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20.4.07 1828
The 7 - Random - FOX spouse swapping show sets new standard for degradation
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Boston Idol
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#1 Posted on 21.7.04 1659.35
Reposted on: 21.7.11 1659.35
Don't worry, this isn't some polemic
on the sanctity of the family or on
how these supposed reality series
pander to the voyeur in us all.

If I didn't appreciate the "reality"
genre's constant attempts to raise
the bar on degradation and suffering,
our modern answer to the macabre
"dance marathons" of the Depression,
I wouldn't have watched the show,
though I note several critics didn't
let not seeing the show stand in the
way of yet another sermon.

No, I understand that people find
the degradation and suffering of
others funny, particularly if the
suffering isn't too severe and if
the person is portrayed as someone
who deserved a little comeuppance.

But, I did think FOX' latest formula
was going to stretch too far for
reality fans. Swapping moms between
a poor black family and a wealthy
polyracial family seemed too contrived,
even for a genre where "the twist"
has become as obligatory as Michael
Myers not actually being killed.

Sure enough, the show went immediately
to some hackneyed spots like the wealthy
family taking their new mom, Al Mela,
out for sushi so that she could make
horrified faces. Tammy Nakamura, the
kind of ex-cheerleader blond one often
sees on shopping channels encouraged
her new, poor kids to set college goals,
telling them "this is America." FOX
even tossed up some fireworks in a too
obvious attempt to dress up that remark.

But the show started to pick up speed
the next morning. Al Mela got up early
and discovered that 72-year-old Nana,
the live-in mother of the rich plastic
surgeon, was the only one awake. They
spent some time bonding until the others
straggled out of bed, which meant...

Poor dad Anthony Biggins found his new
wife, Tammy, sound asleep in the morning.
He shook his head and closed the door.
She later awoke, checked the clock, and
went right back to bed. Eventually one
of the hungry children woke her up.

Audio played of the kids talking about
how new mom had promised to cook their
breakfast as shots aired of the kids
struggling to cook their own eggs on
the stove while Tammy read the paper,
but that was not the lowlight.

A later scene aired where a petulent
Tammy, who apparently never cooked,
ordered her poor husband to go out
and buy her a sandwich. He tried to
explain that he saves his dining out
money for the weekends, but she was
adamant. Then she said it was a shame
that they didn't have any bacon so
that she could have a BLT.

Cut to a shot of poor Anthony Biggins
standing over the stove frying up some
bacon for his useless new trophy wife.
I was amazed he didn't bash her skull
in with the skillet. Meanwhile she
was dozing off in a chair waiting for
her meal to be served to her. Unless
she's diabetic we've got a new leader
for "worst woman in a reality show."

And this being a reality show, their
had to be a twist. No, no, not the
hokey twist where the new mom gets to
decide how to spend $50,000 on her new
family, who gives a shit about that?!
The Nakamuras spend that dining out
and the Biggins' would probably use
it for something smart like a better
house or a college fund.

No, the twist I'm referring to is when
the producer twists the knife in the
back of his hapless victim. That is
the degradation I mentioned earlier.

While shots aired of Anthony Biggins
cooking patiently while useless new
wife Tammy waited for him to serve her,
FOX aired clips and a voice over of
Tammy telling the producers how she
would give her new family the benefit
of her positive outlook and teach them
a new way of looking at their world.

Un-fucking-believable!!

I can't wait to see what they do to
Tammy next week. I want the epilogue
where Tammy sees how the show was
edited, preferable in front of her
family and friends. Now that's what
I call degradation.

Frank
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OlFuzzyBastard
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#2 Posted on 21.7.04 1740.51
Reposted on: 21.7.11 1741.25
We are now at the point where satire has become obsolete.
EddieBurkett
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#3 Posted on 21.7.04 1741.16
Reposted on: 21.7.11 1741.57
Wasn't there a skit on Chapelle's Show called "Trading Spouses" that had the exact same premise, (except of course that sex was also implied)? Should't there be a lawsuit brewing? (Especially since this is the one time I wouldn't mind if an injunction prevented the show from premiering...)

Edit: OFB beat me by on the refence by 40 seconds or so.

(edited by EddieBurkett on 21.7.04 1842)
BigVitoMark
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#4 Posted on 21.7.04 1750.13
Reposted on: 21.7.11 1750.40
I'm starting to wonder if the whole concept of reality TV isn't just one big joke that the common viewer isn't in on.

Maybe the joke isn't on the poor shmucks who take the money and humiliate themselves on TV, but rather on the clowns who watch it week after week. Executives sit around and challenge themselves not by coming up with quality programming, but by seeing how low they can set the bar and still get the rubes to tune in. Instead of the viewers watching and laughing at the people in the show, the REAL point here is for the execs to watch and laugh at the idiots who watch their show. Kinda like the guys who made themselves secret characters in NBA Jam; the real joke is for the writers' sake.

It's the only way I can wrap my head around this stuff. Then again, it's still funny to see what people will subject themselves to for a dollar, so what do I care?
Boston Idol
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#5 Posted on 21.7.04 1804.27
Reposted on: 21.7.11 1805.12
Oddly enough, the complaint about stealing
the concept for the show is coming from ABC.

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/headline/entertainment/2676665

Seems ABC spent over a year working on a
show called "Wife Swap" only to see FOX
get on the air first with "Trading Spouses."

"This is bad for the business, which should
be finding new, pure, interesting and exciting
new concepts", said ABC Entertainment chief
Stephen McPherson.

No doubt critics of the lowbrow "reality"
genre would encourage McPherson to look
for "exciting new concepts" that don't
involved humiliation and degradation.

