Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Is PBS Getting Weirder?


Has anyone noticed that PBS seems to be searching for the 21st century version of The Lawrence Welk Show? They seem to be debuting a whole host of insipid musical shows lately. I just caught a glimpse of a show called "Heavenly Voices". The point seems to be to sing in a voice not too dissimilar from the theme song to "Black Adder" (but, seriously), or to try to sound like the Vienna Boys Choir using one pair of vocal chords. The singers seem to favor this intense and hushed, breathy voice. The female singers wear dresses that take their cue from the stage curtains, singing "Dust in the Wind" with slow motion shots of Colorado aspens in fall foliage fading in and out (must be the "breathtaking visual effects" described in the promotional literature).

Then there's the VERY bizarre show "Celtic Woman", comprised of several ethereal-looking "Celtic" women (I'm assuming here), and a violinist named Máiréad, who sways around the stage playing the instrument like Nancy Wilson on guitar.

I won't even go into all the musical nostalgia shows reuniting old 1950's and 1960's groups (or what's left of them). We have Petula Clark, for example, and Peter and Gordon, all straining their voice to sound like they were teenagers again. And seeing all the old, overweight people in the audience, hands in the air, swaying back and forth, singing along, is enough to make one want to outlaw nostalgia. It gives Gerry & the Pacemakers a whole new meaning.

So, all this to say, please donate to PBS so they won't be so desperate!

6 comments:

bucks burnett said...

I am proud to say I have NEVER been a member of KERA or PBS. Though I enjoy some of the things they do, in my opinion, all the ceaseless begging and chest pounding they do is far worse than regular commercials. But I AM tempted occasionally to join at the $200 level so I can get a DVD worth $20 of what they're showing for free.

dizzy said...

Funny critique but true. PBS programming choices follow the money, I guess, so these shows must be working financially. Who could these viewers be & what's the matter with them?Alas . . . .

Beverly said...

I think the first sign of distress was when they got rid of Bob Edwards because he was against changing the morning format and having a "lighter feel" with a "female co-host". Good grief, does the world need another idiotic morning team on the radio?!

Lawrence Welkian Entertainment aside, I'm more disgusted by the innane banter between Steve Inskeep (East Coast)and Renee Montagne (West Coast)on Morning Edition. Not to mention the eggshell-walking so as not to appear "liberal" (gasp). Chrysler! NPR is my only refuge on the dial for intelligent, serious information. Now they seem so "apologetic" all in the name of wider ratings.

God help us if they ask Jim Lehrer to grow a soul patch....

Life so far.... said...

I don't mind sending money to them, because it's the only channel I can watch for more than 15 minutes, due to the intelligence quota and the lack of a "commercial interruption".
The well-written TV series, like The Wire, Deadwood, etc., I watch on DVD.

I hope at some point TV will become obsolete. It would radically alter the way we relate to the world, which is a whole subject in itelf. Note to self: blog about no TV!

mad4music said...

"I won't even go into all the musical nostalgia shows reuniting old 1950's and 1960's groups (or what's left of them)..."

I know what you mean. Sometimes I attempt to watch some of these reunion shows and only seconds later jump to shut the TV off, lest my memories (real and imagined) of the artists in their prime become supplanted by the warm and fuzzy PBS version of them...

Life so far.... said...

I hear you. I flipped to my PBS station yesterday in the middle of one of those reunion shows. Bill Medley was singing a very bizarre "duet" version of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling". Whoever was singing Bobby Hatfield's part was backstage in the pitch dark. Medley was spotlit, and he would sing a line, then this disembodied voice would sing the duet part. Like the ghost of Bobby Hatfield himself was on the reunion circuit. Really weird.