Archive for reality tv

Be Afraid…oh, and naked too!

Posted in High Definitions & Low Expectations with tags , , , on September 23, 2013 by davegerry

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Have you seen the new reality show Naked and Afraid?

Hoo-boy, you gotta tune in to this one folks!  It launched this summer and was, apparently, hugely watched on its channel…especially by men. Really? If the word ‘Naked’ is anywhere in the tv listings…men will find it.

So, Naked and Afraid puts two, self-proclaimed survivalists out in the wilderness (somewhere warm, naturally) and watches them try to get along for three weeks. The best part of the show for me is when they actually first meet….in the buff. They walk down the beach to greet each other. There’s an awkward moment. That’s when I’d be most afraid….of spontaneous laughter from the female, I suppose.

There’s a small camera crew that captures the shots of these two as they struggle with the elements, insects and , most of all,  awkward angles. If there’s an Emmy award for Best Pixillation, this show will win.

I’ve only seen two episodes but in both of those the male competitors basically folded. One, got so sunburned in the first few hours that he could not move. The other guy was apparently afraid of the water. These are what I call selective survivalists.

The women in the shows I saw were completely admirable. They built shelters, fashioned garments, climbed trees for coconuts. One of them built a lobster trap from twigs and caught dinner. Wow! And then the guys, who’d basically been sitting around nursing their boo-boos, accused the women of being too bossy. Hilarious.

I have never been a fan of television comedy that mocks the male.  It’s too damn easy to fall back into the cliche of the dumb guy. That’s a cheap laugh. Naked and Afraid, though, is building a serious case for feminine superiority. Of course, the women are naked. It wasn’t a fair fight from the start.

The Case for a Kinder, Gentler Kitchen

Posted in Food, Glorious Food, Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 13, 2013 by davegerry
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The tools of civility, not combat.

I just saw a promo for a new tv cooking show where, once again, it’s some kind of culinary competition. This one will allow people to cheat, lie and openly sabotage the work of the other chefs. Charming.

I think it’s great we have entire channels devoted to the joy of food, but really folks, does it all have to be some kind of subhuman, gnarly race against time and technique? Why the hell does everything have to be a knock down, drag-em-out fight?

It’s cooking. It’s not the Roman coliseum.

This is what happens when you combine so-called reality television (a continued blight on our collective houses) with the planet-wide pleasure of preparing a meal. You get shlock…pure, unadulterated shlock. Is this what it takes now to hold the interest of an audience? You need to ratchet up the drama. You do serious harm to the dignity of the people on the screen by gratuitously dramatizing their back stories. (Of course, people go willingly into these things.) We all have crises in our  lives…but I don’t need to see any of it on a cooking show. Some of the most obnoxious personalities possible are now standing there, raging at the tv screen.  There’s Wagnerian music…slam dunk editing…phoney-baloney timelines.  The shows are over-produced and completely (if not clumsily) manipulative. In short, it’s garbage.

We have ourselves to blame. We have taken one of the great, bonding universal survival skills and turned it into theatre of the absurd. Time in the kitchen is supposed to nourish both the body and the soul. I don’t want to be screamed at, denigrated, humiliated or defeated.  I want to sample some sauce and sip some wine.

I want to come to the table renewed.