Archive for celebrities

The Idiot Hour

Posted in High Definitions & Low Expectations with tags , , on September 21, 2009 by davegerry

High Definition / Low Expectation

There’s a nightly television ritual in our home which I am powerless to banish.

It is the viewing of what I call The Idiot Hour. In our neck of the woods (and probably in yours) The Idiot Hour begins right after the local evening news and runs from 7pm to 8pm. This is the soul-sucking black hole staked out by tabloid entertainment shows. My wife, who usually nestles down with a cup of warm milk, calls it her ‘guilty pleasure‘. So be it.

I am not trying to be a snob here. There are many evenings when I am more than willing to give it a shot but usually within the first forty five seconds the tone of the show literally catapults me from the couch. Remember the Seinfeld episode when Kramer had a seizure at the mere sound of Mary Hart’s voice? My reaction is not much different, except I’m in training for a plunge through a plate glass patio door.

The tabloid shows are just too self-servingly gushy for me. I don’t think it was always this way. There may have been a tad more objectivity when it all started but now the dance is incestuous beyond belief. There is more milking here than at the Wisconsin State Fair.

It does little good to switch from show to show as they all seem to have the same fawning , inconsequential items in essentially the same order. Audience research indicates that , when it comes to topics, there are two sure-fire attention grabbers.

  1. Any daily development in the life of Dannielynn, the daughter of the late Anna Nicole Smith.
  2. A Marie Osmond stumble.

Celebrity death has been elevated to an art form on these shows. In fact no one is really allowed to to die. The initial announcement is followed by a never ending stream of updates, exclusives, remembrances, memorials, analysis, revisitations and, if it can be managed, a resurrection. In the case of Michael Jackson this is going to last a year.

Is there any entertainment show I’ll watch?  Yes. I will tune in to Access Hollywood, not for the content but for the women. Is that shallow enough for you? I confess to an unrelenting attraction to Nancy O’Dell who, in addition to being lovely, winsome and immaculately groomed also has the best posture since Audrey Hepburn. I would watch Nancy O’Dell for her posture alone.

And then there’s Maria Menounos.

my Maria

my Maria

I have been known to describe attractive women as being positively Menounosian. This is the highest form of praise.

There is an autographed, personalized photo of Maria on the desk in my office. She was very kind to send it to me a couple of years ago.

I plan to make room for it in the casket along with a leather-bound copy of Mutiny on the Bounty and my Oscar Mayer Wienermobile whistle.

I learned a big lesson about television programming almost 25 years ago. I was assigned to produce feature stories at Expo ’86 in Vancouver, B.C. I would walk the grounds every day with a cameraman, often for hours on end.One particularly hot afternoon we were almost run down by an Entertainment Tonight television crew in a golf cart.

And I yelled, ‘Hey…how come you guys get a golf cart?’

And the reporter shouted back three simple words, ‘ Twenty Million Viewers!’.

And that’s all anyone really needs to know.