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It’s not TV, it’s ... kinda cheap

June 15, 2012
By Wes Burns , Times-Republican

HBO thinks it's better than you.

Correction: HBO KNOWS it's better than you, and you should feel lucky to pay the $15 a month for the privilege to watching such quality programming.

They don't even hide their arrogance anymore. Every time you sit down to watch something on HBO you are forced to sit through a series of grandstanding commercials for their own programming consisting of little more than still images from the shows combined with music which would be more fitting accompanying a space ship battle than promoting the next episode of "Life is Short."

Nothing says "better than TV" than a weekly 22 minute joke about being a little person! You've done it again Ricky Gervais!

Don't get me wrong, I do love some things about HBO. "Big Love," "The Wire," "The Larry Sanders Show" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" are some of the best things to happen to TV since "Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp."

Look it up.

But do I have to endure HBO's endless victory lap between shows? How many times am I going to watch one of their commercials attempt to evenly distribute the gravitas between "Boardwalk Empire" and the Director's Cut of "Daredevil?"

And there's the rub.

It isn't so much that HBO thinks of itself as somehow being above its own medium, rather it is the rank hypocrisy that comes with their self serving ad campaigns.

For every "Sopranos" they produce, HBO gives us "1st and Ten," "Dane Cook's Tourgasm" and "Taxicab Confessions."

How about a new show about horse racing with Dustin Hoffman?

How about cancelling your new show after eight episodes because you somehow got three horses killed filming a show that is mostly people looking at racing forms?

You've got Bill Maher pretending he's a voice of reason and not just anchoring a show that is the unholy offspring of "The Daily Show" and "Fox and Friends," "Entourage" showing us all what happens when you give talentless actors 8 year contracts and not a single rerun of "Fraggle Rock."

And then HBO has the gaul to parade G.W. Bush's head around on a pike.

Apparently the "Game of Thrones" people used a prosthetic George W. Bush head on a pike during what I can only assume was a light hearted moment for the show.

And what was the producer's response when, shockingly, some members of Congress were a bit incensed about the former commander in chief being paraded about in such a manner?

The producers claim they order body parts in bulk for "Game of Thrones" as it is too expensive to keep ordering new ones.

You mean I'm paying $15 a month for this channel and you guys have go to "Heads-R-Us" and grab the cheap "celebrity pack?" If I look close enough who else am I going to see? Jay Leno? Burt Reynolds? Rosie O'Donnel? Is Rosie going to be in "Game of Thrones" because you guys slashed the fake head budget to make more commercials about how great your shows are?

Get it together HBO! You used to be on top but now I spend more time watching AMC than HBO, and that even has commercials! Just cancel half of your allegedly deep but actually boring programs ("How to Make it in America," "Girls") and just focus on a few good shows, like you used to.

Or just give us another season of "Big Love." Either way, really.


Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Friday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or



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