Ovation: I Hope Billy Crystal & Michael Urie Can Still Be Friends.
I’ve always loved to watch television. As a child, this meant choosing from three network channels, PBS and a couple of spotty local UHF stations. I loved to watch old sitcom re-runs after school and my folks would let me watch a few things in the evenings. I loved every game show and I remember The Carol Burnett Show on Saturday evenings was always something that I looked forward to. I could always find something to watch. Later, when every house eventually had satellite or cable television, we found ourselves with hundreds of channels from which to choose yet there was never “anything on”.
Recently, we reevaluated our cable television subscription and eliminated all of the “subscription services” because we determined that we rarely, if ever, watched those channels. In fact, a quick review of all the saved programs on our DVR revealed that everything we had saved was broadcast on either ABC, CBS, NBC or PBS (Downtown Abbey!). Apparently, I’ve reverted back to watching network television. Apparently I’ve learned, over the years, that I don’t have to watch EVERYTHING.
Last week, Billy Crystal, whose breakout television role was that of the first regularly openly gay character, Jodie Dallas on ABC’s controversial sitcom SOAP (1977-1981), made statements suggesting that he thinks there is currently too much gay sex on television. “Sometimes, it’s just pushing it a little too far for my taste” he’s quoted as saying.
Yesterday, actor Michael Urie, of Ugly Betty and Partners fame, joined the conversation and suggested that Mr. Crystal might want to change the channel.
“I don’t think it’s overexposed. If gay sex on TV is too much for you, change the channel and don’t watch it, it’s not for you. I think there is far too much football on TV. But I’m not going around saying they should take football off the air, I’m changing the channel.” – Michael Urie
Emmy and Tony Award winner Crystal later clarified his comments.
“What I meant was that whenever sex or graphic nudity of any kind, gay or straight, is gratuitous to the plot or story it becomes a little too much for my taste.” – Billy Crystal
I agree with both of them. Like Crystal, if a sex scene is included for “shock value” or any other reason other than plot or character development I find it distracting and unnecessary. Also, I completely agree with Urie … turn it off if you don’t want to see it!
I’ve always been annoyed by groups like The Parents Television Council or One Million Moms who try to get television programs, books and movies cancelled or banned because they disagree with the content or message of the work. Instead of spending time, energy and money boycotting advertisers, picketing corporate headquarters and appearing on right-wing radio programs, their time would certainly be better spent turning off their televisions and reading to their children.
Yes, from a young age I’ve watched a lot of television (arguably, too much television) but my mother let me watch it as a reward … after my homework was done … and she tried really hard to keep me from watching Laugh-In because it was “too dirty”. (Can you imagine?) She taught me that watching television was a privilege. Watching television is not mandatory. One may turn it off at any time.
Even Billy Crystal and Michael Urie.
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