Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I look at the TV, your America's doing well. I look out the window, my America's catching Hell.


To: America

From: TK

Re: American Idol

Dear America,

Listen, can we talk for a moment? We have much to discuss. I know I'm sometimes awfully critical of you, and I know you maybe think I don't appreciate you. I mean, considering I've lived here for over 20 years and I work for the government and yet I'm still not a citizen... I can see how you might feel that way. Especially since you have this weird habit of electing absolute assholes for President, which is a little irksome.

But let's not dwell on the past, OK? I'd like to talk about more pressing issues. I'd like to talk about American Idol.

Seriously... could you stop? Please? I mean, let's be honest here - this show is not about finding talent. It should be noted that I haven't watched any of this show since, I think, Season 1 when Mrs. TK was marginally interested in it. But I've read a great deal about it, and my morning radio show talks about it a great deal. My understanding of it, based on that small amount that I've watched, is that it's basically broken into two parts:

Part I - The Trainwreck: This is the part where you show a bunch of no-talent halfwits who will do basically anything simply for 60 seconds of fame. It's the most degrading, demented and embarrassing thing I've ever seen outside of a Mexican donkey show. It's an orgy of distaste. You get a group of desperate, neglected mouth-breathers who've probably failed at everything, and put them on national television so that they can be relentlessly mocked by three of the most venal, unpleasant people you could possibly put in a room together.

You've got a drugged-our has-been pop star, a snide, not-nearly-as-clever-as-he'd-like-to-be British dickhead, and a bloated, obnoxious, wanna-be-street jackass who thinks saying "Dawg" a lot gets him some sort of credibility, when in fact it makes him look like a moron in blackface. For fuck's sake, you played Bass for Journey - AFTER they were good!

All of this put together makes for an hour of some of the basest, most depressing television I've ever seen... worse than watching lions eat their young, footage of roadside bombing victims and The Simple Life.

Part II - The Popularity Contest:
Theoretically, this could be the part of the show that is vaguely tolerable. However, it's ruined by a number of things. Allow me to elucidate:

1. It's hosted by a no-talent, saccharine failure of a human being, who thinks that hair gel and a rictus, corpse-like smile somehow makes him appealing.

2. The band just sucks. 'Nuff said.

3. The judges are still there, and while they aren't as disgustingly vile as they are in The Trainwreck, let's be honest - they have one main objective, which is to make people cry. Don't give me that bullshit about inspiration and constructive criticism - these "judges" wouldn't know constructive if it fucked them. They give absolutely no practical, useful advice, instead trying to one-up each other so that they can be the focus of the next Entertainment Weekly article. And I can't begin to tell you how completely and utterly disturbing it is for someone to strive to be in a brainless rag like that.

4. The music. OK. OK. I am willing to admit that sometimes, the performances can be quite... decent. But the song choices? We need to talk about the song choices. First of all, let's put aside the fact that the singers are, at this point, generic, cut-out caricatures of pop-stars ("The Rocker", "The Country Singer", Go Fuck Yourself). Why do you have to completely abuse perfectly good music? And don't give me that bullshit that the singers are trying to "express themselves". Bite me. I don't believe for a moment that they are in any way responsible for those arrangements. There's no way that shark-mouthed, helmet-haired asshat came up with his arrangement of "Imagine". You know how I know that? Because Eva Cassidy performed it the exact same way years ago, and did it with more soul and beauty than every Idol contestant put together has ever had.

And now... now they're steadily devouring The Beatles catalog? Is nothing sacred anymore? John Lennon is, as we speak, abandoning his peaceful ways and staging a riot in Heaven.

[deep breath]

OK. So anyway, America. Can we stop with the American Idol? Because its popularity really concerns me. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that it's the most popular show, since this country also elected George Bush... twice. But the truth is that Americans will watch anything that you hype up, that you saturate them with. And I can't help but feel that if you gave a really good show the same amount of promotion and production and advertising and hype, people would watch it. And then... you know what you'd have?

You'd have millions of Americans watching something good. Something important. And maybe, just maybe, that would get them to start paying attention to other interesting and important things. Just think what would happen if you really, really tried to popularize some of the great, canceled shows like Firefly or Veronica Mars. People would get into them. And that would lead them to other, better things. And maybe they'd want to learn more.

Maybe, you could make people want to be smart, instead of sitting slack-jawed in front of the TV, wiping the drool from their chins as crying, no-talent howler monkeys screech in front of a group of has-been, beastly judges.

Maybe you could do something useful for a change. Instead of trying your damnedest to make people stupid.

Anyway, it's just a thought.




Listening to: The Clash - Career Opportunities


Deutlich said...

Uhm. Yes. Yes and double yes.

Thank you for saying in a way I didn't have the patience for. Fucking HATE that show. Am also sick to death of the dumbing down of Americans.


Manny said...

It's shows like AI that make me glad we don't watch TV at home. God bless my 360. Great post.

Anonymous said...

If they combined American Idol with American Gladiators, it'd pretty much be the perfect show. But only if Ryan Seacrest got the audience at home to decide who gets thrown to the lions.


Sarah said...

I live in a place where American Idol doesn't exist. More a state of mind than an actual place, really. Some people call this state of mind culturally oblivious, but I prefer to think of it as Heaven.

girl with curious hair said...

