Does Variety Television Actually Exist?

There’s been a lot of talk about Variety coming back in the last couple of weeks. Everything to do with the Hey Hey It’s Saturday reunion (other than the obvious criticisms) shows has been about variety coming back. “Isn’t it great to have variety back?” people will say.

Of course, people said the same thing when Dancing with the Stars started. Also, when I was growing up, one of the long running variety shows was the Black and White Minstrel Show, as was the Muppet Show. Take from that what you will.

The truth is, Variety never really left us because it doesn’t really exist as a genre. Is Hey Hey variety? Then what is similar between that show and Dancing with the Stars? How do they compare to the Brady Bunch Hour or The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour or Donny & Marie?

There’s almost no difference to what Hey Hey became late in its existence and a tonight show. Dancing with the Stars is closer linked to Celebrity Masterchef than it is to Hey Hey or the Osmonds.

So we take the term Variety out of the equation and what do we have? People feel like they’re missing something from their television experience and it somehow involves singing and dancing and family entertainment with a bit of light comedy thrown in.

What people are saying when they talk about wanting variety to come back to television is that they want is some sort of stagnation. They don’t want to think, they don’t want to learn, they don’t want to go on a journey. It’s mindless television and it must be stopped. Its nothing but a distraction and that’s not the way any entertainment should be. If, when watching television, you come away from it with nothing, was that time well spent?

I was outraged after the second reunion show when reading the Facebook messages on the Hey Hey page about the Black Faces debacle. People were offended that Harry Connick Jr was offended. How does that even make sense? This so called family entertainment is pitting us against each other.

Television is like one of those comic book devices that could save the world but in the wrong hands would mean disaster. Variety is just another word for television being in the wrong hands. It must be stopped.

3 Comments

  1. I don't think a mass indictment of variety television is fair. If variety is just an assortment of acts, then some excellent sketch shows could be considered variety.. .I think specifically of the (once) fantastic This Hour Has 22 Minutes, which had sketch, satire, interviews, 'commercials' and the occasional novelty song.

  2. Rob Boxcutter says:

    Masters of MIME! My Margaret Pomeranz hand puppet is ready. The earings are ripping trenches in my floorboards in anticipation.

  3. It's like! Yes it should! It should be on my Satellite TV channel.

    You I agree with Sophie, in some cases though, but in general I'd like it to come back.

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