Monday, April 21, 2008

And Now, an Encore Performance from Chez's Evil Twin, Garth*


Call it "a case of the Mondays," or maybe the fact that Jayne is home sick today after slamming head-first into the start of her third trimester, or maybe just the result of accidentally catching an episode of Top Chef over the weekend. Whatever the reason, I felt like resurrecting this little diatribe from August of last year.

You know what'd be just awesome?

If somebody could figure out a way to simultaneously give every single fucking person on America's Next Top Model stage-four cancer.

Or maybe some kind of flesh-eating bacteria that's airborne and kills in a matter of minutes.

I swear to God, the guy who invents that shit and releases it in Tyra Banks's dressing room should get a Nobel Prize for Ass-Kicking Science.

I hate reality TV to begin with, but seriously -- is there anything more brutally, painfully, hideously, jaw-droppingly, stomach-turningly fucking insipid than America's Next Top Model? From a cultural standpoint, can anything shame this already-suffering country in a more grotesque and egregious manner than a TV show that features a bunch of really vapid girls encouraging the pathetic advances of a washed-up bikini and lingerie model desperate to be within 100 yards of anyone willing to kiss her ass and remind her that she used to be young and relevant, then enduring the scrutiny of a panel packed with every possible brand of gay stereotype -- from the preening fashion fag to the clownish drag queen to the arrogant metrosexual -- all so that they can get a crack at a career that'll require them to do nothing but look pretty and bored and walk in a straight fucking line?

The idiots on this show talk about modeling like it actually matters -- as if these simple, shallow kids are competing for a Rhodes Scholarship or a neurosurgical residency at Johns Hopkins.

Jesus fucking Christ.

Let me take this opportunity to once again thank our fighting men and women who are dying in various hell-holes around the globe to preserve "our way of life."

God bless America.

There's not a second during the times I've stumbled across this fucking abomination that I haven't thought to myself, "Holy shit! Every single person at that judge's table needs to die a horribly painful death -- and they need to do it right now if possible!"

Understand, I've got nothing against looking good -- and Lord knows, I do -- but there's almost nothing further removed from the "Actual Important Shit" Universe than the world of high fashion. If you think that anyone in the U.S. outside of a fucking Manhattan turtleneck-and-horn-rimmed-glasses art gallery opening or the South Beach White Party knows who the hell Anna Wintour is, really gives a shit about the new D&G collection or LOVED, LOVED, LOVED The Devil Wears Prada you seriously need to get out more.

There's a good-sized swath of this country that not only doesn't take wardrobe advice from homosexuals, it's likely to grab a baseball bat and a Bible if it even comes across one (and no, I'm not drawing Red-State/Blue-State lines you asshole).

Speaking of which -- is there a reason that intelligent, free-thinking gay Americans haven't rioted like fucking Stonewall over the gruesome, caricaturish portrayal of gays on shows like America's Next Top Model?

Or Blow Out?

Or Flipping Out?

Or Project Runway?

Or any fucking show on Bravo?

Reality TV has become the modern-day minstrel show of gay culture.

Homosexuals on these shows are cast almost exclusively as swishing, superficial drama-queens -- and are no doubt told to play up their "gayness" the same way that blacks were once coerced into doing jive-talk buffoonery if they wanted any kind of career in film or television. Neither portrayal constituted or constitutes progress; it's just the same-old same-old -- the perpetuation of a ridiculous stereotype, and one that confirms the worst fears, suspicions and prejudices of that segment of the population I mentioned a minute ago -- the folks with the baseball bats.

If you're gay and want to be on reality TV -- you'd better be willing to make Paul Lynde look like fucking Lee Marvin.

It's expected by now that reality TV in general, and Bravo in particular, will Breakfast Club everyone down to his or her most easily identifiable trait -- the reason of course being that there isn't a reality show producer alive who's interested in the lessons to be learned or even the fun to be had watching genuine social interaction; they're just out to make a fucking buck.

If you need proof of this -- and of the corporate agenda behind most of this programming -- subject yourself to an hour of Bravo's Top Chef (or actually, do yourself a favor and don't).

A recent episode was literally a harmonic convergence of corporate synergy.

Follow along now, kiddies:

Bravo is owned by NBC/Universal, which also owns the Spanish-language network Telemundo. Last week, the contestants still in the running -- meaning the ones who hadn't already been sent packing by a panel of judges which in-fucking-explicably includes fashion-model-turned-LAKSHMI+SCAR-Google-Search-curiosity Padma Lakshmi -- were asked to cook for the cast of the tele-novella Dame Chocolate, a show that which network is currently trying to push?