So very, very true. I can proudly say I have never watched an episode of this--and what I have seen is M dragging me to see a clip on YouTube. I just can't bring myself to watch the train wrecks in the beginning or the 'performances' later in the show.

Can you write a similar letter to the lunatics on the CW channel about the atrocities that are Top Model and Girlicious. WTF?!

Riles said...

Sorry dude, gotta do it.

It's just too ironic:

"Maybe, you could make people want to be smarted, instead of sitting slack-jawed in front of the TV, wiping the drool from their chins are crying no-talent howler monkeys screech in front of a group of has-been, beastly judges."

TK said...

Deutlich - Thanks.

Manny - God bless your 360 and it's ability to drive a wedge in your family.

Prisco - Actually, I'd rather just throw Seacrest to the lions.

Sarah - Can... can I come visit? Please?

Curious - When I rule the universe, you will be spared.

Riles - CRAP! That's what I get for writing in the midst of a temper tantrum. Fixed, goddamn you.

country roads said...

Amen. I have nearly 100 channels and I watch Law and Order and Family Guy and South Park. There's not shit on. Ever. And I'd like to catch these "reality" people and club them with my "reality stick"

kelsi said...

wait. people get thrown to the lions on american gladiator?
why doesn't anybody tell me about these things?!?

Anonymous said...

Um, in my defense, I have two channels -- one of which is "focks." (Fuck them, seriously, fuck them in their ears.) but I have been watching this season, for the first time ever. GAH!!! I HATE MYSELF!!!

Simon only likes the singers he wants to fuck.


A Lover and a Fighter said...

God bless you, friend.

TK in 08!

Anonymous said...

OK, I'm re-creating a timeline to see what coincided with my starting to watch this P.O.S.

And then I realized:

the zombie bite.

Your armies are turning us against you, TK. The zombies ate my brain, and now I watch American Idol.

Please save me from myself.

I'mmmm scared...

TL said...

While most of your complaints are totally valid, I love American Idol. Just want to add some balance to the comments.

And in defense of Seacrest, he is actually quite good at what he does. Watch any other painfully awkward stage performance-based reality show host to appreciate how effortlessly good he really is.

(But then, I doubt you watch any other stage performance-based reality show. I'm just sayin' is all.)

Betty said...

Great post.

I think the sad truth isn't that television makes people stupid, though. People make television stupid. And good shows like Firefly don't make people inspired to explore their worlds- it just catches the eyes and minds of those who are seeking inspiration. What I am saying is that it is hopeless and I am going to go live in a cave with my Arrested Development DVDs and a big cozy blanket. Who's with me? Bring some snacks.

A Bowl Of Stupid said...

Nice post.

Honestly kid, I get more entertainment value from watching Thai soap operas (think Mexican soaps, but in Thai -- 'Ey, yay, yay, la Polacia!') than I ever got from the shit-fest on American TV in the past 5 years (much like your 'Bollywood' phase).

P.S. I'm looking forward to reading your review of the SiTC movie on Pajiba. Wow, I still can't believe you volunteered to write that!

Anonymous said...

Wahhhhhhh!!! Could you be more of a cunt nozzle crybaby? You know why no one watched Firefly?

Because America could give a shit about sci-fi shows.

I've never watched a single complete episode of Idol, but I can tell you this: Cowell does give valid and insightful criticism, in fact he's the only one who does, because he is looking at it from a business perspective.

Of course, you being some long haired-pot-smoking-flag-burning-America -hating-commie-and-terrorist-loving sicko, you no doubt can't stand anything that even hints at capitalism or making money.

TK said...

CR - You can borrow mine.

Kelsi - You are obviously not cool enough to know these things.

L & F - You too, kiddo.

Boo - because you can do no wrong, you are forgiven. THIS ONE TIME.

TL - Balance is good. We're all about balance at the meat factory.

Betty: I'M WITH YOU! Also: People make television stupid - too true, unfortunately.

Matt - Next time you set foot on these shores, I will pummel you with sea urchins.

Anonymous - Oh! How scathing! How hurtful! Nothing says "valid criticism" like bitching anonymously, you coward. Give me a break. You're defending Simon Cowell? The only reason I didn't delete your weak-ass comment was so I could tell you to leave and never return. I don't want or need readers like you. You want to shoot me some valid, reasonable criticism? Fine. Otherwise, take off, douchebag.

A Bowl Of Stupid said...

Yeah, I just had to chime in on this one:

In the context of internet blogging, I've never quite understood the phenomenon of posting venomous 'anonymous' comments on someones blog.

First off, let's think of the emotional issues confounding one who must vent his/her emotional inadequacies and frustrations upon someone he/she has never even met. One word of advise -- say it with me -- 'therapy.'

Second, if someone feels that strongly, you'd think he/she would have the courage of conviction sufficient to at least attach a name to those thoughts -- ANY fucking name. Hell, make up a name, it's not like Jay & Silent Bob will come a'knocking one day.

C'mon mate, chill the fuck out, and good luck with those anger management classes.

kelsi said...

anonymous' use of "cunt nozzle" in a complete sentence should be commended.
not encouraged, but commended.
otherwise: that's complete asshole behavior. good call on not deleting, tk, but calling attention to.