Posted on February 14, 2019
by Steve Janowick
I’m sick of seeing Simon Cowell’s mug!
And I bet he’s probably sick of seeing his own face. I take that back. He’s a narcissist and surely loves him some him! And I’m sure he also loves knowing that his original creation has spawned a plethora of vomit inducing, very-hard-to-watch copycats that absolutely dominate prime-time network television these days.
Yea, I get that change is inevitable. I get that business models have to morph with the times. I also get that the big 3 networks no longer budget for quality scripted shows because of said changes and morphings. But what I don’t get is the lack of originality and watchability of the stuff replacing the scripted shows.
I have to admit the very first season of American Idol wasn’t the worst thing in the world. Yea, it produced manufactured, drone-like artists who paid zero dues. And yea, it helped change the whole musical business landscape for the worse. But as a stand-alone show it was the first of its kind and it boasted suitable direction and a quality production level. It was actually a bit suspenseful, even for a jaded classic-rocker like me, to anticipate each week who’d get to stay and who’d get the boot.
But as sure as the day is long, as soon as it became evident that American Idol was a ratings powerhouse, the floodgates opened. And fast forward over a decade later and they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel to keep coming up with ideas for new and different talent shows to keep all the sheep fed.
And where the smelly residue is crusted and caked along the very bottom of said barrel, you’ll find the worst of the worst. The talent/contest show that perfectly encapsulates the mindless, brainless, vapid place we’re living in right now-The Masked Singer.
I’m trying to imagine the pitch-meeting for this show. “Hey, I’ve got a brilliant idea, guys. Hear me out. We get a D-list celebrity hack and we put him in an outlandishly primped costume (including a mask), have him sing some God-awful song, out of key, and have a bunch of other overzealous, desperate D-listers try to guess his identity. What do you say? Is this a great idea or what?”
Crickets in the meeting room. A few awkward coughs and throat clears. Then, from the head of the table the suit in charge blurts out…”Sure, why not!” High fives and fist pumps abound!
Or how about the talent shows where the judges can barely speak after the performances because of all the sniffles and tears. Always precluded by the ubiquitous sad-sap backstory of the contestants. You know the ones-the poor, farm kid who lost his dad in a tractor accident and now feels compelled to sing Michael Bolton songs all day to grieve. Then the gasps and hearty cheers from the audience when he hits the high note.
It’s all so melodramatic…and stomach turning.
It wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t actually take themselves so seriously. If they provided a little wink wink between acts. But that’s not the case. These clowns think this is really substantive stuff. Real entertainment. Like the cat at the party who thinks you’re laughing with him-when you’re really laughing at him.
In some cemetery somewhere, Chuck Barris and the rest of The Gong Show creators are turning in their graves. They were actually in on the joke. Privy to the shtick. Arbiters of the irony, irreverence and satire. They knew their show was crap-and that’s what made it so funny! They were laughing at themselves.
Whatever. I know I’m beating a dead horse again. The Masked Singer, and shows like it, aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Just the way it is. So, I guess I’ll just buck up, deal with it and join the herd of sheep. Ignorance is bliss, baby!
On second thought, hell no! I changed my mind.
Two and a Half Men reruns are on three nights a week (the Sheen ones)
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