~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I O 93 93/93 I O ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Friday, December 23, 2005

Are Springer and Survivor morally equivalent?

Back to back shows tonight on VH1 seem to say, well no. And the battle over the politics of our capitalist entertainment industry continues...

Since there's nothing else on this Friday night, and I was in the mood for mindless entertainment, I tuned in to VH1's "When Springer Ruled the World" docutainment program. Not bad, and I only bristled a tad bit when they noted Springer's opposition in the nineties by religious Christians and local legislators in Chicago. In the end, I was charmed by employees and producers of the Springer show when they countered with, "Oh please! We're in this for ratings and money!" Which, I've never doubted from the beginning. At least they're honest, no matter what your position on the quality of their brand of entertainment.

Springer employees were forthcoming, open, honest, and on camera. The opposition "declined to comment" accompanied by unflattering photos.

Imediatly following "When Springer Ruled the World" was another docutainment style program highlighting the tricks employed by other reality shows, exposing the dark underbelly of manipulation inherrent in reality gameshows. Tricks like selective editing, racial typecasting, dozens of writers present on a supposedly "unscripted" set, all of these were featured plus news of the personal lawsuits former contestants and recipients of practical jokes have filed against the various shows they've been on. One former contestant is suing NBC's "Dog Eat Dog" for brain damage after an underwater stunt he claims went bad. The whole show seemed to tsk-tsk the astounding popularity and staggering revinues generated by reality shows at the expense of human dignity and basic safety.

Again, reps from the "trangressive" side of the debate "declined to comment," again accompanied by unflattering photos.

I watched these two exposes back to back and thought to myself... Wait just a damn minute! Let me get this straight:

1) Springer is edgy, controversial, embroiled in court battles, a big money maker but intrinsically good because his detractors are just religious fundamentalists who mistakenly think he's exploiting people for profit?

2) Survivor, Joe Millionaire, Real World, Dog Eat Dog, New Candid Camera, and Married by America are also edgy, controversial, embroiled in court battles, are also big money makers but intrinsically bad because their detractors are just average joe's exploited for profit?

The disconnect couldn't be more blatant. I guess it all boils down to whether VH1 can piss off the all the RIGHT people.


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