Monday , April 22 2024
Being an uninvolved bystander doesn't always mean you're innocent.

Wednesday Night and Train Wreck Television

What is wrong with Wednesday television? If you ask me, there is some sort of drastic, major, monstrous, huge problem with it.

First, The Moment of Truth. People watch this. It's as close as television has ever gotten to televising a train wreck and apparently we're all rubber-neckers. Seriously. These depraved, money-hungry individuals go on the show and reveal their deepest, darkest secrets, or they would if any of them went far enough along in the competition to where the questions were actually personal. I think that in last night's hour of television (44 minutes or so without commercials) something like 12 or 15 questions were asked, and virtually none of them were personal.

Reality television as a whole seems to have decided that pauses are the same as creating tension, and they're not. In The Moment of Truth not only does the host pause before asking the question, the guest pauses before answering it, and then the pre-recorded voice pauses before stating whether the answer was true or false. If all those pauses were removed perhaps some truly prying questions could be asked (no, it's not prying to ask if an underwear model ever stuffed his shorts).

The real question is though, why you, the viewer, want to see someone's life fall apart. Is our society so far gone? Do you really want to watch a real person confess on television to cheating on their spouse and be handed $100,000 for divulging that? We should all be embarrassed. I don't say this often, but it's degrading and disgusting, and not just to the contestants, to the viewers too.

Frankly, the whole spectacle makes Cashmere Mafia look like award-winning television, and it most definitely is not. The women on the show are constantly humiliated and embarrassed, and in no way true to life, but it's still head and shoulders above The Moment of Truth. Watching Zoe shamelessly flirt with her "work husband" and head down the primrose path to cheating on her loyal spouse, whom she berated the other week for contemplating working for someone who had a crush on her, makes me slightly queasy. If Zoe chooses to sleep with this new schmo the producers will probably couch it in some sort of acceptable mid-life crisis/self-exploration thing.

The one thing that made me remotely happy on television last night was Law & Order. I really think the new cast has reinvigorated the show. The "ripped-from-the-headlines" thing can be a little silly (like last night's mortgage crisis thing), but the often ambiguous endings more often tend to make up for it. Last night the presumed killer disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again. Was she even guilty though? Who knows. And there won't be a chance to dwell on it either as someone new will die next week. The whole case this week was a disaster, and a total and complete train wreck. But, it was fictional, and that's why it's the kind of train wreck I like to see on television.

About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

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