RUSH: Did you watch the finale last night? Not the finale. (interruption) You didn’t…? (interruption) Do you watch Game of Thrones? (interruption) You watch it last night? (interruption) Okay. (interruption) Well, so I won’t do any spoiler alert. Oh, one thing I do want to say. For those of you who haven’t watched it yet, I’m gonna try to give you some assistance here. The entirety of the episode… It’s an hour and 22 minutes. Virtually 85% of it is battle action. Of course, “Winter is Coming,” “the Night King…”
It all takes place at night, and there have been many complaints from people today and last night that it was too dark, that they really couldn’t see who lived, who got killed or died, couldn’t keep up with their favorite characters. Too dark. Couldn’t keep up with their favorite characters. A lot of people are claiming that HBO blew it by shooting it too dark, and one of the theories is that by shooting it dark they didn’t have to focus on detail so much. That’s not what happened. I’m gonna tell you what happened here, folks. It’s a common mistake.
The people that produce this show produce this show as though it is a movie, and where do you watch movies? You watch them in a darkened theater on a giant screen with a very bright projector. But how many of you turn every light in your room at home off, put blackout shades on the windows, and make your living room the equivalent of a movie theater? My guess is that none of you do, or very few. I did. I watched it in pitch black, which I have the ability to do because I’ve set it up that way. I’m a forward-thinking guy.
But if you watch… Even if you have a big TV, if you 55-, 60-, 75-inch, whatever, TV, if there’s any ambient light in the room… They didn’t edit it. I think they made a mistake. I think they edited it as a movie. It’s almost a feature length. And make sure that your source material is good. For example, some people were watching digital streaming last night, and if you watched it live digital streaming, then you were among the gazillions trying to, and the stream might have been degraded enough that you would also lose some quality.
So if you haven’t yet seen it, make sure you choose a source that’s good — cable, DirecTV — something that produces a solid signal. If you’re gonna watch it streaming, you could probably do that now since the big crush is over, but make sure you’ve got a really rock-solid connection if you want to see it in full-fledged 1080p. If you do that and if you darken your room, then don’t blow up the brightness or contrast on your TV. You can do that too much and then it all starts bleeding together. But if you haven’t yet watched…
This is a public service here from one inside broadcaster to plebes.
If you haven’t yet watched it, make sure your room in which you watch it is dark as you can make it and… (sigh) Well, I wouldn’t advise recalibrating your set, but if your set has preconceived settings that automatically mix the brightness and the contrast and the color level and the tint and the color temperature, choose “cinema” or “THX” or something. Don’t choose “vivid.” Whatever you do, don’t choose “vivid.” That’s not how you overcome darkness. A lot of people choose the “vivid” setting ’cause it makes it as bright as it can be. They turn the contrast all the way up.
But that’s been the only complaint about it that I’ve run across.
RUSH: Adam in St. George, Utah. Thank you for holding, and welcome to the EIB Network. Hi.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, it’s a privilege and an honor. I’ve always wanted to talk to you. Thanks to my awesome parents who always taught us truth, I’ve been listening to you in the past 25 years. So thank you. I just had a quick comment, slash, question for you.
CALLER: You were talking about Game of Thrones earlier. From what I understand there’s — and I know it’s a highly entertaining show. I don’t watch it myself, but from what I understand I think almost most of the episodes have a pretty gnarly kind of porn scene in it, so I’m wondering when families get together, people get together and sit down over a bowl of popcorn and that comes on, what happens, like what do you do, Rush? I’ve always respected you.
RUSH: Well, there is —
CALLER: I know it’s an awkward question.
RUSH: No, no, no. This is a great Open Line Friday question. You can throw anything — it’s what I tell ’em on Fox — throw anything you want at me. I don’t care. I am totally informed. I don’t equivocate. I know exactly — but, you know, I got a problem here, Adam. I’ve got 10 seconds left. But I’m gonna answer this. I’m gonna answer. I’m gonna say thank you for calling, but I’m gonna answer it ’cause I know exactly why you’re asking it. I’m not gonna run away from it.
RUSH: We’ve had some very complimentary callers today, and I never want to appear as though I take that for granted. I don’t. I appreciate all of it. And I thank you tremendously for it. Telephone number, if you want to be on the program’s 800-282-2882.
