TV Column from 3/11

My column in the Post-Tribune on March 11, 2007:

It sure was a slippery slope, that full-size bed. Do you remember your TV history and how even married-in-real-life-to-each-other actors like Lucy and Desi had to sleep in twin beds on television?

It was so ridiculous, that rule. We couldn’t see two adults in the same bed back in the black and white era of television. If so, one of them had to have at least one foot on the floor—flat on the floor.

And so Rob and Laura and Lucy and Desi and even Fred and Ethel (for which I am still profoundly grateful) had to sleep in twin beds with a nightstand between them.

Ah, the good old days. Now we see two adults who don’t even know each other’s names in all their glory in bed and their feet? If one of them is on the floor, it’s wearing a stiletto.

But it’s not even sleeping (or NOT sleeping) arrangements that has me bothered these days. It’s this other trend I’m noticing on television and in the movies that just really irks me (I was tempted use a different phrase there, and you’ll read why in a moment, but this is a family newspaper and so I must keep it clean): why do cameras have to show what’s happening in the men’s room these days?

Women’s bathrooms I get, because women spend a lot of time in there standing before a mirror and sharing their secrets (really, we do).

But men? Men go in and then they come out. And what they did in between, well, that’s always been better left to mystery.

Now it seems that we have to witness scripted yet profoundly “real” conversations while two men are facing the wall together. And we even have to watch them do that move they do when they are zipping up.

So, I ask you this: why?

Does it trace back to that first moment when the foot came off the floor or the twin beds got squished together? Is that what has lead us here, to urinal reality?

We writers can do better, should do better.

Not all humor comes from bodily fluids and I really can’t believe that men are having fistfights and strategy sessions while one is standing there, well, you know.

Can’t we go back to the water cooler for this kind of behavior? Or the supply closet (which, of course leads to a whole ‘nother scenario)?

Can’t we just back away from the urinal and perhaps bring just a smidge of dignity back to television?

I’m no prude, nor am I all that close-minded, either. I’m just tired of television cameras taking me someplace I’d rather not ever, ever, ever go: the bathroom where someone else is doing it.
Perhaps this message could go to those of you who think the bathroom is the perfect place to continue your cell phone conversation. Well, it’s not. The acoustics are horrible, for one, and for two, it’s gross, and for three–well let’s just leave it at number one and number two.

Keep the full-size, queen-size and king-sized beds and place those feet wherever you want—but, please, keep that camera out of the men’s room and spare us that awful bit of staged reality.

P.S. Last night’s Daily Show had a bit with Dorris Kearns-Goodwin correcting Bolton on Lincoln, but, as Jon Stuart said, she “ended with a urine joke” and I laughed out loud. So I don’t mind the joke of it, it’s the visual (not to mention the audio) that I’m tired of. Ah well….


About TinaLBPorter

I write poetry and blog at And I'm thrilled to be writing with you.
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