Monday, July 17, 2006

the lack of basic competence in television

Perhaps it's a small thing, but on the talent show America's Got Talent, while performers were dancing or doing acrobatics a big banner would be flashed over them telling you what number you could call at the end of the show to vote for them, thus preventing the viewer from actually seeing what they were doing. This, even more than the frequent cutaways to David Hasselhoff watching them perform, just suggests that the people making the show don't actually understand that people watch a talent show to see the performances, not to stare at banners and judges.

The thing is, this isn't remotely uncommon. It's like when you watch a movie with subtitles and a big station logo or one of those awful animated advertisements that crawl across the bottom half of the screen, sometimes including sound effects, block out the subtitles. It's hard to decide whether these things are simply a display of open contempt of the viewers or pure incompetence. My guess is it's a little of both.

Unfortunately, this sort of thing gets worse every year because there's not really much you can do about it short of not watching shows you otherwise enjoy. And if you did stop, would the networks even understand that was the reason? Once I stopped watching a cool anime series on MTV2 because they had this huge flashing logo that was like one of those awful flash ads on web pages. What could be more inappropriate than a distracting animated logo on an animated series? I probably wasn't the only one who was annoyed, but I'm sure if the ratings for the show were low MTV2 would just assume people didn't like the show. It would never occur to a network that people didn't like garish logos and advertisements and banners.

You can't even email networks to complain, in most cases. All you can do is complain in network forums, which may allow you to vent steam but which doesn't get the word out to the networks.

Yes, there are bigger problems in the world, and at least on America's Got Talent that little yodeling girl made the finales, but still, big banners cutting off the bottom half of the screen while a clog dancing troupe is performing just pisses me off.

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