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Light entertainment
Frogmarch 2002 - Whitby
tobyaw
I am growing increasingly intolerant of light entertainment. My leisure time is important to me, and I don’t want to waste it on inane television.

When there were limited choices on television — a handful of channels and no video-on-demand — one could accept that the viewing public wanted a shared experience in their television, and so light entertainment developed an influence that its content doesn’t justify. But now we are in a multi-channel world, with broadcast television becoming increasingly irrelevant, and with iPlayer and Netflix and iTunes letting us take control of our own choice of entertainment. We no longer have to wait for a television channel to give us a drama that we like, or a film by our favourite director. We can now have it all, and have it now.

This means that we can now make judgements of taste and quality on the programmes that we watch — we no longer have to watch light entertainment just because it is a cost-effective way of filling broadcast hours between scripted dramas. With all of the programming that I have immediately available to me, there is no reason to watch something that I consider a waste of my time. I enjoy television drama, the news, music, and Formula 1, but I would be happy never again to watch a chat show. I want to avoid anything involving celebrities, audience interaction, or “behind the scenes” access.

Sadly one of the compromises of married life is that the TV in our house will be showing Strictly Come Dancing every Saturday and Sunday night from September through to Christmas. I try to hide behind my iPad, ignore the inane onscreen chatter, and be glad that it is nothing like as bad as ITV’s Dancing on Ice. Ugh, now that is bad.

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Take up knitting or cross stitching or something. That way you will use the other 90% of your brain while the fluff is on! And you will even have something to show for it. :P

I’d prefer to watch something that demands my full attention, rather than find something else to occupy my attention while the fluff is on, not least because I find it quite hard to concentrate while inanities are coming out of a television or radio.

Some of the older light entertainment had some merit, though I agree that modern stuff seems all bad (perhaps Sturgeon's Law applies and I'm just remembering the 10% good stuff). I think both the Two Ronnies and Morecombe and Wise had some real comedy talent (though like much sketch material some is good, some mediocre and some dire - even onty Python had sketches that were dire and just didn't work even at the time as well as stuff that dated very very quickly).
THen again I haven't watched any of this stuff since leaving the parental home. I used to have an enormous (for the time) collection of off-air video recordings of dramas and movies before I had a DVD player and that formed the basis of my viewing.
If you think UK Light Entertainment is bad, try Japanese. We don't watch it but sometimes it comes on after a recorded piece stops and it looks dire. It's an amazing adssault on the senses. The background sets and costumes are just a riot of colours and business. They often run local or overseas short factual pieces with the faces of the in-studio commentators in a small picture-in-picture, so you can see what emotions you're supposed to be feeling as you watch. Even without understanding the commentary very well, I can see it's just awful.

There are of course degrees of light entertainment, but I would consider scripted comedy sketch shows to be quite distinct from the bulk of light entertainment.

I'm not sure how depressing it is that light entertainment is a world-wide curse!

There is always the option of leaving the room. You could do some gardening, clean the car, sit in the study being studious, lie on the bed reading an actual paper book, clean out a kitchen cupboard.

No one is forcing you to be in the same room.

Hmm. Saturday teatime and Sunday evening aren’t really the most convenient times to do gardening or clean the car, particularly when it is dark outside.

Perhaps I could take to heading along to the New Inn of an evening. But a more cost-effective solution would be to record the offending programmes, and for you to watch them during my working day.

Where's your sense of adventure?

I do watch most things that you don't like by recording and watching later. However, Strictly Come Dancing I like to watch live, and the same for the results. I think a couple of hours a week for a few weeks a year isn't too much to ask.

I sat through all the Nightmare on Elm Street movies with you because you wanted me too. You still owe me...

Relationships, they're all about compromise :->

I feel much the same way. If I'm wasting time I'd rather do it on the internet or playing games.

A TV schedule - how quaint!

There's something almost quaint about the "every Saturday and Sunday", these days! I'm starting to get into the habit of recording/downloading content via Sky+ and Sky OnDemand, then watching when I have time and feel like it.

(In practice, I seem to do a pass through the whole catalogue and download a few hundred Gb of content at once, then slowly watch through the backlog later. This does require a good ISP!)

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Cannot remember the last time we watched a light entertainment show. Last time the TV was on was for some of the summer sport (Olympics, Tour de France, etc.) aside from when a guest asked to watch the news more recently.
Is it possible that we've grown out of the majority of what is shown?

We still find the odd gem on broadcast television; recently Kate and I have been watching an Italian detective series "Inspector Montalbano" that we recorded from BBC4 over the past few months.

We've been talking to each other in atrocious Italian accents.

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