So Adam, St. George, Utah, “I understand Game of Thrones is highly entertaining, perhaps well done, but, man, Rush, the smut, the pornography, the profanity. I mean, how do you gather the family around and watch that stuff?”
Well, A, I do not have any crumb crunchers, so that isn’t a factor. And it never has been. By the way, folks, when I talk about these shows, I’m not pushing them. I’m simply acknowledging I watch them, and I know a lot of people do. I mean, my comments earlier, the reason this got started, the Game of Thrones episode last night was one for the ages in terms of just what it took to make it. It was ambitious.
But it was bloody and gory and it had just yuk stuff throughout it. But as a professional achievement it can’t be denied what it was. But it was, to a lot of people — and no spoilers here, don’t worry — a lot of people that watched, it was just too dark. They complained while it was on, “I can’t see anything here, why did they do this?”
And I was explaining, to those of you who haven’t seen it, I think they edited the episode last night the way movies are prepared. Movies are colorized and texturized and processed, assembled to be watched in a pitch black room where the only light is the screen. Very powerful projectors, digital processors now. But how many of you watch television that way?
Very few people make your room as dark as you can make it. How are you gonna find the joint you’re smoking or the beverage that you’re consuming or any of that, so you have some light on in the room. Some even, you watch it, depending time of day, might have late afternoon sunlight streaming in. But you’ve got some lamps on or ceiling lights. And who knows what kind of reflections on your TV screen from that light.
But the more brightness in your room, the less contrast your screen is gonna have. And I think HBO — I’m just guessing — I think they edited and processed this episode for people who would watch it in a movie theater because it was hyped and presented as a feature length episode, meaning movie length. It wasn’t quite that, but it was close. It all took place at night where the only ambient light was fire, moonlight, and candles.
I think another reason why they filmed it in such darkness was to create a tension. The more trouble you have hearing or seeing something, the odds are you’re gonna have even more focus trying to keep up with it. But I think they also wanted to make it kind of tough to follow as to which characters were killed and which survived ’cause it was tough to tell.
So if you haven’t watched it yet, make sure that your source is good, meaning don’t watch on a low quality stream. Make sure it’s high quality, 1080p, and make sure your room is dark. And on your TV, you know, find the preset for cinema or THX or something, but do not turn on vivid. That’s just gonna wash all the black out. As to the content, I realize that — I mean, I love Ray Donovan. And I’m telling you, folks, there’s nothing more perverse than that show. I mean, that is just straight up and down depravity. It’s so depraved, it’s funny.
If you think your family’s a mess watch one episode of that show and you’ll be thankful for any family problem you’ve got. Now, I’m not a student of acting, either, so I don’t watch these, “Wow. That was a great job of acting.” I’m becoming a little bit more aware of that as I grow older, but I watch television for a host of reasons.
One of the reasons I play golf is I’m thinking about nothing else. It’s the perfect escape. For four hours or however long it takes, you’re thinking about nothing else. I don’t know about you, I need that. I get the same thing with watching television shows.
Now, not all the shows that I watch are depraved. One of my favorite shows is Blue Bloods on CBS, which is one of the most wholesome — in fact, I can’t believe it’s on CBS. Friday nights at 9 o’clock, Tom Selleck’s show. And there’s not an element of it that would make you turn it off or not watch it with your kids.
As far as this depraved stuff, you can’t avoid it anymore. And condemning it, I’ve been that route. I’ve done that. There have been countless efforts over the years by politicians’ wives and first ladies to have even more of a warning system for bad language and things that children shouldn’t see, lyrics in rap and rock music, and it’s always been met with laughter and you’re just a bunch of prudes and so forth.
In fact, let me tell you this, just to give you an example. This is not a hype. I’m just giving you information here. Apple realizes that the product that has made them a trillion-dollar company has reached market saturation. That’s the iPhone. I mean, the days of exponential growth have been reached because pretty much everybody that has or wants a premium smartphone now has one.
So the game now is convincing people to upgrade them. Well, most people don’t buy a new one every year especially now when they cost anywhere from 800 to $1,300. And they’re made so well that people are holding them for two and three years now. And now that you can replace the battery in a 3-year-old phone and make that phone essentially brand-new, a lot of people are doing this.
So the sales of iPhones — and it’s not just Apple, but they lead the pack here, they’re leveling off. They have to find other sources of revenue now if they want to maintain the P&L and the market cap and all that. And they’ve decided to do it with services, which means subscribing to a bunch of apps. And these are recurring expenses. Subscribing to Apple News, Apple Music, subscribing to various publications.
