Saturday, July 23, 2005

REALITY BITES

I've about had it with reality TV.

I know it is the summer and that the summer is traditionally the time when the networks roll out all the reality TV, because nobody watches TV in summertime and all that. So they feel they have to program reruns or cheap junk to get an audience. We all know that. But man, the stuff on TV these days is garbage. And I can't take any more of this reality TV.

For instance, we have The Princes of Malibu, probably the worst show ever shown on TV in my book. It ranks right down there with any of the complete travesties Jerry Springer, Maury Povich and Geraldo have ever been associated with. You had this record mogul getting in to nonsensical arguments with his stepkids who he threatened to cut off, so he made them go get real jobs and stuff. Except that instead of being happy that these losers got jobs it would be another excuse for the dad to get mad at them again. It was so obvious that this show was staged and that everyone on the show was an idiot. Now I hear that the mom and record producer have split up! They're getting a divorce, and the show has been CANCELLED by FOX afrter only two shows. Good. The Princes of Malibu was a FRAUD.

Another show that has me riled up is I Want to Be a Hilton. I saw that show and all I will say is that it's a boring ripoff of a ripoff. I don't know which one, but I swear I've seen this crap somewhere before. Kathy Hilton has no talent whatever. It looks like this show is a flop anyway, but really, I have had enough of these phony reality TV "stars". They all have no talent and are a waste of TV space, and I'm convinced they're being foisted on a public that doesn't want to see them, period. I don't want to see the Hiltons, or Rob and Amber, or Trista from the Bachelor/ette, or Omarosa, or Richard Hatch, or Elizabeth Hasselback or any of these other losers on my TV screen ever again. Their 15 minutes ended a long time ago. I read somewhere that Ereka from The Apprentice was ashcanned by the Tony Danza Show - that's progress.

Another thing we are seeing now are more stupid dance shows. ABC had a big hit with Dancing with the Stars, even though I have no idea why. When I tuned in to it I quickly came to the conclusion that the show was a boring waste of time, with amateurish celebrity ballroom dancers with two left feet all getting yelled at by pretentious judges. Not what I call entertainment, not much effort put into the show I must say. And yet millions of Americans tuned in to see the sexy Kelly Monaco win. I don't get it. And now they claim that soap actress Kelly didn't deserve to win, she supposedly screwed up her dance routine and the judges were too stupid to notice. That she won because she posed for Playboy and that people voted for her because of her sex appeal. Whatever. (By the way, Trista was in this one, too, but she lost, probably because she posed for the wrong magazine: MAXIM.)

Now FOX has come up with the requisite edgy ripoff show, So You Think You Can Dance. It's produced by the same geniuses who gave you American Idol and so we get all these crummy dancers getting heckled by judges. Already this waste of time is a hit, so we can expect network TV to serve up even more reality trash in the future.

Not all these shows were terrible- I must admit I kind of liked Beauty and the Geek. It was a really fun, goofy show with adorable people on it. At least it was an original idea, which a lot of these shows are not. A lot of these new shows are blatantly ripping off American Idol or Dancing With the Stars, because they think people will go for that nonsense. Which means we can expect a lot more dance ripoff shows and shows with arrogant judges on them, humiliating people. I wouldn't be surprised to see a celebrity figure-skating reality show. Mark my words, it's going to happen, people. We've already had the absolutely lame Hit Me Baby One More Time, with a bunch of has-beens trying in vain to come up with another hit song. The network exec who approved that really stupid idea for a show deserves impeachment.

As a viewer I must say I am really frustrated. I want to see good TV on the networks again and especially want to see good comedy and drama- stuff where it's obvious that the people working on the show made a reasonable effort to produce something good. But all the boring people in middle America keep making hits out of the lamest, cheapest TV shows. All this does is encourage these networks to dumb down and put on even more crap, so we get Rock Star INXS and all these other lousy ripoff shows. And we don't get network investment in shows that might actually contend for Emmys or improve the general state of television in the United States. Plus, the religious right is scaring the heck out of advertisers and going ape over wardrobe malfunctions. So the networks are scared to try any edgy groundbreaking stuff that might win awards and get critical praise (you know, with gangsters in it and stuff), all because they're afraid of advertisers pulling out.

In a lot of ways the networks' hands are tied. They're giving the public what they want, and what they want right now on TV is junk.

Thanks a lot, you American couch potatoes.

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