Celebrity Smackdown: TV Families

If they did a remake, it would need to be on HBO and would have incest, drug use and psychosis. Neato!

          We are constantly evolving. As a species, we have increased our intelligence, expanded our ability to multitask and developed our understanding of the universe and ourselves. Anyone who doesn’t believe in the theory of evolution cannot argue that things have changed and your kids ability to manipulate electronics is something akin to a savant next to how you fumbled and cursed your way through the learning curve. Our kids will never say they are not into electronics because they have evolved. But, what the hell does this have to do with what do you do when your family and friends are more f’d up then you? And, how is this going to be a celebrity smack down?

          Lee says: When I started the Celebrity Smackdown, it was with the idea that the media affects our understanding of relationships. After watching years worth of television and movies along with reading sappy stories, you are programmed to think of coupling and parenting in a certain way. For example, we all watched the Brady Bunch and learned that a parent’s job is to sit with their child and give them morality lessons while our parents were sending us to our rooms, grounding us until the bicentennial or spanking us with whatever was available (i.e. Shoes, belts, errant cricket bat). We learned from this innocent little show that our parents were doing it wrong. That’s right. Mommy wasn’t like Carol and Daddy was not Mike (much to the happiness of Mommy since Mike was gay).

          But what we missed as kids is that Carol and Mike were probably on Quaaludes or some other hypnotic because Cindy’s lisp wasn’t irritating enough to cause one of them to request speech therapy or Jan’s behavior didn’t spark some sort of referral to a therapist or their insipid pop sound didn’t have them marching over their astro-turf to the garage screaming, ’Shut the fuck up!’ We watched a cousin Oliver who was a pain in the ass and they were all forced to accept him. He was socially awkward, weird and if he were around today, I’m sure he would have been diagnosed Asperger’s.

          This is more of a media smack down. We have been indoctrinated that family is everything. Brady Bunch. Eight is Enough. Partridge Family. But then everybody grows up. Yucky behavior creeps in. Addictions, personality defects and drama become the norm. We all know someone in the family that has these three things and yet we see on TV that these members are shown ‘Tough Love’. The tough love comes about with these heart-felt episodes where the family member takes a hard look at this person and decides ‘enough’. He or she says straighten up or get out. Before the end of the hour, the family member is back in the fold and all is well. Wow. 15 minute rehab.

          Reality is a little more complicated. Addiction isn’t fixed over night. Personality defects are a lifetime problem. And drama lovers are well, chaotic. Tough love isn’t the magic bullet and rewarded with a rehab diploma. It’s usually followed with a barrage of obscenities and hate. People with personality issues continue to press those buttons, create rumors, start shit and generally disrupt the world. They use up every ounce of your patience and then ask for more. The TV world would suggest that we send them camping in the Grand Canyon to receive peace or help them in their time of need. Yeah, that will fix them.

          We have been duped. We, the TV generation evolved lop-sided because television lied to us. Things don’t work out that fast. Resolution to family issues take months and years and treatment and cursing and medication and distance and therapy and time. Not even a two-part show would demonstrate the reality of life. Maybe this is why we all have ADD.

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