“Not long ago, kids in tow, I burst in unannounced on my parents and found them absorbed in some ubiquitous TV sitcom. While we peeled off our coats and the kids started chasing each other around the house, I jokingly chided my mom for wasting her time on such mindless drivel. In reply, she playfully denounced my elitist taste and defended her show as "good, wholesome entertainment." Well, it may indeed have been entertaining. And being a show that originally aired back in the early eighties and even then was aimed at an older demographic, it was relatively free of the profanity, sexuality, vulgarity, and similar material that almost routinely taints current TV programming. What caught my attention, however, was my mom's use of the word "wholesome," which seemed oddly inappropriate with reference to such a program. Innocuous, maybe. But wholesome?”
In this essay, Travis T. Anderson, who directed the BYU International Cinema program for several years, explores the purposes of art and whether it is truly wholesome.