14 March 2006

Mild Rant

I should have known better. I visited the forum for a reality show that I watch and worked myself into a dither. It only took me a few minutes to run across three of my current hot buttons.

1. I would like to have the word alliance struck from the vocabulary of every reality show contestant from now until infinity. Ever since the first season of "Survivor", people on these shows have walked on the set searching for a way to form an alliance. The mere sound of the word drives me nuts and is enough to ruin my enjoyment of an episode of any show. It is even worse when contestants start talking about alliances and playing mind games on shows where it will not help them. For instance, "Project Runway" is based on each designer's skill, but that didn't stop Wendy Pepper from playing with people's heads in the first season.

2. It drives me nuts when someone assumes that viewers are mindless drones who will give over half their paychecks to a certain company just because they have secured prominent placement for their products on a popular show. I'm not talking about kids' programming; children need to be educated by their parents and teachers about the ways that companies will try to convince you to spend money. Adults, however, have watched enough TV and wasted enough cash to know that you don't have to buy everthing that has a cool commercial or is endorsed by your favorite actor.

ABM and I laugh at product placements. When I play Crazy Taxi, I think it is fun to take a passenger to Pizza Hut rather than a generic restaurant. When a reviewer pans a movie because of heavy product placement (Judge Dredd and The Island are two that come to mind), we rent it on purpose so that we can count how many times we see the Taco Bell sign. If watching an ad gets me a free day pass to read the articles on Salon, then bring it on. Just because I watch your ad doesn't mean I will buy your product. Cost is the overwhelming factor that drives my buying decisions and no matter how cool I think your ad is, I'm probably not buying it.

3. Every show doesn't have to be educational. I've read more than one complaint that one of my favorite shows, The Biggest Loser, gives people false ideas about weight loss. That show has disclaimers at the beginning and end of every episode warning viewers that the rapid weight loss depicted on the show is monitored by a doctor and shouldn't be attempted at home. They've done their job. However, there are people out ther that can't give the viewers credit for knowing that this is a reality show they are watching, not an instructional video. When I watch that show, I'm not looking for weight loss advice. I am just amazed at how far people can push themselves. Yes, I have said in the past that it inspires me to move but I don't expect to be working as hard as they are. When I watch it I am thinking, "If they can make themselves work out for extraordinary amounts of time, then I can push myself to finish a normal 30-minute workout."
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