Archive for April, 2012

Let’s Get ‘Real’.

Posted: April 27, 2012 by Sidney in Sidney

Reality Television has been around since the beginnings of TV but has only recently become extremely popular. We all recognize Jersey Shore and the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills as “reality shows”, but this category is home to many of other types of shows. From game shows like Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune to adventure-type shows like Survivor, Man vs. Wild, and Fear Factor, the reality TV genre is much more expansive than you may believe.

Reality TV exploded in the 2000s with the introduction of Big Brother, American Idol, Survivor, and more. Some of these shows have even spurred a global reaction creating similar shows all around the world; American Idol, America’s Next Top Model, Survivor, Dancing with the Stars, The Apprentice, and Fear Factor. The huge increase in viewership was probably due to the fact that shows like this had never been so ‘relatable’ or ‘entertaining’ before! Reality shows can be split into groups even further: those that feature a special living environment (Survivor, Amazing Race, The Real World, Jersey Shore, etc.), those that focus on celebrities’ lives (Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, The Simple Life, etc.), and those that focus on professional activities (Deadliest Catch, Man vs. Wild, Miami Ink, The Bounty Hunter, etc.). With so many types of reality programs available today, it is no surprise that it is one of the most popular genres on TV right now.

Several channels on TV are considered specifically reality channels – TLC, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Bravo – while others include, but are not limited to, reality programs – MTV, VH1, CW, E!. Just this year, several new reality shows were introduced to the line-up and have made huge impacts in popularity. The most popular reality shows of 2012 (from most popular to least) are as follows: The Voice, American Idol, Duck Dynasty, America’s Next Top Model, Jersey Shore, Survivor, Dancing with the Stars, MythBusters, The Apprentice, and Punk’d.

Though there are always new reality shows being released, I found it interesting that so many of these reality programs have been in the running for several years! American Idol is on its tenth year, America’s Next Top Model is on its ninth, and Survivor is now on its twelfth (does anyone still watch this?!)! I wonder what it is about these shows that they are still being actively produced year after year. What do you think it is? Do you still watch American Idol religiously like you might have the first few seasons? Or is it all getting a little repetitive? I personally still enjoy many of these shows but I do think a few are starting to grow a little old and definitely repetitive.

Also, how do you feel about reality shows being titled ‘reality‘ shows?! Is what these shows are portraying the real deal or are the characters in the shows being fed lines and situations to enhance the entertainment quality? This may not be the case with every program out there, but it is definitely a possibility in Jersey Shore, the Real World, and Real Housewives. What do you think?

Leave a comment! Thanks for reading! :)




Posted: April 26, 2012 by ahaffner in Andrew

What’s the least fun type of boat to be on?

A Censorship!

I made that one by myself! But in all seriousness I’d like to talk about the censorship of American television.  Do you remember the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show? If the Roman numerals didn’t jog your memory, I’ll give you a hint; Janet Jackson’s right nipple. Following a “wardrobe malfunction,”  the aforementioned nipple was exposed for “bare”-ly  a second before she covered up.

Now, I was watching that half-time show, and I saw that nipple. And, sure, it was a hell of a nipple, but neither I nor my family was particularly shocked or, as the FCC claimed, “pander[ed] and titillate[d]” by the display. In fact, if I remember correctly, my parents laughed, I was slightly confused as to what had just happened, and when the half-time show ended we continued watching football as if nothing happened.

Long story short, the FCC slammed CBS with fines for having aired such smut. The Parents Television Council, a socially conservative media watchdog group, rallied to the cause, filing over 65,000 complaints to the FCC.

Why is there such a strong distate for televised nipples in this country? Do we not like boobs? The same thing goes for swearing. I understand why we don’t air foul language on Cartoon Network, but if it’s after ten o’clock or so, on, say, AMC, then what the hell are we worried about?

Many people have probably heard about all the supposed subliminal messages that are in many of the Disney classics people grew up watching and love.  There is anywhere from apparent “boners” to the word SEX being written throughout many movies that could be suggesting bad things to children.  Were these actually put in the movies from some secret employee who wanted a good laugh? Or are people taking this idea way to far and stretching what ever they can to make it seem as if there is something “hidden” in the movies.

