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Monday, January 14, 2008

Behold, the parade of idiots!

You've no doubt seen the "Hollywood" promos airing incessantly on FOX. But to the best of my knowledge, none of the four Channel Surfing bloggers chooses to watch "American Idol," which is back tonight for another unstoppable run atop the ratings. Now, if any of us were actually getting paid to watch TV, I guarantee that wouldn't be the case. Being a TV critic and not watching "Idol" would kinda be like a Packers reporter deliberately avoiding Brett Favre. It's what everyone knows and talks about. You have to do it. Except Brett Favre is extremely talented and transfixing so ... oh, nevermind.

Anyway, covering "Idol" isn't a forced issue for us here at the PG, which might be a good or bad thing. If we keep track of "Idol"-mania on a weekly basis, who knows, maybe a ton of local fans will check out the site and decide to stick around so they can leave comments about the next Sanjaya. If we don't, well, it'll preserve our sanity and allow us to make time for more important matters (ahem, "The Wire") by avoiding such dreck.

Simply put: I'm not volunteering for the post. I can't stand "American Idol." I'll write stories about it when called upon. Will review its live show objectively (as I did after "Season Three" at the Resch Center). But I won't watch it unless there's some added incentive. Especially the next few weeks of it.

These next few weeks are what I call "lowest common denominator TV." Mind you, a lot qualifies as lower common denominator TV these days, so to be alone in that distinction must really mean something. That's because these next few episodes of "Idol" -- the much-anticipated and overhyped audition shows -- are the absolute worst thing to ever grace a TV screen. Ever. In fact, it's so awful, I actually need someone to explain the fascination with watching people sing badly. On purpose. Or at least with the knowledge that you were bad to begin with.

Please. Someone. Explain.


According to USA Today, "Audition shows accounted for Idol's seven most-watched episodes last season, topped by the season premiere's 38.1 million viewers. Viewers can expect a hairy-chested guy in a harem costume and a performer who rivals all-time horror William Hung during Season 7's four-week audition round, beginning tonight in Philadelphia and Wednesday in Dallas.

"You'll see the usual parade of the absolutely useless believing they are the best singers in the world (and) hating me when I say they're not good enough," judge Simon Cowell said. "But I'm used to that."

If you're out at a bar with friends and a guy or girl you're with decides to drunkenly make a fool of him/herself by performing an off-key karaoke version of "Dancing Queen," that's kinda funny. For five seconds. And really, it's only funny because you know the person, it was spontaneous, and most importantly, you can make fun of them while knocking back a few more beers ... blah, blah, blah. But why would anyone want to watch someone who knows they're bad -- or even if they don't know they're bad, think they're actually good and make a fool out of themselves -- just so they can get on TV? Even when I see promos for this season's Hung House of Rejects, the only thing running through my mind is, "Man, that person is sitting at home right now loving every minute of the fact that they're on TV." Heck, they probably put up a MySpace page the next minute, just so they can proclaim in bold letters, "As seen on 'American Idol.'" And tons of people will write about their scathing rejection, ask for interviews, plaster their face on "Extra," and visit that ridiculous MySpace site, however short-lived the attention might be. And that bothers me. That ruse. The idea that this person is now under the impression that they're a celebrity, they're famous, and they're remotely important because Simon Cowell told them they were dreadful on national TV.

So again, I ask you, loyal readers. Explain. If it's fun to watch a delusional idiot get ripped to shreds by Cowell, doesn't that speak volumes about what kind of person you really are? And if it's fun to watch a delusional idiot get ripped to shreds by Cowell knowing they were going to get ripped to shreds just to grab 15 minutes of fame, doesn't that speak volumes about what kind of person they are? Why would you want to feed into that? Why would you want to help a person get attention by the laziest and most asisine means possible? Why would anyone want to watch this same, tired routine after it already ran its course during the first season? Why am I still wasting my time writing about this stupid show?

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

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You ask why people are willing to make complete fools of themselves just to get on TV? The answer is because most people (particularly young people) are ego-maniacs with very little self awareness. They are either too unintelligent or too naive to see what their ridiculous actions actually mean - and how it reflects upon themselves. Or, maybe they just don't care.

Why do people feed into this? I do find it disgusting that people relish in the humiliation of others, but I generally believe they watch because most people have really bad taste. Also, they're lazy and will continue to lap up the same boring drivel they've been fed for years simply because they're comfortable with it. Seeking out something new would actually require thought and effort.

Another question ... am I always this pretentious, or did I just wake up on the wrong side of the bed?

By Anonymous mary, At January 16, 2008 at 8:23 AM  

It's pretty obvious why Idol gets big ratings. People like to shut off their brains and enjoy a show they don't have to think about. I don't suppose there's anything wrong with that. They don't seem to show much support after the show, except for crazy Aiken fans. I don't know. This whole thing has to end sometime? Doesn't it?

By Anonymous justin guarini, At January 16, 2008 at 9:35 PM  

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