Sunday, January 28, 2007

Newton's Third Law of TV Conglomerates

People are always talking about how the folks at Fox News are right-wing conservative shills for the Bush Administration. But we forget that their flagship network, the Fox Broadcast Network, are anarchistic and fierce government critics.

"House" is a troublemaker, an iconoclast, always stickin' it to the man. "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy" are satiric deconstructions of the myth of "family values," and let's not forget about Springfield's Mayor Quimby, the ultimate corrupt politician. "Bones" is an obvious mocking send-up of Dick Cheney. The heroes of "Prison Break" are, of course, escaped murderers. Even a show like "24" than many consider to be extremely Republican ("We like torture!"), had, as it's villain last season, The President of the United States! He was selling nerve gas to terrorists!

But the cruelest attacks on George W. Bush come from Fox's most popular show, "American Idol." Every new season, the early episodes are devoted mainly to the losers, the terrible singers who's shame is compounded by their inability to comprehend their own failure. They come in, and we hope for the best from them. But then we see their performance. And it sucks. It sucks bad. They stand there, in front of the judges, in front of the millions of people watching around the country, without the slightest inkling of how horrible a job they've done. They believe that they are somehow deserving, destined for greatness, when if fact, if they are remembered at all it will only be for their stunning ineptitude. They beg for another chance, as if somehow, on a second look, we will see a diamond instead of a steaming turd. They are frighteningly delusional. They are, finally, rebuked, and as they storm off, we all feel a little bit skeevy for having watched.

And why would any feeling network executive allow this car wreck to be televised, if not to hold up a mirror to the President, to remind us of the inadequacies of our Chief Executive? Every week, forty million Americans are forced to look into their souls and ask themselves how they could have elected this moron. We watch these poor souls, and our desperate hope that "He couldn't be that bad" is shattered. He is that bad, and he's the only one that doesn't realize it.


cake said...

I can't watch House...I miss the British accent too much.

I realize how shallow that is.

Bemisdown said...


In terms of the "freak show" AI episodes, it's total exploitation for the sake of ratings. The producers make thousands of people wait for hours and hours, gather them together in some stadium and have them scream something stupid in unison for the television cameras, and then herd them off to "stations" where they're given approximately 15 seconds to sing. Only the most pathetic sideshows or talented people with "stories" make it through. It's not a talent show-it's a television show. I've heard from some pretty talented kids who've gone through the process and never got to the judges-instead they choose clearly unbalanced and delusional people for the sake of "entertainment." It's actually pretty sad.

And as far as the moron in the White House is concerned, I think AI gives us a hint as to why he's there.

Which reminds me....I can't forget to watch this week!

Boris the Bewildered said...

Some part of the network needs to make the money necessary to subsidize the propaganda "News" part of Faux.
As a fan of Bones I am left scratching my head over the Cheney send-up. Which character does that and how? I'd feel really stupid if I missed it...