A Treasure Trove of Trash TV

Tonight I found myself in a place I’ve never been before.

There are two trashy reality shows I want to watch. At the same time.

My first contender is American Idol. They go to Hollywood this week, where all of the arguably talented contestants compete to make it to the top 24. This year some people get passes from the first round to the final day. For the rest they have to prove themselves, making for tons and tons of good drama.

AI is a perennial favorite of mine, and as such I set the TiVo before the season even started to catch every last dramatic drop. I even set it to stop recording five minutes late, as many people I know were left hanging last year when the finale ran late. I answered more than one frantic phone call wondering who the heck won.

Then, today, as I was sitting Tornado vigil, I happened to look at the TV listings to see what unlucky shows the networks pit against AI. There among the poor ratings victims was Big Brother 9.

What? That’s a summer show!!!! What the heck are they doing starting that in February, for goodness sake! And then I realized… we’re in February sweeps. You know the sweeps – when the networks pull out their ratings busters in an attempt to increase their viewership so they in turn can charge more for advertising all of the stuff we mostly don’t want or need.

I can’t say I watch BB religiously. But one cannot miss the first show. No. Absolutely not.

So, what’s a girl to do?

Luckily, I have TiVo. I also have three televisions. Most importantly, I have a husband who is willing to either play on his computer or use the little TV in the guest bedroom so I can watch BB9 and TiVo AI’s second hour. I think he’s only letting me do this because AI running two hours means House is not on, but I’m not asking. I shall just assume it is out of the kindness of his heart.

So, I will get to watch all of my trash TV tonight. And then Husband and I will together watch the only TV show we both really love: Boston Legal.

There is joy in Florida, despite the tornadoes.

Denny Crane.

American Idol Shows A Kinder, Gentler Simon Cowell

At least to their faces…

I’ve been greatly looking forward to this year’s American Idol.

I watched both episodes of the auditions, and I have to say that I’m whelmed. Not overwhelmed, not underwhelmed. Just whelmed.

There was the usual collection of good, bad and truly horrible singers. There was a freak or two (Paul Marturano, the creepy Paula-stalker guy who sang, “If she were a bathtub, I’d caulk her.”  It was a joke, right?  Right?) and lots of background on various hopefuls.

Some of the backstories even brought me to tears, like Angela Martin, mom of a girl with Rett Syndrome. Ugh. Great voice, and I’m glad she got through. There were several people with potential to do well, but to me no absolutely fantastic standouts.

I could not help but notice that Simon went very easy on most people. He was downright kind to Temptress Brown, a truly horrible singer with a very sad life. She takes care of her morbidly obese mother, who is on oxygen and has a myriad of medical problems. Heck, watching that backstory had me starting a diet today.

And she wasn’t the only one. There were several people who had terrible voices and non-Idol looks that were really excited and enthusiastic and…horrid. He let them down easy. He was kind, and gentle, and showed a compassion I didn’t know he possessed. As a fellow human I was touched. After all, when I think about these contestants as people, and that they have to go home and watch themselves being poked at, I empathize with their humiliation.

Still, I must admit I was slightly disappointed. Part of me enjoys the poking, because I agree that they are horrible. Part of the fun of the audition process is watching Simon tell people what we’d tell them if we were there and had the guts. And lack of compassion. And tact. I especially enjoy it when the person is arrogant.

I’m not proud of it, but there it is.

In our real lives we don’t talk that way to people, and for good reason. Can you imagine if you worked in an office full of Simons? Or went to a mall full of Simons? Or married into a family of Simons? Or even just knew Simon?

On the other hand, I like to think I have enough of a grasp on reality to know that I have a lousy voice. I could not carry a tune if it was in a suitcase. With wheels. And a porter. Really, are some of these people that tone deaf? Do the dogs in their neighborhoods not howl? I know my abilities, so I won’t be appearing in any reality shows involving singing contests. Or beauty contests. No cooking contests, endurance contests, grace contests or dancing contests. As my sister once told me, “Extreme Makeover. Now THAT’S a show I could be on.”

American Idol, Rock My World

My favorite guilty pleasure makes a return to the airwaves tonight.

American Idol, with all it’s drama, talent, bad notes and overdone hair (and that’s just the judges) is finally back. The talent of a few and the watching-the-train-wreck-ness of many (hello Sanjaya) will keep me listening with at least one ear for the next few months.

I started watching the first season, but not until the last ten minutes of the finale. I poo-pooed it along with all of the other pseudo-intellectuals, but decided to watch “just the auditions” of season 2 to get a laugh.

And that, my friends, was the beginning of my downward spiral into a special kind of Hell.

I love it. I love the great singers, I love the William Hungs. I love Clay’s Mini-Me, and Paula’s possibly-pharmaceutically-induced weirdness (did anyone catch Hey Paula?). I love Ryan, and I don’t care if he’s gay. I love the outrage over contestants sent home too early, the tears of the little girls in the audience, the sultry come-hither looks of the Aces and the Constantines…
And I really love my TiVo, which lets me skip the commercials.

So, please join me from wherever you are, and watch the first show. 8pm Eastern time. I’ll bring the hot chocolate.

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