Are you happy the writers' strike is finally over? Well, I most certainly am... NOT!! What people fail to realize is that "desperation" makes for the best television. And when there are no writers to sit around and snort coke all day before finally deciding to churn out some fart jokes for Two and a Half Men—that's when the networks get desperate. And when networks get desperate, some really funny, dumbass ideas finally get a chance to shine!
Take for example the Japanese hit game show Hole in the Wall, which Fox decided to put into development out of sheer writers'-strike desperation. The game is bizarrely simple: Two contestants stand in front of a swimming pool, as a big Styrofoam wall comes hurtling toward them. The wall has two cut-out shapes (could be squares, stars, squiggles, or shaped like a human) and the contestants have to contort their bodies to fit through the holes—or find their asses unceremoniously knocked into the pool.
WHAT A DUMBASS IDEA! And yet? I love it! For a ton of hilarious clips from the French version of this show, do a YouTube search for "Le Mur Infernal"—which I think is French for "French people are even dumber than Americans, if that's possible."
Anyhoo! Now that the strike is over, the desperate search for a good idea... or even a good BAD idea, will come to an end, and the networks will once again fall back on the stale unimaginative programming for which they've become famous. But here's a thought: Now what if the viewers decide to go on strike?
During this most recent strike, viewers got a pretty good idea of what life is like without television—AND THEY DIDN'T MIND IT... which could mean big trouble for the top five networks. Nowadays, viewers have a poop-ton of non-network entertainment options: Netflixing older series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, playing videogames, or watching cable series. Some even choose to read books (ugh), exercise (Ugh!), or talk with family members (UGH!!!). Personally, I've recently become quite the purveyor of "internet pornography." Did you know it's FREE? (That is, if you don't count the slow leaching of your immortal soul.) And if I were given the choice between watching Two and a Half Men or guzzling down a tumbler of vodka mixed with a handful of barbiturates? Well... let's just say it's nice to have a non-TV related hobby.
The networks have been victims of this "viewer flight" for years—and the writers' strike didn't help matters. Now it's imperative for the networks and the writers to really up their game in order to lure viewers back... or they could both be out of a job.
I'll still be popping by the nets for such candy-coated confections as American Gladiators and hopefully Fox's version of Hole in the Wall. However, at this point, I'm much more likely to leave and move in permanently with cable channels such as AMC and their brilliantly written series Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Oh... and there's always internet porn! Did I mention it's FREE?!