. The "good" one, Jon Cryer's character, starts taking money for giving sexually gratifying massages to a female patient in his chiropractor's office until he gets sexually involved with the patient. Viewers repeatedly hear orgasms through the door. The bad one, Charlie Sheen's character, mends a relationship with his girlfriend over the phone -- in between cheating episodes with a different woman, who urges him to ignore the phone call "for another hour."
Or take the show "Supernatural" on the CW network. On March 25, they aired an ultraviolent episode with zombies being shot in the head, with blood splattering the ceiling, and if (since?) that isn't enough, zombie brains even "artfully" glop on the camera. Then there's the scene involving the sheriff's young son, recently resurrected from the grave. His mother is on the phone with the doctor when she hears a commotion in the other room. She enters to find her zombie son hovering over her slaughtered husband. Blood is everywhere. The son's mouth is covered in his father's guts.
Just how far from "Bonanza" do we need to go?
Somehow, there is never a need for a limit to new lows, not even a slight tap on the brakes. To do so is to interfere with the march of progress. Lowry falls back on the usual pro-Hollywood platitudes about how the fuddy-duddies are losing because of the "considerable demand for Hollywood's product in the U.S. and abroad," and any kind of advocacy for restraining extreme content is an "impotent process" due to rapidly evolving entertainment technologies. In other words, let it be.
Lowry's only new argument is a truly bizarre one. He suggests the massive box-office success of the movie "Avatar" shows the people's opposition to tea party conservatives. ("Kids, I can't stand Sarah Palin! Let's go see 'Avatar'!")
Lowry urges these two social movements he doesn't like to just wave the white flag and surrender: "In either case, wishing and hoping isn't enough to hold back the flood waters. Although history indicates that opponents can erect the occasional breakwater, it never holds for very long."
Lowry even argues nothing really important is lost when Hollywood sleaze is inevitably triumphant. Like their loser compatriots in the tea party movement, he guesses Hollywood critics must recognize in their "private moments" that "there's little use in crying over spilt tea."
At least the political opponents of the tea parties can argue there is something constructive in their spending schemes -- insuring the uninsured, correcting global warming, and the like. Hollywood sleaze merchants have nothing constructive to offer in their attempts to shock and titillate. They promise only to corrupt the uncorrupted.