It's just television. We should probably get over it.
In the past week, entertainment news has been inundated with reports of television fans, critics and personalities up in arms over a variety of recent issues, both large and small. The causes of this furor range from the frivolous (the finale of The Killing) to the socially-relevant (Tracy Morgan's homophobic jokes) to the tragic (the death of Ryan Dunn and its possible connection to drunk driving). But the reaction to these disparate events seems to have been awfully similar.
We'll take a quick look at each event and its reaction before trying to figure out why it is that we can't move on when television upsets us.Can Anyone Forgive Tracy Morgan?
Earlier this month, Tracy Morgan made headlines when, during an apparently bombing comedy performance, he made some extremely homophobic remarks. The comedian quickly explained himself and apologized for the "jokes," but Morgan's notoriety seems to be going nowhere fast.
It's been a couple of weeks, but the apology train keeps on rolling. Yesterday, Tracy Morgan went back to Nashville (the site of the infamous joke failure) to personally apologize to those audience members who were offended. That, combined with meeting with at-risk gay teens and multiple public statements, should be enough right?
Maybe. But it only took a Facebook post from an audience member to start the controversy. Who knows what can stop it? A Murderous Reaction to The Killing
In more recent news, fans have been a little upset about the season ending of The Killing
. OK, a lot upset.
In case you missed it, here's the problem: at the end of a season-long mystery supposedly leading to a definitive wrap-up moment... Things didn't exactly wrap up.Click here for more, spoiler-y details on The Killing season finale
A lot of people didn't like the ending. Fair enough. But what's with all of the hate? We're not talking about the mild annoyance that fans often feel when a show ends on a down note. Instead, it's full-blown wrath directed at The Killing
and against the show's creator, Veena Sud. Maureen Ryan of AolTV.com
summed up the typical fan reaction perfectly:
"It wasn't just a bad ending to a poorly constructed, sloppy, disappointing season. It was a jaw-dropping instance of a show not just squandering its promise, but betraying its viewers. The tone-deaf arrogance of the writers and executives responsible for 'The Killing' is simply astonishing."
It all seems a little harsh for a bad episode.Click here for why you shouldn't hate The Killing
.Roger Ebert and Ryan Dunn
Ryan Dunn, a star of Jackass
, suffered a tragic death in a car crash. But most of the news since then has focused on another public figure. Shortly after news of the death appeared, Roger Ebert tweeted: "Friends don't let jackasses drink and drive."
It was a tasteless comment. It was definitely too soon. But was it enough to incite controversy?
Apparently it was. Thanks to people complaining about Ebert's comments, the critic's Facebook page was temporarily disabled
. Now, I know from painful experience that it takes roughly nothing to get Facebook to disable your page (sending too many messages to friends can do that). But did Ebert deserve it?What's Going On?
Why has so much furor been directed at television-based "controversies" lately?
There are lots of possible explanations. Maybe we just have several big issues arriving in the TV world at once. It could be a case of boredom with television's current offerings (it is summer, after all). "Real" news might be lacking. Or maybe television viewers -- and the general public -- are feeling a little too entitled when it comes to TV.
I can't help but think that entitlement might be the key. Think about it. We demand the heads of TV writers who dare present entertainment that fails to conform to our wishes and desires. We vilify and possibly ruin the career of a comedian who had the stupidity to say something offensive. We try to remove the voice of a critic who makes tasteless statements.
It's like the public feels entitled to live in a world where nothing ever disappoints, nothing ever offends and nothing is ever in bad taste. When the uncaring world chooses to ignore that entitled viewpoint, we rise up against it.
The problem is, all of this anger isn't going to change much. It's just going to make TV a far angrier place than it already is. Maybe we just need to get over it and get back to the entertainment.(Images courtesy of NBC, AMC and WENN)