Telemundo, of course.

Also stepping up to the feeding trough for this particular episode: Jose Diaz Balart, co-anchor of Telemundo's morning show and possibly the most pompous and journalistically-challenged douchebag to ever sit in front of a teleprompter. (Remind me to tell you sometime about the inexcusable shit he pulled during the whole Elian fiasco.) But once again, NBC wants to promote Telemundo's crappy shows -- in an effort to topple its far more popular rival Univision -- so it does it under the guise of regular programming on another of its outlets.

Incidentally, the icing on the cake (pardon the baking pun) is all those lingering, almost pornographically photographed shots of gleaming GE applicances that show up over and over again in every episode of Top Chef -- product placement at its absolute goddamned finest, given that GE is part-owner of NBC, which, once again, owns Bravo.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Wow Garth, one of these days the cretinous sons-of-bitches with dollars-signs in their eyes who think of me as nothing more than a dupe for their marketing schemes are gonna just cut out the middle man altogether and begin scripting these shows around their worthless fucking products."

Oh, my poor deluded friend -- it's already happened.

A couple of months ago, the USA Network -- a cable entity that just might qualify as the Xaviera Hollander of media whores, as it's been passed around from media conglomerate to media conglomerate (it was once owned by both NBC Universal and Paramount Viacom; it's now exclusively owned by, you guessed it, NBC Universal) -- ran a summer-fluff mini-series called The Starter Wife. The show starred Debra Messing and was generally aimed at the lonely, middle-aged, Haagen-Dazs-hoovering, Oprah-worshipping crowd; it preached the message that, yes girlfriend, you are still beautiful and no, your thighs aren't the size of a T-rex's torso and therefore younger men are just waiting to fuck you and help you desperately prove to yourself that, in fact, the uncaring asshole who left you for his 23-year-old secretary had it all wrong.

You're a fucking MILF, baby. All you need to make your Cosmo dreams come true is, well, to look like Debra Messing would help -- but if you can't swing that, a giant fucking glop of "Pond's Fresh Start" exfoliating scrub or "Pond's Bare & Repair" eye-makeup remover should do the trick nicely. See, Pond's not only sponsored The Starter Wife, it was involved in the mini-series from its inception; company reps were on-hand during the scripting of the show and its various rewrites -- always ready and willing to point out to the hacks writing this thing the best places to slip in a shot of Debra Messing's character bukkakeing herself with "Pond's Pristine Clean" facial cleanser.

In other words, the entire show -- supposedly an artistic enterprise (yeah, I'm still willing to refer to most scripted TV that way) was actually nothing more than a six hour commercial. The fact that the fucking thing picked up so many Emmy nominations should tell you everything you need to know about the standards of the National Academy of Television Arts and Scientists (NATAS, or SATAN spelled backward) these days.

Pond's Cosmetics didn't just present The Starter Wife, they engineered it -- all to sell you something.

Which means, by the way, that it was still less fucking brain-dead than America's Next Top Model. At least somebody put some goddamned thought into it.

Well?

Well?

Has somebody come up with the cancer thing yet?

Are they dead yet?

Fucking come on already!

(*As always, the views and opinions of Garth do not necessarily reflect those of Chez, who knows nothing more about America's Next Top Model than what he's seen on Best Week Ever.)

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I hate reality TV to begin with, but seriously -- is there anything more brutally, painfully, hideously, jaw-droppingly, stomach-turningly fucking insipid than America's Next Top Model?"

Uh, yeah - American Idol.

RottweilerTOM said...

"Speaking of which -- is there a reason that intelligent, free-thinking gay Americans haven't rioted like fucking Stonewall over the gruesome, caricaturish portrayal of gays on shows like America's Next Top Model?"


Because it's a huge fucking waste of time. I turn the chanel.

but you are so right!!!!!!!

My take is it that if you are going to play political footise on t.v. with us homos, patronaging our fucking existence along side Pat Robertson's cash-cow channel, then go find people like me. That is, those who don't carry himself with any particular walk or swish, doesn't over-do the Armani shirts nor engage in any other trite materialism. Rather, I am a fucking slob at home while maintaining a healthy and appealing body (or at least try), football loving, cigar chewing, "hey - what's up BRO" persona - that is "just me" and not by pretension.

You fucking breeders should know this: we're not all that are depicted on Bravo - although i do feel in the minority among the "fabulous" 2% or less that my right-wing secretary think we represent in the population.

Now ask me who I like in the Derby!!

Anonymous said...

