The curse of all television programming is a quest for novelty, routinely interrupted by some sweep of moralizing. Reality TV is, of course, following this path. Even so, something about Joe Millionaire, which is predicated on misleading the participants on the show (causing them to believe Joe is rich, straight, and available), seems somehow disquieting. I suppose it is not very different from the Candid Camera-type programs, but it still seems somehow mean spirited, perhaps because the “joke” lasts much longer than five or ten minutes.
I’ll be curious see to the reaction to a UK show called “There’s Something About Miriam,” based upon a group of men competing for the affections of a secret transsexual. The low point of the series is, apparently, when the star picks her winner and then lifts her skirt to reveal that she is still a pre-operative transsexual.
One wonders mainly about why Miriam would allow herself to be placed in a role that is clearly intended to provoke existing phobias regarding the transgendered. That aside, several of her suitors are now suing the broadcaster for this deception, probably ensuring its success among audiences. The alternative, of course, is that this is judged to have exceeded the bounds of bad taste. My guess is that we aren’t there yet, which makes me wonder what the other shoe (show) will be. With this and Russian prisoners entering singing competitions for parole, can Running Man be far off?