CBS was looking for another reality TV show when they recently suggested remaking the old TV sitcom "The Beverly Hillbillies", this time using a real family from Appalachia and the South. However, instead of finding their "perfect" TV show, they have found that rural America does not like to be made fun of.
Rural folks can laugh with the best of them and enjoy good humorous fun as well as anyone, but to be made a laughing stock on national TV is not being taken kindly by many country agrarians. In fact, it has even become such a sore spot among many of us in the South, that a Tennessee legislator has even presented a resolution in the State Senate criticizing CBS for attempting to make rural America something to poke fun at.
Signal Mountain's State Senator David Fowler submitted the resolution recently criticizing CBS for its plan to follow the experience of a poor Appalachian family being transplanted in Beverly Hills, California. Fowler is urging his fellow legislators to join him in voicing opposition to the reality TV show.
During a recent interview Fowler said, "It irritates me that things we would never think of doing to certain segments of our population we would do because these people don't know any better to fight back." He went on to say, "I'd rather they spend their money trying to help these people rather than trying to make a profit off of them."
Just like Senator Fowler, much of Tennessee's rural population sees no good coming from such a TV production like this. Rural America has had very little positive programming in many years when it comes to the national TV market. A show trying to depict real life Beverly Hillbillies would only reinforce what many people in our country now think of those of us who live in the country as a bunch of hicks or rednecks.
My neck may be somewhat tanned, my friends may not all wear the latest fashions, we do look upon a new pickup truck as a thing of beauty, and NASCAR does get top billing as a sport in my house, but those of us in rural Tennessee are a long way from what CBS is trying to portray. If they want to look at reality in rural America and our Tennessee backwoods let them do a show on farming in our state and making a living on a farm that supports a family as well as pay the taxes. Better yet, let's put some CBS TV executives out on an Appalachia farmstead and watch them experience what rural life is all about. Leave them in their fancy business suits and shiny shoes and send them to the barn to milk during a spring thunderstorm. Now that would be entertaining for me.
Senator Fowler needs to receive the full backing of all of us in Tennessee to stop CBS and the unknowing TV weird show producing CEOs from using rural America as something to make fun of. It's time New York and Hollywood quit looking down their noses at the people who help make this country great.
Georgia Senator Zell Miller on the U.S. Senate floor said it best the other day when he said, "What CBS and CEO Moonves propose to do with this cracker comedy is bigotry, pure and simple. They know that the only minority left in this country that you can make fun of and demean and humiliate - are hillbillies in particular and rural people in general."
Thanks State Senator Fowler and U.S. Senator Miller for standing up for rural America and its people.Your efforts are what reality is all about and not what is shown on TV.