I'd Rather Watch LOST
So much for the "reality" in reality television.
CBS's latest attempt to put every last television writer on the dole: Armed and Famous, where would-be celebrities (Jack Osbourne from The Osbournes? Really?) attempt to revive their careers by playing cops and robbers in front of a national audience. Armed and famous? More like absurd and fanciful. Something this creatively bankrupt really should be the death knell of "reality television," but it won't be.
Let's go back a little. One of the first successful unscripted shows was COPS, where viewers got to be virtual sidekicks to police officers. COPS set the world up as good guys vs. bad guys. The good guys? The officers and, of course, the viewers. The bad guys? Mostly poor people, mostly people of color, cast as criminals and degenerates. At the time, big media was whipping the voting tax base â€” mostly white, mostly middle-class and above, and often suburban â€” into a frenzied, racist paranoia about crime that was insanely out of proportion to the actual threat.
The real-world results of that paranoia? More than two million behind bars, often for non-violent offenses. Paramilitary police departments acting like occupying troops in inner cities. And no actual services or economic development for the people who need it most.
But real-world results never seem to make it onto "reality" shows.
Instead, CBS offers us Armed and Famous, where COPS meets Dancing with the Stars. It pretends to use celebrities to give us a look at the reality of policing. But it doesn't show us the reality we know: that the neighborhoods struggling most with issues of community safety are the ones least-served and most-abused by police officers. Instead, it promises the same warped perspective we got in COPS, except now cops are stars, too. It will probably be more funny, less violent, and just as insidious.
One of the segments CBS is teasing most has the "celebrities" learning to use a taser â€” and getting tasered themselves. Let's see if they talk about how often real-world cops kill people with tasers, "less-than-lethal" weapons that somehow kill over and over and over again.
Oy. It's amazing how bad bad television is now. I thank my lucky stars for the shows that still have quality writers who write quality scripts. I can't wait till LOST comes back in February.
Feb 22, 2013
Feb 14, 2013
Jan 30, 2013
Jan 25, 2013