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Category Archives: Televsion

Old vs New

We’ve all heard middle aged and old people claim that TV used to be better than TV nowadays, but why? Has TV changed THAT much that it has become unwatchable to older generations?

Well, from the 1950’s right up until the 00’s, there were TV programs like Monty Python, Blackadder and Yes Prime Minister, classics in their own right and the “grandfathers” of comedy,  but the modern day has The Inbetweeners, Skins and Black Books, which, in years to come could be classics themselves. Over the years the content within the programs produced has changed but the formulas used to create a comedy have stayed the same. I don’t believe that TV has changed per se but the audience and society surrounding TV has affected in greatly. Go back 40 to 50 years and you would never have heard the words “Fanny” or “Clunge” said on TV as much as you do nowadays (thanks Jay), mainly because the words never existed or the viewers would have been horrified at the use of them. Teenagers act differently now than they did 20-30 years ago therefore changing the way teenagers are represented on TV. No, not all teenagers go around mugging and stabbing old people but the majority do act like idiots thinking with their sexual organs instead of their brains. To  compare, look at the programs “The Young Ones” (1982), then look at the program “The Inbetweeners” (2008), both stereotypical of the youth/young society at the time.  The Young Ones contains four student best friends trying to get along in both, life and their studies, each one a stereotype of a young adult at the time. An outrageous punk, A manic depressive who’s always trying to kill himself, a money hungry con-man and an anarchist. They are always getting themselves into situations that usually results in a crazy, idiotic escape plan (including the punk eating the TV). Move 20+ years onwards from this and the Inbetweeners was created. Four student best friends who get themselves into situations that (again) normally results in a stupid escape plan. They are always trying to act like “out of control” teenagers, drinking and trying to sleep with girls but fail at it. Both programs follow the same mould and formula for comedy that has been used for years, with most programs taking influence from older shows and adapting it to a different social situation. I’m not saying The Inbetweeners would have worked in the 1960s because the audience of the time wouldn’t have understood it but if The Inbetweeners was created in the 60s based around the society at the time with the same humour, maybe it would have worked.

As I suggested (in my own opinion), the change in society has played the biggest part in TV programs (mainly comedy) changing, not the actual style of the humour changing. Yes, the style of humour has changed but most shows do follow very similar lines and formulas.