Thursday, May 20, 2004

Theatre of Cruelty

Yeah, Jasmine Trias is out of the running on American Idol! This is a good thing because I really wanted to watch the finale. I couldn’t subject myself to it if she was going to sing again.

Speaking of cruelty, I’ve caught a few episodes of the WB’s Superstar USA. Actually, I haven’t watched whole episodes, just parts of them. I knew the show was going to be mean, but I had no idea how mean (and frankly, at times, inappropriate).

For those of you who don’t know, the show is a mean-spirited hoax meant to convince bad singers that they are good singers.

Seems a bit redundant if you ask me.

The brutality is mostly directed at the people who actually have some talent. I say “some” because of all the people who were supposed to be good, none of them were actually that good. But they were good enough to not be told that they stink. If American Idol contestants are any indication, I’m sure that the people who were told that they suck will never believe the judges anyway. In this case, I hope it’s true.

Don’t get me wrong though; there are plenty of people who deserve what they get. You know who I’m talking about. They’re the modern marvels of psychological engineering who have found a way to cram two tons of ego, confidence, and arrogance into a package with absolutely no potential. Isn’t that the way it always is? I suppose the void created by the lack of talent must be filled with something, and chutzpah, it seems, is always handy.

Reality TV has become a strange beast. It’s instant tabloid. The show creates a celebrity and then proceeds to knock them down a couple of pegs while at the same time using the show as the obstacle that the new celebrity must overcome in order to rise above itself.


I have a new idea for a reality show that incorporates everything that people expect from the genre. Here’s my pitch:

I’ve Been Framed!

Part Punk’d, part Superstar USA, part Law and Order.

Talent is gathered from all over the US to compete in an American Idol type show (no live performances or voting – all pre-taped). The singers are auditioned and are followed through to the final selection. (All totaled, the show will last about 12 episodes. A good run for a reality show.)

Here’s where the show really starts.

Now, the winner of the competition thinks that they’re going to be an instant celebrity. We follow them as they prepare for fame and fortune.

Suddenly, there is a murder (staged of course by the producers). And all evidence points to the winner of the talent competition.

It’s a frame up! And the talent thinks it’s real.

Suddenly, the contestant is thrust into a fight to prove their innocence. Every indiscretion from their previous life is brought to light. They must gather together a defense and battle it out.

They can never win, though. The evidence is too strong.

They lose their case and are sentenced to death by firing squad. They spend a couple weeks on death row with no chance to appeal.

Finally, they are taken into the firing squad where they are fired at with blanks. Everyone has a good laugh and the twist is revealed.

They aren’t going to die! Instead they will win a prize of $1 million! Everybody has another good laugh. The contestant is reunited with his/her family and awaits the $1 million.

In a shocking double twist the prize turns out not to be $1 million, but rather a brand new toaster oven. More laughs.

What a fine idea! It’s been registered so don’t steal it, reality TV jerks.

Fun Fact: If wishes were horses, there would be a lot of mall fountains filled with manure.

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