Friday, June 06, 2014

Reality Shows

Reality programs have been around a long time. They've become a broadcast mainstay, in these days of desert winds. I get the seamy appeal, but the plethora of realities would seem to stifle audience interest. Bachelorettes, for heaven's sake, or lovebird publicity dynamos, Kim and Kanye.

I honestly don't know why these shows continue. They press dull and drab as heroic function. They represent Republicanism at its base value of zero. Anyway, they seem so faked up that one would expect them to flicker away. Well, faked up is the sort of ingenue we seem to favour, the mass appeal of not so much. Rather than flicker, they flock.

Long ago, public television followed a “real” family, the Louds. I didn't watch much of it, but it represented significant tv. I know, oxymoron. One of the sons came out during the filming, which was regarded as a bombshell at the time. Otherwise, what I saw of the show was dry and dispatched, a plucky attempt at relevance.

Empty Vee's Real World had its juicy moments for the first few years. Reality? I think not. Let's gather a handful of patently unmatchable personalities and let them go freefall. The show had a place where every Fussy Buttons could exhale in huge smallness about their housemates. Whoa: gossip, gripe: the human core.

That element, the whingeing, seems to be what has made this genre so widespread. Every pout, snipe, and gripe is ratings magic. I found that the initial lascivious jolt wore off quickly. The public testifies otherwise. When the show came to Boston, the Lifers were regarded as celebs, which clearly blows the Reality bit apart. Real or not, folks wanted to come home from work and settle in to a bunch of nobodies complaining about their housemates. Better than Gilligan and the Brady Bunch.

My attention strayed elsewhere last night but I saw some of a couple of realities, first a cooking one. Looked like 15-20 contestants who apparently feel they are awesome cooks. That seems like quite a crowd to handle, speaking television logistics. Hard to sort out love/hate among so many.

Celebrity cook Gordon Something leads the proceedings. He's known for acerbity, a la that jackboot who thronged American Idol, Simon Colwell. Two others joined him in overlordship: a critically serious fellow, presumably a restaurateur, and a plump Model Celebrity, who wore outre white glasses as a sign that he can wear outre white glasses in public. Outre means cred.

I dunno.

Attention kept shifting to various participants declaring that they are great cooks and this is their chance. I mean, their day job may be cleaning subways or talking to pianos, but in reality (a caustic factoid), they are chefs supreme.

In this episode—and don't we all live in episodes?—a woman won, by some presumption, the opportunity to have her meat balls, meatloaf, etc, be the standard for the others to attempt. You know this is stupid cooking, but you're excited, admit it. I witnessed no more of this splat. Competitive cooking doesn't register for me.

THEN, American Ninja. I actually have watched the Japanese version of this. It is an obstacle course of curious display. Contestants try. I aint saying it aint entertaining.,

The promo asserted: History will be made!!! History of two years, maybe. The thing about the 100 yard dash, or the mile run: we have a standard, a history. With this obstacle course, it's a once. One sees the difficulty of it, but it owns a short history of attempts.

The course begins with slanted perches that one leaps to. You could screw this up thru inattention but it should be an easy par.

Next comes a keg ride. What looks like a keg hangs on a line above a pool. One must attach oneself bearhug style, legs and arms. It then slides down the line. Midway, the line drops sharply. If you haven't the tightest of grip on the keg, you fall into the water hazard, the end. Many lost it at this point. One contestant nearly made it but the keg, which swung heavily, knocked him with a rebound as he tried to gain the far side.

The next, if I remember aright, is a dash across a bridge. This bridge pivots horizontally. Your first step will tilt it to the side, but if you can manage a second step, you can leap to the platform. I'm not sure how you can look at it and think you have a path. Seems like you just blast forward and hope you can extend to the platform.

Next a swing that you stand on, hung over the ubiquitous pool. The point is to launch yourself toward netting, which you must climb to reach the next platform. Otherwise, water hazard, and the end.

A sort of monkey bars follows. You have two rings, which you use to negotiate a series of pegs. You hang on the pegs by way of the rings, and move along by moving the rings to the next peg. That's a fairly straightforward tester.

Finalement, a dash up a curved surface similar to but steeper than what skateboarders work on. It is 13' high. You try to run up the curve so that you can reach the top and climb up. You then press the button to signify your accomplishment. Few succeeded. I wonder if there is room for cheating, like applications of adhesive to the soles of shoes. Stakes are high, after all.

The slanted perches claimed no one, but everything else was dicey. I will admit, it was entertaining to watch people compete. The attached blahblah thrilled less.

You would think Oprah Winfrey produced this show, the stream of feel good slogans never waned. Work hard, believe in yourself, believe in yourself working hard to believe in yourself, etc. It was an unrepressed banter of ended words, the way I heard it. I have to go on television to feel good about myself.

One contestant had watched the show and decided to believe in herself and work hard. She had been overweight but believing in working hard and working to believe in herself, to work hard in belief, she lost weight and got in shape. As she was introduced, she kissed her biceps. She wasn't that buff. All the intros were pro wrestling style. She failed, I forget where. Even tho she believed that if you work hard, believe in yourself, and work to believe in working hard for yourself, you will succeeded in believing that you worked hard, for yourself.

No woman had ever scaled the curved ramp (I didn't mench that woman and men compete equally). A couple of women had supposedly done it in training but with all the build up did not succeed in scaling the heights. This was a subplot that had yet to avail itself of plump interest. The best chance women did not, in this episode, make it up the ramp, whether failing at the ramp itself or earlier on.

Confidence is a great bundle but the show swarmed with solid slogan. That's all you really need.

An ex-Olympian competed, gymnast gold medal winner. I recognize the Olympics as the best versus the best, albeit with slogans. This dog and pony show doesn't match up. At all. Surprisingly, he lost it on the rings, Mr Iron Cross, he misplayed the rings.

A prob we meet here is where does one train? The answer (except see below), build your best replica. More importantly, believe in yourself.

It is absolutely true that the human body can do many things. The Boston Marathon has accumulated a cult who cry, I can run a mediocre marathon!!! Somehow, this show has made it a virtue for contestants to assert: I'm not as good as I claim to be. Which strikes an especially American note, I am sad to say.

A refugee from Cambodia came to Amerikay for the new life, trains suckers who want to compete in American Ninja. Yes, if you go thru all the exercises, you have a workout. But to learn the intricacies of leaping from one slanted platform to another seems crowded with misdirection. Child of the killing fields failed to complete the course. Somehow, the inspiration of that story didn't take hold.

Everyone has a reason to be Select. In this Reality World, growing up in Pol Pot's regime equals exactly being overweight, or just that your high school team failed to recognize your eminence. We all have startled stories to tell.

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