Monday, March 21, 2005

REALITY TV BLUES

Well after spending a weekend watching nothing but upsets, upset people at political conventions and upset basketball games on TV, I decided I wanted to tune into something a little less upsetting and a little more escapist, something that had nothing to do with the real world and all its problems. So I tuned into reality TV in a stupid, birdbrained decision.

NAJAI'S EPISODE OF THE CONTENDER AIRS

Yesterday I tuned into the Contender again to see whether the fights were getting any better, and as it turned out it was poor Najai Turpin's episode. His Eastern team won the challenge and Najai got to pick his opponent. Unfortunately he picked the wrong opponent and he lost the fight on a pretty obvious, pretty convincing unanimous decision. And I felt really bad for him and really sad for his family, watching that whole show.

At the end of the episode they announced Najai had died- they didn't say it was a suicide- and Sugar Ray Leonard was on TV saying they set up a trust fund for his family.

It was really a sad, sad episode because you got to see poor Najai's family and his little kid. And you tuned into the whole episode knowing that it was going to end badly, that it was going to be a really sad ending. So that was really depressing. My night of viewing reality TV was off on a really sour note.

THE STARLET: JUDGES ARE ALL EVIL

Then I tuned into The Starlet over on Toronto 1 and actually sat through the entire thing. This is that reality show that actually airs on the WB, and the grand prize for the winner is supposed to be that she gets to be one of these babes on the WB. Actually, that was my whole reason to watch, to check out the babes. I had no other reason to tune in.

This was the show that New York Times called the best show on TV, or so the WB is saying about what they said. I don't know why they said that because in my judgement it's no better than America's Next Top Model, another mediocre and ridiculous waste-of-time reality show.

The Starlet is completely mediocre. It's the usual babes-living-in-the-same-house nonsense. Concept-wise this show has its moments. but the contestants are all rank amateurs who are lousy at acting, and the judges are the biggest collection of jerks ever assembled.

They had these six babes shooting a commercial in their bikinis, trying to sell some kind of product or something. And obviously none of them did all that great a job because I forgot whatever product they were trying to sell. But the other thing was that it was a lame commercial to begin with, it was poorly written and poorly put together, and the women all had trouble reading the lines because it was such a lousy ad. It was pretty obvious that the commercial did nothing to sell the product.

So who did the judges blame for the lousy commercials? Well, who else? The Starlets. They do their jobs and they get yelled at for it. And then one of them gets rejected.

These three judges, two of them being the divas Vivica A. Fox and Faye Dunaway, basically wasted no time trashing these babes and trashing their performances, saying they didn't understand a word they said. They told the South African model to get rid of her accent. They blasted another contestant for not having a good body and to go work out, and told some of the others that their acting was the pits. They repeatedly told these women that they didn't convince them to buy their product. But darnet, it was a lousy ad to begin with. These women may have been crummy actors but they were given a crummy product to work with. It was very easy to end up looking stiff.

Anyway the judges left these poor women in tears. Someone needed to give each of them a big hug and telling them things were going to be all right. Listen, I've been on TV and put up with crazy producers who acted like jerks, criticizing my performances and my wardrobe, the way I talked, etc. But that was different. I knew that all I needed to do was wait for them to quit or be canned, and I wouldn't have to put up with any more of that nonsense. And if I really got fed up I could have walked right out of there.

But these poor women have no recourse, they're stuck with Faye Dunaway and these jerks. Even on American Idol you only have to put up with Simon Cowell until the performances start. Then it all comes down to telephone voting and it matters very little what that jerk Simon thinks; if America loves you, you come back next week whether he likes it or not. Besides, he's not that bad, Simon's a sweet, generous guy compared to Faye Dunaway. At least if you do a good job he might find something good to say. And if he really rips you to shreds you might be able to get a lot of sympathy votes and win the competition in spite of him.

The worst part is that these poor WB babes can't quit the show. These days you can't even quit a show without looking like a total idiot; look at Mario from American Idol. People are looking through his trashcans, now, trying to figure out why he quit; what's his story, did he do drugs, was he a victim of child abuse, etc. Actually I think he got a better offer, that's what I think. I think he quit because he just didn't like the show and thought he could do better elsewhere, didn't want to end up like Kelly or Justin or any of those losers. But right now Mario's getting roasted. That's why you can't quit any of these shows. If you quit you end up looking bad.

So these poor women can't quit The Starlet. They have to stand there and take it from Faye Dunaway and get yelled at and get told that their bodies are no good: all the standard humiliation elements. When they eliminate someone at the end of the show they use the signature line: "don't call us, we'll call you." Clever, ranks right up there with "you're fired." But these judges are too arrogant and too smug, and Faye Dunaway is an old hag anyway.

I think I figured out why people watch reality TV. They tune in to see people fighting with each other, and then get criticized by these evil judges, and then get their dreams snuffed out on national TV and then they have to pack up and go home to pathetic Oklahoma or Mississippi or whichever lousy state they came from. I think it's the Jerry Springer effect. The audience tunes in to watch other people get humiliated. The viewers' own lives are lousy and they put up with a lot of crap, and their own dreams have been crushed. It's good to know you're not the only total loser out there, that there are other losers, just like you. At least you're not on TV, making a fool out of yourself like they are.

That's why people watch. Sort of therapy, like Dr. Phil.

I don't know about you but I'm tired of watching people get humiliated on TV every week. I want to see more uplifting entertainment.

YOU'RE HIRED

Finally, here's a story about two old Apprentice 2 guys, Raj and Bradford. Seems Raj is getting SUED in the state of Florida and he has hired Bradford, who's real job is working as an attorney in Fort Lauderdale, to get him off. Anyway here's the story from Celebrity Justice.

Sounds to me like this was a really stupid dispute, the kind of stupid dispute lawyers routinely have to deal with on a regular basis, and if they all don't settle this out of court they're all a bunch of fools.

Thought I'd end on a fun note. Going on The Apprentice turned out OK for Bradford after all, he got his name out there and got some new clients. Who needs Donald Trump. Trump, you're fired!

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