WWE Has Forgotten What Great Television Looks Like

Mike Killam

If a show stays on the air long enough, over time it’s inevitable that there will be rough patches, and times when the product is just plain bad. Take The Simpsons for instance. It’s been on the air since 1989 – over 550 episodes over the course of 25 seasons. There was a time when The Simpsons was must-watch television. Their rise and fall actually mirrors pro wrestling. There was the “Golden Age” right at the start of the ’90s, with viewership in the teens for several years. Then came the 5-6 years of stagnation, followed by a rebirth and their best ratings ever – the “Attitude Era” of Evergreen Terrace, if you will. It has since been on a gradual decline, and is currently sitting in the worst position its ever been.

I’m talking about The Simpsons because, in case you weren’t aware, the FXX channel has been playing every episode of the show from start to finish, for the last week. 

There are fans that stuck with the show – the 5.6 million viewers that tuned in for season 25 – that either don’t know any better, or are still around for the nostalgia. Remind you of anything? What happens with any show that remains on air past its prime, is that the aforementioned hangers-on will defend the product, because over a long enough timeline, what’s “bad” becomes “good”, and what’s “good” becomes “great.” Human nature is to lower your expectations when presented with the same thing over and over again. Like a husband or wife that says they’ll clean the house every day while you’re at work, but rarely ever does. There are moments when that person can surprise you, but mostly you’ve grown comfortable in your mediocre, less than ideal situation, and have found a reasonable amount of contentment with your life. Newton’s First Law. 

wwe raw reactionMonday Night RAW is just OK. Sometimes it’s GOOD, but it hasn’t been GREAT in a long time. Smark crowds can bring fun to a show once or twice a year, but they don’t leave any lasting enjoyment on the product. The fans with Stockholm Syndrome defend RAW, legitimately believing it’s GREAT, but with 6 hours of TV every week, how can it be?

I guess anything looks good in comparison to the vapidity of Honey Boo Boo and the Real Housewives. It’s always interesting to me to listen to people complain about the evaporation of the middle class, and the wealthy getting wealthier, and then see some of the same people watching TV shows about rich people being rich. 

Game of Thrones is GREAT television. For three or four seasons, Dexter was GREAT television. It wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but LOST made its fanbase tune in every single week to experience – and that’s a key word here, “experience” – what would happen next. I don’t watch it, but the amount of people who do and rave about their fandom tell me that Walking Dead is probably GREAT television. I personally think The Newsroom is a brilliantly written show. I’m just now getting into it, but from the one episode I’ve seen, True Detective is INCREDIBLE television.

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