Wednesday, February 12, 2003


My addiction to reality television has reached its peak. On Monday, I watched "Joe Millionaire", despite my constant complaints to anyone who will listen that the show is truly awful in every way. I tuned in because I thought the damn thing was going to come to a climax and we, the audience, would find out which lame girl the lame dude would choose. I also suspected that there would be a twist on a twist, whereby something else would be revealed to top the disclosure that Joe Millionaire is really Joe Liar, a lowly construction worker (moonlighting as an underwear model). Would Evan select Sarah the former fetish film actress? Or would he pick the neurotic, self-conscious Zora, who seems to have psychically known all along that he was keeping a secret? Well, as it turned out, all that was revealed was just how bad television could be, as the entire hour was devoted to a crappy recap of the previous episodes and a cliffhanger ending. After it was over, I wanted to hang myself over a cliff. I was so upset that I watched it. It ruined my night. Yet, I will still watch it next week for the same reasons that I wanted to watch it this week. But I don't know why. I don't like it. I don't get any pleasure out of it. I hate everyone on the show except the butler. It must be the addiction.

I vowed not to watch "American Idol" beyond the first few audition episodes. I loved laughing at the bad singers and didn't really want to jump on the train when it got rolling toward the top ten. But, I got hooked. It became apparent that this time around would be different, featuring a bunch of people who don't look like the American Idol but can sure sing. So I watched it last night and was proven right. The two best performances were turned in by Ruben, an offensive lineman-sized black man with a sweet voice and a gentle spirit, and Kimberly, an overweight black girl with tons of talent. The rest of the show sucked. The good-looking people couldn't sing, couldn't move, and failed to infuse their performances with the slightest bit of soul. One other such contestant who fit the mold, Frenchie, who was set to appear in one of the next two episodes, will not get her chance to strut her stuff. American Idol kicked Frenchie off the show today. Apparently, she posed nude for a Internet porn site a few years back in order to get the money to pay her tuition at Howard University. Frenchie is an amazing singer and word has it that Simon's production company is going to help her career along. But with all of these skeletons in the closet keeping the folks at The Smoking Gun busy, one has to ask, is anyone at these reality shows doing background checks? The very real possibility exists that they are doing the checks and choosing to use the controversy to boost ratings.

I expect the cultural nadir to be reached tomorrow night with the premiere of "Are You Hot?: The Search For America's Sexiest People".

Thank the TV lord for 24.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

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