Three cheers for live TV. And that includes reality shows, contests, sitcoms, celebrity roasts, sports news, late night talk shows, and reruns of Slings and Arrows – for that was my surfing menu the other night.
Three cheers for laughter, for in it is life! For its power over death (as evidenced by a naked Ashton Kutcher replacing Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men) and excess (as shown in Comedy Central’s Celebrity Roast where Sheen endured the worst from friends only to emerge unscathed, humble, thankful, and full of love). How cleansing to see folks using wit to say the worst about each other and have it end in life-giving energy and love (if that’s what you can call Stevie B launching himself into Mike Tyson’s fist and breaking his nose at the finale). I’m not kidding. As credits roll, blood drips, William Shatner yelps “WTF?” and emcee Seth McFarlane hollars for a medic.
Three cheers for Chaz Bono on Dancing with the Stars. Talk about a flashpoint for controversy! And yet what did we see? Joy, quick feet, a man affectionately calling his belly beautiful, someone at peace and happy in their own skin and celebrating: it was inspirational. As were the groups on NBC’s The Sing Off. One singer, Moi, living with wife and two children in a friend’s garage, broke judge’s hearts with his vulnerable voice. So much talent on that show and some of it living in garages. This is America now! One in six below poverty – and that’s only the ones counted.
Can TV sometimes be a river of life? I say yes. I may be locked in a house with kids, chores, and bills, with city lights far away and unaffordable, and with rain pounding down – but someone somewhere sings for a dream or puts it all on the line for a dance show. Someone somewhere crafts words into art as comedic roasts or the dialogue of a drug addicted actor spilling verse on Slings and Arrows (no, not Charlie Sheen). Someone somewhere lives, dreams, creates, and dares not only to hope for more but to try for more. And we get to watch it all! On The Tonight Show, Simon Cowell promotes his vitamin IVs and the secret life messages seen in repeat viewings of The Flinstones and there’s laughter, life, lights and music.
TV is not the only source of these things. When sun breaks bright after days of rain, there is life. When children arrive home safely from school, when bills can be paid, when someone loans you their IV of laughter – even on TV – hope and laughter invite a new day. In the midst of death, there is life – even if it does come in the form of Ashton Kutcher’s bare ass. Anyone want to join me in three cheers for that?