Question: Dear Televisionary, I am disgusted with the nominations for the Emmys. Year in and year out I have watched as the media push their favorites and network executives buy the advertisements that place their "hot" properties at the top. The West Wing is a great show, but The Sopranos is filled with violence, profanity and drugs. It is primarily an adult show, yet as a middle-school teacher, I hear my students talking about the different episodes. Totally ignored is a fine and very well-written military drama, JAG, and the Texas-based Walker, which has a certain amount of violence but also draws from every walk of life: Native American, disabled, all races. With this it incorporates the highest standards of fair play and humanity. Why would these fine programs be overlooked and others chosen? I would appreciate an answer. Anne
Televisionary: You're in good company as far as your dissatisfaction with the Emmys goes, Anne, but I can't say I agree with you on much of what you say. You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but most people criticize the Academy for being too stodgy rather than too permissive.
It sounds to me like you, as a teacher, are mixing up family values with critical thinking. You're right: The Sopranos is rife with violence, profanity and drugs. But it's a show about the mob, so what else could it be rife with? Despite the overflow of praise directed toward the show, it is one of the best things to come along on TV in years. The fact that your students are watching it isn't the series's fault. Not only does that require the kids' parents to leave them alone in front of the TV fairly late at night (or worse, view it with them), it means they must shell out up to 20 bucks a month for the privilege.
JAG is an OK show for what it's trying to do, but, honestly, your indignation at Walker's lack of nominations leaves me scratching my head. To each his/her own, I suppose.
As for the media pushing its favorites, I assume you mean the critics. Well... that's what they're paid to do. If they don't, they'll be fired. And those network execs buying ads to push their "hot" properties? Same thing.
I'm sure we'll never see eye to eye on such things, but to my mind The Sopranos earned its nominations and its lack of a civics lesson is irrelevant. Now if only the Academy could actually let it win, instead of reflexively handing another award to The Practice, which has been phoning it in for some time.