I’m in an unsatisfying relationship. I give my time and my attention, and what do I get back? Junk. That’s what. Oh, sometimes I get a glimpse at what this relationship could be. At least once a week whether I want it or not. But usually, the times when we are together are filled with tedious and drawn-outattempts at humor, or long-winded, loud lectures by a blowhard who seems to live to tell me what to think and how to live my life. And then there’s the desert. The long stretches of wasteland in our relationship where there is nothing.
And it is during that time when I find myself not missing the relationship at all, wondering why I got myself stuck in it in the first place.
Ah, but how I love it.
It? Sure, it. I’m talking about my relationship with television, you sillies. I would never talk about my husband like that … well, never is such a long range word.
But television? Ah, my love, you test me.
I gave four hours of my life last week—of my children’s lives—watching you be mean to just plain folk in the name of entertainment.
But it wasn’t entertaining…a lot of it was icky. Parts of it made me and the rest of my family wince, close our eyes and beg for it to be over. I mean, parts of it weren’t even the proverbial train wreck, they were the wreck of the ambulance leaving the train wreck. Very painful. And yet, we continued to watch.
Of course I’m talking about the first four hours of American Idol and how the producers of the show chose to not just embarrass bad singers, but to humiliate and ridicule people.
Now, I know that part of the allure of the show is to see people who really think they can sing set Simon’s hair afire with only their voice. And I don’t mind so much when an individual is cocky and obnoxious and thinks they are “all that” and they get the rug taken out from under them. But what I saw that first week, well, you’ve heard, and you know that they seem to have hit an all-time low.
It is one thing to judge people’s voices and their ability to carry themselves like a professional singer. But to eviscerate someone on the way they look on national television, well, that’s just wrong and mean and lower than I thought the folks who wanted to bring us OJ: If I Did It could go.
But here’s the real thing: don’t complain to the Fox Network and Rupert Murdock or even Rosie O’Donnell.
Complain to Coca-Cola or Cingular if you really don’t like how mean the show has gotten. If you haven’t figured out through product placement and advertisements, they’re the ones who can really decide what we watch and how.
And then just do it: walk away from that bad relationship, that one that gives you no satisfaction and only hurts your heart and your soul, nevermind your brain.
I would do that, too, except Studio 60 is a new episode this week, as is Boston Legal, and then there’s Christine and … ah, my love, I could never leave you.
Well, never IS such a long-range word …
(originally published 1/28/07 in the Gary Post-Tribune)