In a way, it's a good thing. That being so many more cable channels for your average couch tater to choose from. Name the topic, from politics, to religion, to food, to movies, to comedy and drama, and even game shows, cartoons, music and much more -- and there's a lot of options available with a few clicks. All in all, thousands of them.
And of course, sports. As they say in the business, this has been taken to a whole new level. The original 4-letter sports network was a brilliant idea. So were pet rocks, cabbage patch dolls, lava lamps, bean bags, and black lights back in their days. Smart people got rich offering up such products to the gullible masses. But their time would come and go. Seen a bong lately? Or a waterbed store?
Yet sports have an eternal air about them. Americans never could and still just can't seem to get enough of them. They'll watch anything that showcases some form of athletic competition. How else to explain the X-Games, the NASCAR truck series, Major League Baseball's spring training games, or -- horrors!! -- a "friendly" between two soccer teams from different countries that matters not one whit? And don't get me started on the NFL, NHL, and NBA preseason yawn fests.
But somewhere along the line it all exploded into what we have today. The 4-letter network now features several different channels to choose from. Though yet to be medically proven, there are rumors they can live-stream videos via IVs into people in comas, and the afflicted will suddenly sit up and scream "BOO-YA!!" If true, amazing technology, that.
Yet to staff all these extra cable stations the cable folks obviously needed a lot more bodies -- heretofore known as talking heads. It just wouldn't do to show -- say -- Tiger Woods highlights from the 2002 Masters tournament without current day announcers virtually going orgasmic with the accompanying dialogue.
These people can and will blow the most trivial thing that has happened thousands of times before into some sort of earth-shaking event. They act like they've never seen a basketball dunked. Or a slugger hit a long home run. Or a puck rattle off a goalpost. Or a long touchdown pass on the gridiron. It's like they wake up in a new world every day. Everything is OMG, DID YOU SEE THAT? Freaking incredible -- and on they'll go. For minutes, sometimes hours, with their pesky staff of stat geeks steadily feeding them a trove of worthless information.
Does any sane person really care that Joe Jock is the first left-handed player with a little sister named Gertrude that made five free-throws in a row? "OMG, it's now six. A new all-time record has been set and the sky's the limit", they will rant. "We're seeing history unfold before our very eyes". One word. Please.
It is interesting, if not laughable, to note who the sports channels have hired to fill out their staff, given the explosion of exposure. There are a few ex-coaches that attempt to spout their expertise. Some come off as credible, others not so much. Hey, there's a reason they're EX-coaches.
Certainly a variety of ex-jocks that have gone through the rigors of talking head school 101 before ever being allowed on the stage when the cameras are rolling. Occasionally one or two can actually seem cerebral when discussing a particular topic. But far more often, they remain the dumb oafs they were as players.
What is more comical yet is how the shows change, but really not. They may shuffle from one particular channel to another under the same umbrella, but the talking heads just move maybe 30 feet to a "new" studio for another show. The same cameramen take a short stroll, the techs in the booth push a few buttons -- and away we go with another "exclusive" of breaking sports news. Most times it's just a rehash of what we just saw with a new shift of a breathless ranter probing even MORE dumb jocks or supposed "experts" regarding the latest and greatest sports news.
One thing seems to be beyond reproach. These folks are trying their best to comply with Title IX. As in, women have to have equal exposure and access. They are certainly plentiful on the myriad of talking head sports shows, and usually the ones asking the questions as "anchors". Is this because they suffer from the Anderson Cooper/Rachel Maddow/Wolf Blitzer syndrome? You know, folks that always ask tough questions but are never put in the spot where they might have to answer any?
At that, the ladies on these shows typically evoke a yuk. See their hair perfectly coiffed. Never see them in slacks, but always in short tight dresses attempting to show off their legs. See them in high heels which tighten up whatever leg muscles they have. See them oh so casually continually cross and uncross their legs. It's almost a sexual subliminal come-on, but it's always there. Do they teach them that in talking head school?
See them take charge of the jocks (dumb or not) that -- you know -- actually played the game and know what the hell they're talking about. Sometimes. The same big oafs that wear boring suits, have wash and wear hair and could cruise through the make-up room backstage in 15 seconds. There just ain't no prettying-up some things.
Here's an idea. Once, just ONCE, I want to see a talking head sports show with the woman wearing a frumpy Hillary suit while the guys are dressed like the Chippendales and shaking THEIR booties.
And who knows? Maybe it could start a trend. How great would it be to see the men in Congress all show up in red "power suits" like the ladies always do with their dresses? Just once would be enough.
The above always has been about projecting an "image" to the masses and continues to be so. And sure, the smart people in TV land and politics rightly understand the vast majority of their viewers and constituents are basically idiots. How else to explain why some folks will watch a re-run over and over again, and keep re-electing the same crooks that have been ripping them off all along?
Yep, bring on one of the sharp-tongued (and mostly clueless) stick girls dressed up like an Amish woman, and have her pose questions to -- say -- Mike Ditka and Herman Edwards, who are both decked out in nothing but a bunch of bling and a thong.
Now THAT would be a show worth watching.