Some of the things seem to be a pretty far stretch, especially if you can’t make out the words unless there is a hint to as what you should be looking for. A person could make up almost any words as long as they are similar sounding to what was originally said then it will seem like the character could possibly be saying something something naughty. The reason people can make so many parodies and different versions of songs or videos is because it is really easy to distort words to make them seem as if a person is actually saying something else. Who is to say that people’s imaginations aren’t just being stretched to the max. Here is a video that feels everyone is making too big of a deal about this and kind of makes fun of the whole subliminal message idea. Just follow the link to and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

What do you think? Are there really subliminal message hidden in Disney movies, or are people just trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill? Or do you know of any more “subliminal messages” that the videos didn’t mention?

In light of last week’s readings and online assignment, I decided to combine the topic of Facebook with my weekly blog post topic and watch clips about Facebook on YouTube.  However, the clip I ultimately decided to show you is of Andy Samberg impersonating Mark Zuckerberg (or as he dubs him, Zuck Dawg) at F8 2011 where Zuckerberg was giving a keynote speech.  While Samberg is hilarious like usual, he also hits on some of the main ideas of Facebook that we have been discussing in class and reading in articles.  He talks about user growth, saying it’s more people than have claimed to have created Facebook and explains that it is to the point where they “have just stopped counting.” He joking plays on the exponential growth and popularity Facebook has gained over the past few years along with the law suites that have undertaken regarding Facebook’s origin.

He goes on saying how the focus has shifted from user growth to user engagement–which is true.  Facebook is so big that everyone already knows about it and has an account; the job now is to get people using it more often and in new and different ways.  Samberg (as Zuckerberg) talks about how the focus now is on sharing and greater openness, and goes on to talk about mundane things, like running out of toothpaste, that users should share with their friends on Facebook.  While he is obviously poking fun, Samberg is definitely getting at the issues around the privacy settings that users have so loudly voiced.  Additionally, Samberg comes up with some comical “new features” for Facebook that would in reality actually be helpful.  These features include a list of friends called “I’m Not Really Friends With These People” for those who you don’t want to be associated with, but can’t ignore (like an awkward neighbor, etc.) and the “Slow-Poke” that takes 24 hours to reach the person you send it to, so that you can un-poke someone.  While the comedian is of course just making some friendly jokes, they are funny because they are true.

Longest Running TV Shows!?

Posted: April 24, 2012 by Priyanka in Pri


This week I did some research for all you TV lovers. Do you ever wonder which TV show’s have run the longest!? To my surprise I found this chart on Wikipedia (I know, I know it’s not that credible):

Series Network Actively
Number of
Meet the Press [note 1] NBC 64 years November 6, 1947 4,946+
CBS Evening News [note 2] CBS 63 years August 14, 1948 16,400+
Hallmark Hall of Fame [note 3] ABC 60 years December 24, 1951 350+
Today NBC 60 years January 14, 1952 15,620+ Not including Weekends
Guiding Light [note 4] CBS 57 years June 30, 1952 September 18, 2009 18,262
Face the Nation CBS 57 years November 7, 1954
It Is Written Syndication 56 years March 1956
The Open Mind Syndication 55 years May 1956
Candid Camera [note 5] CBS 55 years August 10, 1948 May 23, 2004 1,000+
As the World Turns CBS 54 years April 2, 1956 September 17, 2010 13,858
The Wonderful World of Disney [note 6] ABC 54 years October 27, 1954 December 24, 2008 1,224
NFL on CBS [note 7][1] CBS 52 years September 30, 1956 5,000+

Before looking at the results, some shows popped into my head, shows like “Friends, The Simpsons, etc”. I never once thought of any News shows, and it turns out several are on the list! This makes sense since News has been around for quite a while, and TV is one of the fastest ways of spreading the information.

So I dug deeper, and found the 10 longest running sitcoms! The list is as follws:

1: The Simpsons (464 episodes)

2: The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (435 episodes)

3: South Park (202 episodes)

4: My Three Sons (380 episodes)

5: Cheers (270 episodes)

6: Fraiser (264 episodes)

7: Married… with Children (262 episodes)

8: The Jeffersons (253 episodes)

9: Friends (236 episodes)

10: Everybody Loves Raymond (210 episodes)
I don’t know about you guys, but there are 3 shows on this list that I have never even heard of and they are on the list for the longest running TV shows!? Am I the only one? Do you guys have thoughts on the list; shows you’d think would be on there but weren’t? I’m not a big fan, but I thought the old show, I Love Lucy, would be somewhere on the list. I thought they had tons and tons of episodes. Shows my TV knowledge. And I also noticed the list only had American shows on it. It’s quite possible other countries have even longer running shows!

Let me know you’re thoughts bloggers, I would love to hear some different opinions!

The Learning Channel…..?

