Monday, March 08, 2010

I Have A Perfect Life

So television has moved from the Olympics to American Idol and life is good, but with AI tryouts and the Olympics running in sync, I was once again struck by something that has become the norm in tv - I call it the "Olympic syndrome." Have you noticed that every athlete has a sob story? It's like someone thinks we won't care if they win a gold medal if they didn't just bury their mother or put down their dog. While I find some of the human interest interesting (I AM a writer), I think it's gone into overload.

And the problem is now that type of hype and PR (and make no mistake - it IS all about ratings) has leaked over into every competition on television. Now, we get the whole pathetic background of the AI contestants. Mind you, it doesn't matter if there's really nothing to work with or their background is common to millions of people - if you cue the dramatic music, you can get away with anything:

(cue dramatic music)
"Then in 1998, Susan got a hangnail and lost the use of her middle finger for an entire six days......"
(cue Susan sitting bravely in the hospital with her middle finger wrapped in gauze and extended up for everyone to see)

And then the interviews - even worse. They're all weeping and crying and saying things like "this is all I have", "I've worked so hard", "this would mean so much to my family", "I'd be able to support my family." gag I have a couple of responses worked up for those statement:

"this is all I have" - Get a life.
"I've worked so hard" - So do millions of other people every single day, doing far harder things than singing. And working hard still doesn't mean you have talent.
"this would mean so much to my family" - Tell your family to get a life and stop living vicariously through you.
"I'd be able to support my family" - Why did you create a family with no visible means of supporting them in the first place?

So maybe I'm cynical, but I find it hard to connect when EVERYONE has a sob story - some reason I should want them to succeed regardless of actual ability - in a TALENT competition, no less.

Just once, I'd love to hear someone say "You know, my life is perfect. I came out of the birth canal with a perfect complexion and beautiful features. I eat everything I want, never exercise and never gain a pound. My grandparents left me more money than the Hiltons have, so I don't have to work. I saw American Idol tryouts listed in my area and even though I've never even sang a song with the radio, I figured, what the heck - let's go have some fun."

Deadly (Definitely Cynical) DeLeon


Zita said...

I'm with you. Especially on the "I've worked so hard!" comment. The kid's 17 years old! When, exactly, did all that hard work happen? Or was it all that school work that was so hard? Do we learn about the ADHD in the next episode? Oh, and "This is all I've ever wanted. My whole life has been all about working toward this single opportunity!" Really? Again, 17 years old! And, AI debuted in 2002. You should be showcasing your psychic abilities, not your singing, because you knew 9 years before the show even aired that you needed to get busy preparing for it.

Jana DeLeon said...

Zita - my sarcastic sister! We must have been separated at birth. LOL Love your post!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Love it! Thats fantastic! The whole hangnail story scored a perfect 10 from where I am sitting! LOL

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, Sheila! I will expect my gold medal in the mail. (I prefer the gold foil kind covering chocolate) :)

Teri G. said...

I think a wee tazer zap to the reporter exploiting those that will make ratings soar is one answer to the rising dilemma of "sob factor" reporting. I am sitting here grinning at the mental picture of that bandaged middle finger giving the bird...cracks me up...thanks for that bit of laughter. Does the body good.