A gorgeous creature

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?

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3 Comments

  1. Posted 11/1/2003 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    I like your description of these reality TV shows being like candid camera — only that they last longer. Another interesting reality twist of late is Spike TV’s Joe Schmo. For this show, they picked the man with “the biggest heart in America” so that they could trick him that he was on a reality TV show, when in fact HE WAS the reality TV show. The other people in the house, the host, everyone … were scripted actors. Very Truman Show-esque.

    In the final “reveal” to him at the end of the season, they went on & on about how they picked the right guy for show, how nice he was, etc. Then it clicked, had they NOT gone out of their way to pick someone so nice then they could have had a lunatic on their hands at that last moment.

    On an unrelated technical note, your anti-comment spam thing is pretty neat.

  2. Posted 11/1/2003 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Kaye: I clearly need to watch more TV. I was entirely unaware of Joe Schmo. Wouldn’t they *want* him to be a lunatic? Isn’t this what drove the Real World?

    I was in the local TGI Fridays (Buffalo has a distinct lack of good restaurants) when one of the guys who had been on Fraternity Life came in with a hanger on. He was *shocked* that his role on the show hadn’t led to fame and fortune. On the show, of which I only could bear to watch a few episodes, despite having a number of our students as actors (or whatever), this guy had generally made an ass of himself by refusing to be a team player in pretty uncool ways. I don’t know, but I suspect this was calculated to make him a superstar, following the pattern of similar behavior on other MTV shows. No luck. Nobody cared. That’s reality.

    I like when you post because it reminds me to visit your blog! I don’t envy your definitional problems: not just of celebrity but also of blogs. David Bowie is an interesting case, breaking serious ground with Bowie Net. Depending on how loose your definition is, he’s been blogging for many years.

  3. Posted 11/2/2003 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    I watch reality TV but you LIVE it in Buffalo with Sorority/Fraternity life … & they say that all the nuts roll down hill to Florida. Great anecdote.

    BTW, I’m happy to announce that I now have RSS so you can have my content delivered right to your aggregator. Insert shameless plug: http://kaye.trammell.com/blog/index.rdf .

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