The continued and increasing success of Snooki and “The Situation” and the rest of the gang at Jersey Shore now evokes the most ratings-related venom for any show I’ve seen other than American Idol.   Though the shows are very different, they bring up similar comments:

The lowest common denominator wins again

Ah, Americans, they love their trashy mindless programming

The average American is too stupid to appreciate intelligent programming

Sigh, the death of scripted programming is nigh!

I don’t watch either show, so I don’t have any skin in the game.  But I can tell you as a long-time viewer of Mad Men, I don’t see the ratings for Jersey Shore or American Idol and get any kind of inferiority complex.

People love to be entertained, but it seems some people can’t accept that gracefully when a lot of other people’s entertainment choices aren’t the same as their own.  It may be the case with Jersey Shore that Americans do in fact love their trashy programming, but American Idol evokes similar comments and it doesn’t seem particularly trashy.

The notion that the success of unscripted programs spells the death of scripted is pure nonsense.  There’s more scripted content now than there ever has been. I’d argue there’s more quality scripted content than ever too, at least in terms of dramas – I haven’t been much of a sitcom viewer the last 10 years or so.

If anything, the success of  American Idol has helped subsidize some of the lower-rated scripted programming on Fox (think Fringe and Human Target and experiments like The Good Guys and Dollhouse).

It’s a personal choice to “hate,” and that’s fine, but most of those comments are poppycock!   Once you’ve heard real-life rocket scientists from the Lawrence Livermore Labs dissecting American Idol, you disabuse yourself of any notion of Idol being popular because it’s for “the stupid people.”

But some of you can’t stand to see shows like Jersey Shore and American Idol succeed.


Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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