04 August 2005

La Ferme Celebrities & Reality TV

Television is my drug of choice. I've never been a TV fanatic, but since I returned from France I've had a major case of culture shock. Living in a Red State takes a lot of work. I forgot this. Thank goodness for low-brow diversions.

By default, reality shows are what I watch most. Mainly because they cannot be avoided. I tried not to get involved with Rock Star INXS because they promoted the hell out of it and that was a bother. However, after landing on CBS for a few minutes while channel surfing, I was hooked.

T likes to watch Big Brother 6. I do too. The contestants lose perspective on that show. Its funny to see all the drama and so-called strategy. Janelle and Kaysar are on the block this week - in case you care.

I end up crying every single time I watch Brat Camp on ABC. Don't tell anyone. I think its cruel how they put the kids' names on the screen and then, below their name, the kid's problem is listed. Rather than stating it nicely, like - "SHAWN, 17: Has addiction issues" the producers choose to say "SHAWN, 17: Steals from his mom." It just doesn't seem right. But, I guess truth is brutal. In the opening credits, they slide giant words over the kids' childhood pictures: DELINQUENT, LIAR, RAGE, RUNAWAY. Its inflammatory. These are kids afterall.

I knew kids like this when I went to a private high school. There were a handful of rich kids with troubles. They weren't as extreme as the BRAT CAMP kids. Wealth buffered the kids I knew. Watching this show, for some reason, gets to me. In most cases it's a single issue that brings these kids down. They lash out, and when all is unraveled it becomes clear they're all worked up about something that was unseen. I wish everybody had an easier time in life. I guess we wouldn't be us without adversity.

In France my favorite reality show was La Ferme Célébrités. I had no idea who the celebrities were. This, and not speaking much French, made the show confusing for me. Still, I watched...week after eventless week. I was worried that I would have to leave France, never knowing the winner of Celebrity Farm. When I stayed at an airport hotel the night before my return flight, the Celebrity Farm finale was playing on a huge TV in the bar.

Nothing ever happened on this show. There seemed to be a lack of conflict. Weeks later I learn that many of the animals on Celebrity Farm were dying off. They should have worked THAT into the story line.

"In May the show's mascot, a crested grey cockerel, was crushed when a production assistant accidentally heaved a bale of hay on to it. Later another hen died when it strayed too close to a high-powered studio lamp, and the pony had to be treated after it fell down the stairs"
I'm afraid I can't tell you why the pony was going down the stairs (perhaps trying to escape the boredom of Celebrity Farm?)


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