I was there at the beginning of TV as we know it. It was immature, loud, filled with mistakes, annoying, usually funny, and more respectful to people than not. It included quiz show scandals, the early life of rock and roll, the original Disneyland, the birth of Bob Barker, and truly family oriented shows, such as Lucy, Donna Reed, Beaver, Ozzie and Harriet, Lassie, Rin-Tin-Tin, the Lone Ranger, You Are There, Zoo Parade, Kate Smith, Ed Sullivan, Liberace, Nat King Cole, and others. News shows were ten or fifteen minutes long. No weather channel was evident. We [I] had Tex Antoine and Unc Wethbee. And the weather forecasts were just as inaccurate as they are today. And there was nary a curse word among them---we had no cable. H*e*!*!, we could hardly see what was broadcast, let alone make a lot of choices.
And yet we criticized. The Great Wasteland. Inane scripts. Too much on the laugh track. Live is no good. I Dream of Jeannie is too racy. Bewitched is against religion. Green Acres was too stupid. Bishop Sheen was actually on commercial television! Horrors! He treated an angel as an angel and not as an a-religious movie/tv plot device.
Complain as they might, the critics couldn't say TV was really in the toilet. Now they do, and they have valid complaints. For the language and content of much on TV is far lower in general quality than that great Wasteland of yore.
Free speech as guaranteed to us is political speech. A free society needs that. But it doesn't mean that everything we say is or should be protected. You know, the old 'fire' in the theater routine. Now we have the wedding ring in the toilet and other bathroom jokes, fatherless homes, gay plots, and political biased sitcoms and talk shows passing for prime time or later, 21st century, quality humor---for which the actors are paid millions. We also have Rosie---sheesh! That thought by itself is so depressing.
What television needs is to have its face washed in the snow, old fashioned style. It needs to be reminded strongly that the people of the United States don't need the sexual, toilet, and asinine content of most broadcasts. That's not being wimpy. Isn't it reasonable to expect a considerate, or at least responsible television and movie industry?
Maybe I'll just have to dream some more.