Monday, March 24, 2008

Lord Of The Flies

Last night while cleaning house, I saw one of the many competitions that exist on the hell that is VH1 -- So Your Child Is A Star. Hosted by the one and only Danny Bonaduce, this special delight includes the ultimate in stage parents pushing their little tykes to fame and fortune. Every week, one gets picked off like some modern-day Lord Of The Flies bullshit, and Danny, usually in his element in humiliating situations, even has the good sense to look embarrassed while he delivers his shtick, the mean middle-aged child star dude saying, Welcome To Hollywood in the campiest tone ever after offering his verdicts on performances that would be at home at my old high school's talent show. (To the talent show's credit, though, you could always count on someone hammering out a passable version of the theme song to "Hill Street Blues" on the piano and some overdeveloped girl in a too-tight leotard tumbling to "Highway To Hell.") Danny's eyes betray him, though, and seem to say, Get me the fuck out of this mess and Why did my wife leave me? There's the predictable catfights among the parents, the predictable overwrought talk about how this is the dream, the dream, man and if it doesn't work, nothing will.

But even more than the banal horror of this particular mess, I noticed that most reality shows now follow this format -- a bunch of stagy performances followed by a weed out that makes the Gong Show look like the ultimate in compassion. At least on The Gong Show, some asshole banged a gong when you started to suck. That was it. No tearing you apart, making you feel even worse about wanting fame or love or God help you, a night with Brett Michaels where you "rock his world." You either had it or you didn't when the gong sounded. No one lasted very long and no one expected you to last. No camera followed you to the car to watch you cry over your lost talent, your youth, your dreams. I thought we had a connection! There was grace or at least a modicum of it, as much as you can get with a gong involved.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"You can play a shoestring if you're sincere." John Coltrane

Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion:Desire Bob Dylan

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!


Brian in Mpls said...

:) I enjoy coming here...just thought I would let you know.

I'll Never Give Up On Detroit said...

Where's the feather? It ain't in my cap.

Sheila said...

I read lord of the flies in junior high.... i very much wanted to slap some of those children and ask them what the hell they were thinking. Poor Piggy.

Anonymous said...

The Cadieux Cafe ain't what it used to be. Waiting for a rebirth like the rest of Motown--Gaston DeCoopman

Cheri said...

Coincidence about your chosen title and subsequent post- I just finished re-reading "Hearts in Atlantis" by Stephen King and that book was a recurring theme throughout all the stories.

Reality shows are anything but reality... and it's pathetic.

Charles Gramlich said...

You've hit the nail on the head here with this description of essentially all reality shows. They disgust me when they follow this format. As a horror writer, I despair of ever selling anything else. How can any made up horror compete with the horror and cruelty that is American Idol.