LOP in Underland
Ever heard the theory about Least Objectionable Programming? It was created by Paul Klein, a former executive of NBC, to steer television programming in the most profitable direction. The theory states that the number of viewers at any given time remains constant, and all they want to do is experience television. They turn on the television just to have it on, and their viewing decisions are determined by what programs offer them the least challenge. “Thought, that’s tune-out, education, tune-out. Melodrama’s good, you know, a little tear here and there, a little morality tale, that’s good. Positive. That’s least objectionable,” he said.
The theory may have been postulated in the 1960’s merely for television, but it is hard to believe that the idea has not been expanded since then and is no longer in use. For every complicated TV show or movie you find, there are at least three least objectionable programs looming around it. Shows and movie writers are often asked to simplify their shows to a less objectionable form. The ones that do not make the cut are often canceled. Well, not unless they are on cable or produced independently.
Did anyone happen to see Alice in Wonderland last weekend? Am I wrong for believing it to be one of these least objectionable programs? No education or thought, a forced moral of sorts, and cheap pandering to teen girls? I may be hard on the film, given that it is a Disney-made film intended largely for children. Then again, so was the amazing 1950’s film.