Monday, October 11, 2010

Cartman, South Park, The Big Valley, TV violence

I'm watching the NASCAR episode of South Park.

How many people has Cartman killed on this show?

Years ago, my friends and I started watching old episodes of The Big Valley which came on every night. Maybe if we had watched it every week as originally intended it wouldn't have bothered me, but the show was about this wealthy, respectable family---Miss Barbara Stanwyck was supposed to be so stinkin' high class. But she was completely untroubled that her sons carried guns everywhere they went and kept killing people. The killings were all justifiable, but you'd think she'd be somewhat troubled by them.

Then there are the old cop movies and TV shows from the '70s. They were bringing in gritty realism and getting rid of the old surreal, bloodless cartoon-like violence where police were constantly getting into shootouts and freely killing people. But it was the changing of the guard. The old guy is there. The new guy comes in. And for a moment the two are there at the same time.

So you had movies like They Call Me Mr Tibbs. Sydney Poitier runs around killing people at work, then, in the interest of realism, we see him go home to his nagging wife. He doesn't see fit to mention the people he killed that day. He has trouble dealing with his son. I kept expecting him to tell the kid, "Now, honey, Daddy killed some men today and is very tired."

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