Some of my favorite television shows start with a content warning such as “TV-MA, L, S, V”, warning mature audiences that language, sexual content or violence may be depicted.
No need. I’m fine with all that.
I suggest another warning: P.
No, not profanity or pantomime.
Think of the times you’re watching something that through its humor is unifying, or so you feel. You’re in your happy bubble, feeling connected to people near and far. Then one of the characters punches you back into real life with unnecessary and banal political jabs.
Shows like Jon Stewart’s wouldn’t need such a warning. Or Fox News, or any of the many sitcoms that take place in a fictional political setting. With these you know what you’re getting into, or should.
But “Game of Thrones” — really?
In his personal life, writer George R.R. Martin has plenty of barbs to throw at Republicans. But to casually depict George W. Bush’s decapitated head “in a couple of beheading scenes” and call it a careless mistake… c’mon.
When I watch television, it is to escape the nonstop political churning of work, life and news. And while plenty of political things can be funny, it seems that to be funny these days you’re supposed to get political. To my senses, that is like sprinkling pepper on ice cream.
Classic Greek comedy was a sounding board for the deep issues of the day, political and social. Little has changed in the centuries since, and that’s great.
But for those times when I’d rather just sit back and give my brain a serotonin bath from laughter or suspense, I wouldn’t mind a way to avoid exposure to gratuitous political ridicule.
Keep it to some good ol’ fashioned fictional beheadings and we’ll all get by just fine.