The new season of television shows is fully in gear at this point and, as usual, most of them were disappointing to me. But this year there were at least a few options I decided to give a shot. Same thing for the movies. I’m not one who goes out to see a film in the theater very often but I made a point of getting out to a few of them this year. While entertainment quality is in the eye of the beholder, for conservatives looking at such options these days there seems to be a continued sense that the people controlling the television, movie, theater and music industries are hopelessly liberal and they not only allow those tendencies to bleed over into their work, but actively seek to use their art form as a vehicle to bolster liberal orthodoxy. That’s the conclusion which Peggy Ryan seems to have reached at The American Thinker this week. After reflecting on the same points I just made she describes how Hollywood is draining the joy out of the movies for her.
My first casualty was the movies. Nothing saves you from reality more than a good flick. But one by one, my favorite Hollywood stars publicly inserted themselves into politics. Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Lawrence, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck are on the growing list of actors and actresses who feel compelled to take stands on issues that have nothing to do with their films.
Now, I’d like to be the bigger person and not let personal politics affect my entertainment choices, but the fact is, their foray into politics changes my perception. Now, instead of seeing these actors and actresses as the characters they so brilliantly portray, I see the man behind the curtain, the flawed person behind the illusion. Gone are the days when I can separate the activist actor from his performance. Now their reality is in my face.
Peggy goes on from there to describe how liberal activist have ruined books, shopping and football for her and even her enjoyment of a cappuccino at Starbucks. (You’re doing yourself a favor there, Peggy. Their coffee is terrible.)
That got me to thinking about a conversation I had with friends over one new television show which I began watching this month. You see, for the most part I’ve not had the same problem as Peggy. Simply finding out that a particular actor or director is out there supporting some Democrats or raising money for whatever liberal cause hasn’t stopped me from enjoying the products they produce if the quality is good. If I eliminated every show or film that involved people I disagree with in the political field I might as well sell my television. If I find the program well done and entertaining I’ve had no trouble putting those other considerations out of my mind and just getting on with the show.
But what about when those biases work their way into the script? Even there I’ve managed to largely ignore it. If you look hard enough (or sometimes not even that hard) you can find a Leftward bent in the plots of many shows. But hey… those are traits which exist in the real world all around us so it’s not as if it’s completely out of bounds. It’s also far too easy to read excessive liberalism into any story you wish. I heard a lot of friends complain about the bleeding heart liberal themes in Avatar but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the show, particularly in terms of the stunning special effects.
But now I’ve reached the point where I find myself grumbling about the same things despite myself. Last week I decided to try out the new show Designated Survivor. (Read about it at the link if you’ve somehow not heard of it. I won’t bore you with a plot description here.) The pilot to the show was great in my opinion. Solid acting, great writing and an intriguing storyline. But by the time the show moved into the second episode even I was given pause at the ham handed way the story was being developed. In the midst of the absolute chaos surrounding the destruction of the US Capitol and the death of nearly everyone in the federal government, the new President is immediately set to dealing with a state governor (a Republican of course) who has unleashed the police in his state to begin rounding up Muslims completely at random and locking them in detention facilities. The cops are shown at great length beating and kicking a seventeen year old Muslim boy in the streets to the point where he later dies. When the new POTUS tries to call the Governor to discuss the matter he is insulted and hung up on. He then has to find a clever and forceful way to shut the Governor down and make him abandon his hateful, xenophobic, Islamophobic policy and release the incarcerated suspects. And all this time there is little to no progress being made in finding out who actually blew up the Capitol building, but our hero certainly isn’t going to go blaming an Islamic terror group until he has absolute 100% proof it was them, no matter how strongly he’s being urged to act by the mean, warmongering general on his staff.
Seriously? Could you make this any more of a left wing parody of foreign policy? This isn’t a case of David Guggenheim or Kiefer Sutherland simply being liberals but putting out a good product. I could ignore their personal preference entirely and watch the show. But that’s not the case here. The show is infested with these life lessons for stupid conservatives and it’s not done in the least bit subtly. You’re being beaten with a Left Wing hammer every moment of the episode. Did it really have to be that way?
I’m still not as far gone as Peggy in terms of giving up on Hollywood, but I’ll confess she has more of a point than I’d first have granted her. When the bias leaves the personal lives of the actors and creators and begins to infuse the end product this badly, what might have otherwise been a great show quickly becomes unwatchable.