The elements of good TV

John Kelley

Last time I checked, “Leave it to Beaver” was no longer on television. The wholesome show that shed light on the average American family is gone forever. However, this is not a surprise. I don’t think Beaver and his friends would interest contemporary audiences.

They were not terribly good-looking or hip, cursed about as much as the late Mother Teresa, didn’t carry weapons or kick each other in the groin and didn’t kill anyone-that we know of.

If an executive from a major television studio watched 15 minutes of an original “Leave it to Beaver” episode, he would put it where programs go to die, on ABC Family. Therefore, I wonder, exactly what elements make a modern show successful?

Today, one major attribute of popular TV programming is the casting of good-looking actors, which is an integral part and the entire appeal of the trendy show “Desperate Housewives”.

Dialogue usually consists of young actors saying, “We’re good-looking! We’re rich! We’re available tonight!” Successful shows often have muscular, shirtless males and bikini-clad females partaking in activities such as pillow fights or beach volleyball. One example is “Baywatch.”

Violence and death are two other key elements of a hit television show. Violence keeps the American audience engaged, as we like nothing more than blood and gore. And death interests us because we know very little about it.

Also appealing to audiences today is the beauty of the expletive, as cursing has become another major component of the modern programming sensation.

Why say, “Where is the peanut butter?” when you can say, “Where is the @#$%ing peanut butter????!!!!” With the profusion of profanity on Showtime and HBO, the classic phrase, “What the f***?” has propelled numerous shows to the ratings stratosphere.

Hence, the important aspects of a successful TV program are: sex, violence, profanity and death.