No doubt McPherson wouldn't understand
their objections.

TV: Love it, leave it, or change it.

Frank

"We're not a respectable network. We're
a whorehouse network, and we have to take
whatever we can get."
- Robert Duvall, "Network"
DrDirt
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#6 Posted on 21.7.04 1913.27
Reposted on: 21.7.11 1914.19
    Originally posted by BigVitoMark
    I'm starting to wonder if the whole concept of reality TV isn't just one big joke that the common viewer isn't in on.

    Maybe the joke isn't on the poor shmucks who take the money and humiliate themselves on TV, but rather on the clowns who watch it week after week. Executives sit around and challenge themselves not by coming up with quality programming, but by seeing how low they can set the bar and still get the rubes to tune in. Instead of the viewers watching and laughing at the people in the show, the REAL point here is for the execs to watch and laugh at the idiots who watch their show.


It took you how long to figue this out? We are dumb enough to watch. We quit, they change.
The Vile1
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#7 Posted on 21.7.04 1955.25
Reposted on: 21.7.11 1955.25
The biggest joke of reality TV is that reality tv shows actually have WRITERS. So basically, unscripted tv is scripted. The writing jobs on reality TV are non-union though, so the writers don't get union benefits while working on them. Recently GLAAD influenced FOX's killing of a reality show called SERIOUSLY DUDE, I'M GAY which would feature straight people trying to act gay. I met one of the writers for the show, Christian McLaughlin, at UT Hollywood Seminar who is gay himself...funny huh?

To show just how much the writers think of reality tv, McLaughlin jokingly hoped someone on Superstar USA on the WB would kill themself in order to stop the trend of reality shows.
Boston Idol
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#8 Posted on 21.7.04 2010.33
Reposted on: 21.7.11 2014.48
Hollywood writers can't stand "reality TV"
because ordinary people deliver better
dialog than they can write. Spare us your
protestations, you talentless, derivative
hacks. If you were any good, people would
watch your shows instead.

Frank

(That's a bit like Selig hoping for a WWE
tragedy because he envies Vince's ratings.)
SeVen ™
Kishke
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#9 Posted on 21.7.04 2011.17
Reposted on: 21.7.11 2016.17
I watched the pilot for ABC's Wife Swap (Which like most reality shows is originally from BBC) And it was surprisingly good! It was heart breaking and the resolution was satisfying. Give Wife Swap a chance. Screw Fox.
jfkfc
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#10 Posted on 21.7.04 2358.48
Reposted on: 21.7.11 2359.01
    Originally posted by The Vile1
    The biggest joke of reality TV is that reality tv shows actually have WRITERS. So basically, unscripted tv is scripted.
Isn't this also known as Professional Wrestling?
The Vile1
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#11 Posted on 22.7.04 0045.38
Reposted on: 22.7.11 0047.51
    Originally posted by jfkfc
      Originally posted by The Vile1
      The biggest joke of reality TV is that reality tv shows actually have WRITERS. So basically, unscripted tv is scripted.
    Isn't this also known as Professional Wrestling?


Y'see I dunno about that. I think there's definitely a distinction between the shit of reality TV and pro wrestling. Though there are times when I think wrestling is just as bad and I won't watch it. So maybe you got a point.

But the other thing is, in wrestling people are playing characters, they have gimmicks, its a show, a form of theatre. In reality tv, there's not really any of that, its just blatant, disgusting exploitation. So yeah, in the end I think there's a big difference between pro wrestling and reality tv. At least the kinds of reality tv we are talking about in this thread.
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#12 Posted on 22.7.04 0115.49
Reposted on: 22.7.11 0119.19
    Originally posted by The Vile1
    The biggest joke of reality TV is that reality tv shows actually have WRITERS.


You expect the hosts/narrators to come up with their own stuff?
Boston Idol
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#13 Posted on 22.7.04 0130.52
Reposted on: 22.7.11 0133.00
> You expect the hosts/narrators to come up with their own stuff?

Good point. Also anyone who doubts the importance of
branding should look at all the excellent branding done
in shows like Survivor and Queer Eye. Not just logos
and catchphrases, though "the tribe has spoken" is our
generation's "Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!",
but also the formatting of episodes into clearly defined
and easily recognizable segments. People like cookie
cutter formulas because they make it easy to follow
along without paying strict attention.

Frank

(The music is an important part of branding, too.)
The Vile1
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#14 Posted on 22.7.04 1158.48
Reposted on: 22.7.11 1159.03
    Originally posted by Excalibur05
      Originally posted by The Vile1
      The biggest joke of reality TV is that reality tv shows actually have WRITERS.


    You expect the hosts/narrators to come up with their own stuff?


Why not? :)
Big G
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#15 Posted on 22.7.04 1745.28
Reposted on: 22.7.11 1746.29
    Originally posted by The Vile1
    ... people are playing characters ...


In the first few reality TV shows I think you may have got just pure people, but now everyone has an agenda - so you could (and I do) argue that the above is now true of Reality TV as well.

For example how many really bad singers are trying to become the next William Hung (or whtever his name was).

G
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#16 Posted on 24.7.04 0718.25
Reposted on: 24.7.11 0726.46
"Wife Swap" originated on Channel Four in the UK. It's kinda like watching a bad accident. You know its wrong to stare, but....

There is talk of a new reality tv show in the UK (featured in most of Friday's UK newspapers) in which a woman chooses a guy on sex appeal, charm, wealth etc. (the usual stuff), and another guy is chosen on the basis of his genetic make up. They're (I'm not joking) going to have a "sperm race".

Here is the link, you may need to register to access it:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/07/23/nsperm23.xml
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