CLICK ... I bypass realIty shows, as fast as I can. "Big Brother." It gets the Em award for being the #1 INTOLERABLE SHOW.
The cast are not people with whom I can identify. The young men and woman the producers pick, ( after many auditions, interviews, sessions with psychiatrists, practice group sessions) -- all them seem unpleasantly ignorant, egotistic, unusually self aware.
And the show's host, Julie, a good-looking, smoothly articulate, P.R. person, has a condescending air. She seems amused by the cast members. Her confident, know-it-all manner emphasizes the naivete, the banality of the contestants. Take a listen/look:
The fact is, aside from night vision camera's shots of various couples under-the-sheets and their sometimes private, often public romancing which Julie calls, "sho-mance," I am bored. I'm not rooting for any of them, and I don't care who stays, or goes, or wins. And Julie ... I find her seriously irritating.
CLICK CLICK "Survivor" is Em's # 2 INTOLERABLE show .
Simple, average Americans, 16 to 20 people, get abandoned in some of the most unforgiving places in the world. They're separated into two teams. Each team competes for cash and prizes. At their tribal council meetings, the contestants vote off other tribe members until only one final contestant remains and wins the title of "Sole Survivor."
I can't watch it.
The primitive living conditions -- the tricky, ridiculous, sometimes dangerous contests the participants must win -- the way tribe members meet and vote to eliminate each other -- I can't buy into the suspense that's created. Though the non-actors convey their terror, anger, confusion, exhaustion, I know it isn't really the life and death situation the script and filmed action implies. (There's obviously cameramen, and a TV tech crew lurking in the bushes.)
The cast is a bunch of typical but slightly odd-ball guys and gals, who might get together sexually. But as their eating, sleeping, sanitation, and toilet things are revealed, mostly I'm thinking "Boy, I'm glad I'm not there."
CLICK CLICK CLICK . "Amazing Race" is # 3. I just avoid it. It's four to six couples or families vying for first place in a race that takes them to exotic places and forces them to work together. The press releases call it the ultimate scavenger hunt but gee ... well, maybe people who love to travel love it. I watched a section of a segment and tuned away.
# 1 TOLERABLE "America's Got Talent. "Idol" is okay -- the judges are more interesting than the talent. I can't watch "Dancing with the Stars," and "So You think You Can Dance." Great dancers are used as partners, the choreography is "super wow-wow" (Em phrase for flashy stuff), packed with acrobatic contortions that don't impress me at all so I don't watch. But Randy Jackson's "Dance Crew" is fun -- each crew with its marvelously complicated, unison brings back memories of rehearsal days that are -- thank God -- gone -- never again to be endured.
# 2 TOLERABLE --"The Biggest Loser." It's interesting, but depressing. The trainers and hosts are likeable, down to earth, and real. The grossly overweight bodies, the passionate commitment of the participants -- it's definitely worth seeing once -- but I've never bothered to see it a second time.
Yes, new "RealIty" shows are being cooked up by the guys who concocted the current hits. Untrained actors, unrecognizable faces, folks just being themselves, who are paid (and happy) with what they'd earn if they were on jury duty -- you can't beat it!
I worry about actors. It's sending them to the unemployment lines.
I worry about us.
We're already watching forensics, death, ER disasters, autopsies -- what's next? I can't think of anything dreadful that we haven't seen , but those creative guys -- they'll think of something new, worse, more shocking, double-triple unbearably awful!
Well ... I guess I'll head for my Baker's rack where all the mysteries by Parker, Elmore Leonard, Turrow and DeMille sit, and start re-reading again. Glasses on, holding a paper-back -- that's a reality, chock-full of tricky, complicated suspenseful stuff I'll enjoy.