Now they’re gonna add a streaming service, Apple TV+. And they’re going to go the original content route, in addition to providing other networks like HBO, Epix, Showtime, you name it, and you’re gonna pay incrementally for whatever networks you want, but there’s already a whole bunch of these streaming services out there.
So Apple hopes to differentiate theirs with their original content. And they’ve hired some really top rate Hollywood writers, producers, and actors and actresses to star in these original shows that they are at this moment producing, the streaming service is supposed to announce — well, supposed to debut in the fall, the new content is. The actual TV app and streaming service is in beta now, and it’ll debut next month, in May.
But, guess what? There are complaints galore from all of the producers and writers they’ve hired because Apple wants it all to be family friendly. That is Apple’s reputation now, that they’re family friendly. There’s nothing pornographic, there’s nothing depraved, nothing controversial in that regard about Apple other than maybe some of their social stances. But in their products, they emphasize privacy, they emphasize any number of things that are family oriented.
They’ve carved this out as a marketing niche and now some of these people they’ve hired are claiming that their programming is dull and boring and my God, it’s horrible. And that Apple is riding herd over the producers, making sure there’s not a bunch of smut in this stuff.
And the tech media is saying that Apple is automatically guaranteed to fail here because they’re not gonna be producing what American audiences want. American audiences don’t want the Hallmark Channel, they don’t want wholesome stuff, this has been demonstrated, they want the smut, they want the escapism and all that. So we’ll see.
I mention this only to tell you that Apple apparently has made a decision that they can’t out-smut HBO or Netflix. I’m using “smut” as a general term. They can’t out-controversial programming or sex, language, all this stuff. They’re going the family route. Not quite the family route. They’re going some adult, but there isn’t gonna be any gratuitous violence or sex supposedly, and they’re getting creamed for it, by the media, tech media. Tech media is saying, “Apple, bunch of old-fashioned, they can’t do this, they’re making iPhones this way, but they can’t make TV content like this. It’s never gonna sell.”
Well, we’ll see. But they clearly think there’s a market for it. You know, it is what it is. I think, folks, when you watch this — I’m not a child, and I don’t bring children in to watch this stuff with me. And I know full well it is not — I’m old enough and mature enough that I’m able to keep that stuff — I can watch it, I can let it in, I can process it, but it’s not gonna make me leave home and want to do that stuff that’s depicted on screen.
So I’m able to have boundaries and that stuff, I can watch it and that’s all it is, is pure fantasy on a screen. I don’t live in it. I don’t fantasize about it. But I’m not a kid, either. And those of you that have kids, this stuff is a problem. And a lot of it you shouldn’t watch with kids unless you have a really solid relationship with them and you can talk to them about things like this. But even that, for some of this content, would be a risk.
But it’s the way entertainment is going. The boundaries are constantly moving in terms of what is permissible. For example, folks, there is a four-letter word that means urinate, begins with P, ends with S. I hear it everywhere now. I hear it on radio. It is common on television. I would never utter it on this program unless I’m quoting someone, and even then I would get queasy about it, maybe because I’m old-fashioned or old or mature, what have you. But that’s not it. Just it’s not necessary, so why say it?
But my point is it’s becoming common, whether you want to call it the degrading of culture or the decline. Whatever you want to call it, it’s happening. And it used to be that you couldn’t, in a prime time TV show, a husband and wife like Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke slept in separate beds. You couldn’t even put ’em in the same bed. And if you did, they were in pajamas or whatever, but they were never in bed in the bedroom.
Now of course it is the exact opposite. So does this stuff have its own detrimental effect? A lot of people think that it does. But it isn’t gonna clean up any time soon. The trend is the way it is. And it’s called realism and why hide that from anybody? The old stuff was what was artificial, portraying things on TV that never happened, meaning Ozzie and Harriet or Donna Reed and her family, they weren’t real.
So if you can watch this stuff and have it stay on the screen and that’s it — in fact, if some of it disgusts you, that’s fine, but you can’t access very much prime time video entertainment these days without exposing yourself to that. It is what it is.
Let me take a break. See, I told you I was gonna answer the question, and I guess the cop-out is I don’t have kids. His real question, “Well, how do you watch it with a bunch of kids?” Don’t have any, so not a challenge.