Last evening I went to visit my grandson. We had a lovely hike through the woods with the dog. When I walked back into the house my ex was watching some show with women screaming crude, sexually graphic insults at each other. Even after all these years it startles me that he would a) watch this crap, and b) watch this crap in the middle of the day when anyone (say our grandson) could walk in on it. I went to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee.
Just the few minutes it took me to make my coffee was enough to make me pound my head on the counter in dismay.I escaped outside where I sat in the relative silence, watching the trees and the changing clouds. The hopping bunny which morphed into a fine elegant horse was quite relaxing.
I learned that my daughter had recommended this program. My grandson was now inside watching it. I had heard about it from postings on FB, but I had never read the articles. Perhaps I had simply walked in at a particularly graphic moment. Maybe there is an intellectual value to this program which I hadn’t given myself the opportunity to see. Maybe there is a character at work who elevates the program.
I went back inside to watch while eating my dinner. No. Bad Idea. There was some fun to figuring out who the various actors were and where I knew then from, but then I had to be sickened by the knowledge that they were in the thick of this peice of verbal, and suddenly visual, pornography. What does it do to the mind of an actor to become this viscious/vulgar character day after day for months?
There was a time when writers/directors/producers of television gave their audience credit for an ability to read nuance. We did not have to wallow in a sewer to know that it smelled bad. Certain topics could be inferred to an adult audience with a facial expression, with music or lighting, or metaphor. Younger viewers would pick up on the significance as their intellectual capacity expanded.
My grandson had asked me to spend the night. I wanted to, because I don’t often get to take him up on the invite, but I just couldn’t stand to be in the room with this anymore. I was pacing trying to figure out where I could go to get away from it. It was too chilly to sit outside, and to early to go to bed. In retrospect I suppose I could have taken a book to the car.
I believe Orange is taken from a book. As a book it might have merit. Images and dialogue can often be tolerated in a book because you can skim through it, or not fully visualize it. In book form their may be a plot or character which you can hold onto as the hero and wait for a breakthrough. Even as a feature length movie, or a documentary Orange might have quality value. Shawshank Redemption was a particularly hard film to watch but redemption it had.
One of the things I find it particularly hard to relate to is that th show is promoted as a dramatic ’comedy’ and that so many people who commented on IMDB said it was ‘fun’. There was nothing fun or funny in the episode I saw.
Ever since George Carlin’s 13 words you can’t say on TV – TV and movies have been pushing the envelope to use more explicit and vulgar material. Where I would agree with Carlin, is that there is a place for the use of those words and pictures. I think it was in the movie Outbreak that Morgan Freeman uses the F word when he is suddenly contaminated. I think a door breaks, or the seal doesn’t work. Anyway – he instantly knows he is in deep trouble. That’s an appropriate use of the word. Instead, like Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, dialogue from children’s movies on up has been peppered (and now swamped) with foul language and vulgar imagery because that is supposedly ‘edgy’. (and now we all talk that way) You can’t even watch an episode of the Daily Show without penis jokes. (Ah – and was that one of Mr Weiner’s more graphic images on Orange last night?)
I have a challenge – how about if writers and producers tried to use their words, their good words, to write and produce a quality show or film for adults that is hard hitting, relevant and interesting, without, the crutch of vulgarity.
Little side-bit. I was originally going to title this column ‘Orange is the new Puce’ thinking of puce green which I always think of as puke colored, or what my father called Baby Sh*t Brown in reference to his WW2 era army uniform. However when I Googled it, I discovered puce is actually purple. Though the etymology relates to fleas, and the color of their blood-stained droppings which is apropos, the color is actually pleasant.So even an evening of terrible TV can lead me to learn something.