Thursday, January 18, 2007

Winter Preview: Rules of Engagement

This may sound like a repeat of my critic of 'Til Death. However, I find it important to keep alive the discussion about media's negative portrayal of marriage.

Rules of Engagement is a comical look at relationships primarily from the man's perspective. To do this, they focus on a married man (Patrick Warburton), an engaged man (Oliver Hudson), and the single guy (David Spade).

The unfortunate thing is, that while this is advertised to be about relationships, the real story is that it is a put-down-marriage forum. When compared to 'Til Death, this show is worse. At least in 'Til Death it appears that Eddie and Joy are genuinely in love. However, in Rules of Engagement Jeff and Audrey (Megyn Price) seem to just barely get a long. And in the engaged couple, Adam appears to already be looking to get out of the commitment with Jennifer (Bianca Kajlich).

The only person who appears to be happy is the still single Russell, who it appears that Jeff and Adam aspire to be. However, their commitments are holding them down. The underlying message is that marriage is drudgery.

Looking at the cast, this will be a well done show. The only thing that would prevent it from staying on the air is if people don't like it. I already don't.

Media has too many negative messages about marriage. I don't wish for television to portray marriage as all diamonds and roses, because it isn't. However, I am tired of the many messages that say that marriage is nothing but animal waste and pits either, because it isn't.

Media messages about marriage should be balanced. They should work to provide a varied taste of both the good and bad in marriage.

Another problem I have with this show is the overemphasis on sex. While sex is an important part of marriage, it should be respected more than it is on television. One of the problematic messages in this show is that married sex is terrible, and single sex is great. This is the wrong message for a society where sex leads to too much out of wedlock children and the issues of caring for children in two homes, and with the medical issues that are involved.

Before ending, I wish to clarify that I am not saying the 'Til Death is a good show. I only use it as a comparison, and my preference for it over Rules of Engagement is only because there is slightly more positive messages about marriage.

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