What further evidence does anyone need that the customers of network (and, increasingly, cable TV) aren't the viewers but the advertisers?

Prophet of Ra said...

I think they should invite the pope to be a guest judge on Americas Next Top Model. After which, Oprah can take him to a glorious dinner cooked up by non other than Rachel Ray, where Miley Cyrus will sing hit songs like "Shout to the Lord" and "Best of both Worlds." Once he's had his fill, Eliot Spitzer can take him out for a night on the town, where he can experience true American fun! The man is getting up in the years though and gets tired much quicker now than he did during his Hitler Youth days, so we will hook him up with Paris Hilton and a $1,000 a night hotel with all the crack he wants. Hell, get G-Dub there and the three can have one unforgettable night!

jen said...

hey, i like top chef. that's not to say it's hasn't whored itself out to every willing sponsor and is rife with an indecent amount of product placement (ever notice how the otherwise empty "stew room" is stocked with nothing other than booze and an astounding number of Glad products?). but i still love the show.

Phil said...

Anonymous said...

" What further evidence does anyone need that the customers of network (and, increasingly, cable TV) aren't the viewers but the advertisers? "

How 'bout this:

http://www.affluencers.com/Affluencers/index.php

They'll even Breakfast Club their audience to make a buck.

Al said...

"Jose Diaz Balart, co-anchor of Telemundo's morning show and possibly the most pompous and journalistically-challenged douchebag to ever sit in front of a teleprompter. (Remind me to tell you some time about the inexcusable shit he pulled during the whole Elian fiasco."

Still waiting...

Chez said...

Needless to say, the Elian ridiculousness highlighted one of the biggest problems when it comes to news product these days: Since most news organizations are forced to value ratings and ad revenue over quality or responsibility, they'll give the audience not what it needs, but what it wants; a news department will tell viewers what they want to hear simply because it wants them to keep watching. (Fox News Channel has turned this capitalist narrow-casting way of thinking into a gold mine and set a new standard -- albeit a low one -- within the industry.)

As most of Miami is Cuban-American, a lot of the news coverage during Elian was slanted in favor of keeping the kid with his idiot Miami relatives. There were a lot of great reporters who did their best to balance things (as much as I hate to say this, the ones not spewing out pro-exile propaganda tended to be, well, not Cuban-American) but they were generally drowned out by the mad cacophony of the anti-Castro nutjobs. For the most part, none of the coverage on English language TV went too far to the right, however -- until Jose Diaz-Balart started doing reports for the station I happened to work for: WTVJ. Balart, the brother of comically useless congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, began writing and airing reports on WTVJ as a "special contributor," all of which were NOTHING but pro-Little Havana circus, anti-Bearded Devil propaganda. He didn't even attempt to hide the fact that he was thoroughly biased, instead arrogantly demanding the rest of us understand that his journalistic integrity simply had to take a back seat to his "passion" over the Elian issue. Once again, quite a few Cuban-American journalists in South Florida were making the same argument at the time -- and those who weren't of Cuban descent were forced to suffer because they had no choice but to try to take up the slack, since they had no "emotional" excuse for shutting their fucking brains down and ignoring their responsibility to be as unbiased as possible.

Diaz-Balart was the worst of the offenders, though -- the most openly willing to cast bullshit agitprop as genuine news. He put together these long-winded enterprise pieces that sounded thoughtful and legit, but were, in reality, pro-exile nonsense. But they were allowed to run because he was a big name telling viewers exactly what they wanted to hear -- hence, ratings and money.

For the record, I was producing the 11PM show at the time and threatened to walk out and not come back if the powers that be didn't remove Diaz-Balart and his "special contributions" from my show.

I won. They took him off the 11 -- but not off the air entirely.

Deacon Blue said...

Xaviera Hollander?

Oh no...Chez, your evil twin and I clearly got through the horrors of puberty in the 80s using the same Guccione-owned publications.

I don't know whether this should make me feel better about myself or worse.

Between Garth mentioning Xaviera Hollander and you mentioning Darva Conger the other day, this blog is gonna get an award for keeping obscure men's mag women in the public consciousness...

Stephen said...

"always ready and willing to point out to the hacks writing this thing the best places to slip in a shot of Debra Messing's character bukkakeing herself with "Pond's Pristine Clean" facial cleanser."

Maybe they should just sponsor bukkake videos.

Peter Marshall: Why do bikers wear leather?
Paul Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles.

R.I.P. you funny, funny sick old bastard

Harris said...

"Blow Out" has nearly ruined the enjoyment I get out of watching lesbians make out. There is not a single testicle involved in the production or performance of that show.