July 09, 2007


Let's pit them all against each other and then kill the producer of the winning show!

I LOVE what Jamie Lee Curtis has to say about "reality" shows. Though she's an actress, she's in films and obviously pays even less attention to TV than even I do. But recently a TV set in a bar caught her eye by chance one day, and she was confused and unsettled by what she saw. I'll just let her tell the story, but whether it's models, interior designes, singers, or chefs who are competing, why do Americans put such a mean-spirited emphasis on competiton? Gotta be #1--it's so Texas! (And ain't we had about enough Texan influence to last our drastically shortened lifetimes?) Can't there be 3 or 4 talented singers who are great in 3 or 4 different ways? And as I'm sure Jamie recognizes from her acting experience, since when did a competition become a substitute for a good script? And at what point did it rot our brains out so much that we don't even crave anything decent as entertainment anymore? At the point where we are trying to alert our blog readers about non-existent telemarketing schemes aimed at our cellphones? (See the blog entry which follows to comprehend this gibberish.)

I am as ignorant of Jamie's film career as she is of current TV programming, but her heart-felt, insightful piece inspires me to the point where I even feel guilty about giggling about that rumor that she was born a hermaphrodite. I'm now a big fan of Jamie Lee--uh Miss Curtis--and I urge you all to read every word of this brilliance!


I went to a bar last week. To say goodbye to a young friend of mine going to start her new life in Paris. At the bar, there was a TV playing without sound, some reality show about cooking. I need to admit that I don't watch TV...have never seen a single episode of Cheers, Friends, Seinfeld, American Idol..well, you get the idea. I don't even know how to turn on my TV as there is now something called... Input 1 or 2 or 3 and I have no idea what to do.

There I was trying to celebrate with my friend when my eye kept being pulled to the set on the wall. There were some chefs on the screen, all standing with their hands clasped behind their backs, at attention, as a panel of people (who are they?) told them mostly bad things about, I assume, their food. I knew they weren't nice supportive comments as the camera was close on the chefs' faces and they looked scared and sad. They were then marched in and out as a group until one woman was asked to leave. She was crying, packing up her knives. It made me so sad and sick to watch. Why was I drawn to this? I didn't want her to lose...did I? Do I? I don't even know her. Why would I wish her harm?

I understand there are many of these shows now. All "elimination"-based and faux reality. Real like a firing squad. I understand there is a good side, a jubilant winner getting their shot at fame and fortunes, but the bulk of the watching, I gather, is some communal elimination where the audience gets a hand in the stone-throwing. It begs the question of why we feel the need to watch this. Are we all so unhappy in our own lives we need the fix of watching another human go into the gladiator ring and come out a bloody, eviscerated mess? What does Russell Crowe scream in Gladiator -- "Are you not entertained"?



Blogger Aaron said...

She's absolutely right. The trouble is, these shows are cheap to produce (and it shows), and it keeps the Asses of the Masses glued to their chairs. Even otherwise SMART people are addicted to this shit, as if they could identify with any of those people. And one of my friends told me, "You have to keep up with the times." I said, "Or let them pass you by and wait for better ones to come along. I'll take that one."

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jamie Lee Curtiss will be a welcome addition a fresh breath of air to the reality television landscape

11:19 PM  

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