Culture

What The Broken Entertainment Industry Is Actually Getting Right

By Isabel Brown··  7 min read
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Perhaps the most broken aspect of modern American culture is the entertainment industry – a pervasive force pushing content focused on hookups, drugs, crime, and more. Shockingly, though, select content remains that reflects traditional American values, showing where the industry may be going right.

Recently, I heard the word “euphoria” tossed around in casual conversations with friends at work. I simply glossed over the reference, thinking it was describing a sheer feeling of bliss. Little did I know, it was actually in reference to one of the most popular new shows on television – specifically for teenagers.

Why is a show about teenagers and coming of age such a big deal, anyway? Because today’s coming-of-age stories aren’t about awkward phases, braces, and acne. They’re normalizing pornography, pedophilia, and drug use for the next generation. 

Euphoria has quickly risen through the ranks of its provider HBO to become the second-most watched HBO show since 2004 behind Game of Thrones. Targeting a teen audience, the show highlights stories like a trans teen hooking up with an adult (username “DominantDaddy”) after meeting him through a dating app, borrowing urine from friends to pass suspecting parents’ drug tests, and the importance of sex through flashing 30 penises on screen in one episode alone. It’s flat-out debauchery, and with its rising popularity and buzz inside and outside of Hollywood, it’s indicative of a much larger problem within the entertainment industry.

Entertainment Is Largely Broken

Sadly, Euphoria isn’t alone in its almost-impossible levels of depravity gracing the screen to target the next generation in particular.

Currently, the number one most popular show on Netflix, which remains the most widely-used streaming service on earth with 220 million+ subscribers, is a reality series called The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On. The show’s premise is simple – one person in a couple wants to get married today, but the other is dragging their feet. Instead of talking about it like mature, functional adults, multiple couples are put to the test by temporarily cheating on their significant other with someone else’s girlfriend or boyfriend in a “trial marriage” to really figure out if they want to marry their S.O. 

the ultimatum promo poster netflix

Insane, I know. 

Apparently, the best way to prepare for a life of monogamy and commitment through marriage is to figure it out with someone else first? In the world of Netflix and Hollywood, you betcha.

If The Ultimatum isn’t enough for you, how about HBO’s Minx, featuring a nude male porn star on the poster of the series?

minx promo poster HBO Max

As the show’s description narrates, Minx is focused on “An earnest young feminist [who] joins forces with a low-rent publisher to make the world's first erotic magazine for women.”

Classy.

Despite the push toward sexual anarchy, drugs, cheating, and more in Hollywood, there are many glimmers of hope in the midst of an increasingly dark industry. American viewers are wanting something different, and it shows. 

Viewers Are Steering the Ship

We often forget that a free-market society means the consumer, or in this case, the viewer, dictates what sells and what doesn’t. When Hollywood crosses the line, it’s viewers who demand a change.

In 2020, we saw worldwide backlash ensue against Netflix upon the release of Cuties, a controversial film following a young dancer in Paris. Variety Magazine published, “Cuties follows an 11-year-old Senegalese girl living in Paris who joins a ‘free-spirited dance crew’ (called ‘the Cuties’) to rebel against what she perceives as her Muslim family’s oppressive traditions. In the film, the conflicted protagonist, Amy, and the Cuties perform dance routines in which they simulate sex, and in the scenes the camera shots focus on their crotch areas. It also portrays preteen characters in other sexual situations.”

Cuties 2 IMDB

Almost immediately, a global uproar over the hypersexualization of children kicked off, including mass cancellations of Netflix subscriptions. As #CancelNetflix was trending across social media, cancellations of Netflix subscriptions reached multi-year highs.

More recently, we’ve seen a similar outcry from American viewers over Disney’s push to include sexualized conversations and “queer content” in their films, exposed by a call focused on Disney’s “Reimagine Tomorrow” campaign.

Throughout the past few weeks, previous Disney customers have canceled their Disney+ streaming subscriptions en masse, hosted protests outside the Disney theme parks, and vowed to never bring their family on vacation to Disney World again.

Turns out, there are real consequences for upsetting your viewers, and one thing is clear – American viewers are truly gravitating back toward family and traditional values, as well as uplifting and positive content, in the entertainment they consume.

So, where might Hollywood actually be going right to capture the hearts of America?

Family and Traditional Values on the Rise

Today, several series are shocking the world – not by being provocative or degenerate, but by being traditional.

Dominating the top of the charts since it’s premiere is Yellowstone (and also its spinoff series, 1883), following the rugged individualism of the American West through narrating the story of the Dutton family, owners of the largest ranch in the United States. The family must fight against land developers, government bureaucrats, and more in their quest to preserve their family legacy and fight the nation’s progressive push.

Yellowstone-Kevin-Costner-Luke-Grimes

A few months ago, the series set a new record for viewers – it hit a new series high with 9.3 million total viewers in Live+Same Day of the Season 4 finale, an increase of 81% from the Season 3 finale (5.2 million). 

In a constant push for progressivism, even when it leads to regression of our society, the Yellowstone story is hitting a cultural nerve – rejecting the lies of modernity and embracing the truth of tradition. The tight-knit family, their loyalty to the land, and their commitment to legacy have inspired generations culturally removed from the tough but rewarding reality of the great American West. Viewers long for the challenges of ranch life, competent masculinity, wide-open spaces, and pledge of family shown on the screen.

Alongside Yellowstone and 1883, Apple’s Ted Lasso won seven Emmy awards and broke records as the most nominated freshman comedy in Emmy Award history in 2021. The series’ decorated Hollywood grandeur is only surpassed by the response from viewers. After the massive success of its first season, Ted Lasso’s Season 2 premiere “drove Apple TV+ to a 200% viewership increase across the U.S., U.K., Canada, India, Italy, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, France and more.”

ted lasso apple tv

The series follows an American football coach who moves to England and is hired to manage a soccer team. Viewers are graced with unbridled optimism, a feel-good spirit, and the drive for excellence through the witty program, which made the entire world fall in love with the series.

The Guardian calls Ted Lasso “the most joyous show on TV,” while others take a more cynical approach – a recent Washington Post headline readsTed Lasso overwhelms with its kindness and compassion. It’s okay to find it annoying.”

Despite the naysayers, the series is reminding viewers all over the world of the joy of entertainment again, finding the beautiful truth in simple optimism once more.

Closing Thoughts

In a culture constantly pushing progress for the sake of progress, we find ourselves engulfed in the lies of modern America – especially for young adults. Mental health disorders are glorified, substance abuse becomes something to celebrate, and sexual anarchy is portrayed as the norm. 

The American entertainment industry finds itself at a crossroads in the 2020s – continue at full-speed on the train of progressivim (perhaps to their own demise), or allow viewers to fully steer the ship once more?

The good news is this – it seems hope remains in the dark reality of the broken entertainment industry, if we’re willing to speak up for it.

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