Posted: April 20, 2012 by Sidney in Sidney
Tags: ,

From the completely strange to the completely emotional, TLC sure knows how to entertain its audience!!

I have to admit, I am a total TLC fan… let’s call it my guilty pleasure. There are some strange shows on TLC today (Toddlers and Tiaras, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, My Strange Addictions, etc.) but it has not always been this way! Remember the days of Trading Spaces, Junkyard Wars, and What Not to Wear (this is still on, just less frequently)? Believe it or not, there was a TLC before the TLC we know and love today. The Learning Channel (TLC) was founded in 1972 and was meant to primarily air documentary content relating to nature, science, history, current events, medicine, technology, cooking, home improvement and other information-based topics. The channel continued to be focused on educating the network through television through much of the ’90s despite their narrow audience and low ratings. Slowly, the channel began to air more shows centered around popular consumption and mass-marketing and less documentaries. This change was meant to hit the housewife audience with more shows about cooking, crafting, and home improvement. At last, the TLC we recognize emerged in the late ’90s and early 2000s with Junkyard Wars, A Baby Story, Trading Spaces, and A Wedding Story.

TLC has gone through a few changes even recently! In 2006, the new slogan, “Live and Learn”, was attached to many promotions and centered around ‘life unscripted’ with decorating shows, reality shows, and shows that taught valuable life lessons. Even more recently, in 2008, the slogan “Life Surprises” was introduced. This change meant more personal stories about daily life and family life. During this new period, Jon & Kate Plus 8 , 17 Kids and Counting (much more kids nowadays…), Little People, Big World, and Cake Boss emerged as new hit programs. This most recent change has stuck with the channel probably because people responded so positively towards this type of entertainment. Whether you’re interested in weddings, pageants, crazy obsessions and addictions, makeovers, or unique families, TLC is certain to have a show to keep you entertained.

However, some seem to think TLC has gone a little over the top lately with some of the shows they air. Many have criticized shows like Toddlers and Tiaras and My Strange Addiction for their questionable material… but hey, people watch it, don’t they? As much as these critics want to slam TLC for being ‘money-hungry’ by promoting these shows, I don’t think you can really blame the station. These shows get ratings and isn’t that what a TV station’s main goal is? I think so (and it’s not because I may or may not be in love with TLC).

What do you think? Has TLC taken their material too far, or is it all in good fun? Are you a fan of TLC, if so, what’s your favorite show? I know my favorites are Bride Day Fridays with Four Weddings and Say Yes to the Dress on all night… such fun ;)

Leave a Comment! I’d love to hear what you think!


Is the Superhero Genre Losing Steam?

Posted: April 19, 2012 by ericvandynhoven in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

With school wrapping up for another year and movie season soon approaching, movie goers across the world are gearing up for this summer’s biggest movie blockbusters.  With 2011 having a number of big hits like Harry Potter, Transformers, and Pirates of the Caribbean,  2012 is looking to bring an impressive lineup of action packed movies, that are sure to keep all my fellow nerds jumping with excitement.  That being said, the real question this summer revolves around whether the superhero genre is still growing or whether it is losing steam due to over production.

The superhero genre has been around for ages, all starting with the first comic book in 1938 called Action Comic #1.  It followed the stories of 11 extraordinary superheroes across the universe, most notable being  a flying man in blue tights named Superman.  At the time, these comic books were used as a narrative tool to promote social justice in America.  But these comics turned into an international phenomena that brought together people from around the world.  Has their popularity grew, the superhero genre migrated into other facets of the media until it landed on the big screen in 1978 under the title Superman.  The movie opened at a staggering 7 million and provided as a new gold mine for profitable has a new genre in the film industry.

After the success of Superman, superhero movies doubled in production and by the end of the 90’s, 38 superhero movies had been made.  Although some of these films grossed high at the box office, most of them fell around average or even below box office standards.  The true potential of the superhero genre didn’t evolve until the release of Spider-man in 2002.  Not only was  Spider-man the highest grossing superhero movie at the time, but it was the first movie in history to gross 100 million in a single weekend.  Ever since this release, the superhero genre has exploded into main stream media and has become one of the highest followed genres of this generation.

With the rise of a mass culture of fans and the ever growing number of superhero movies made each year, it will be interesting to see how movie goers react to the increasing overload of movies being made.  My question I pose to you is whether you think the superhero genre will continue to grow in popularity among movie goers or do you think over production will ultimately become it’s down fall?  Feel free to express your opinions below.

I’m also curious which summer blockbuster your looking forward to the most this summer.  Vote in the poll  below and see who agrees or disagrees with you.