Monday, March 30, 2009
Bronze to Jorge
This has been a very disappointing weekend.
On Saturday night Jorge, our favorite contestant on Groomer Has It, got eliminated in third place. I know all this happened a long time ago in America, but we're just getting it here. Jorge was so clearly the best of the group that you just know that either he did something that pissed off evil judge Xavier. Or equally likely that one of the other two had done something that secretly pleased the evil judge. We will never know, but Jorge was robbed.
I am sure that part of the reason reality shows are so popular is because the formula for most of them is actually quite a cruel one. In real life, if we gave a test to people and they all did well, we would tell them they had all passed.
Why doesn't the show just say Jorge and the other two guys are all damned good groomers, so we're going to split the pot and give it to all of them. Of course the answer is that the show is less about grooming and more about the drama of people getting the chop one week after another. It's a plotline straight from Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians" only there's no mystery about who's killing off the cast. (And yes, UK friends, I do know the original title, but I ain't using it.)
(Of course, these shows are also about entertainment, and if you missed it you might want to catch Jorge's earlier comment on this blog here.)
I love all sorts of competition, but there is a nasty streak running through all these reality shows. The people who who go on these shows really, really want some recognition - top groomer, top chef, top designer, top model, top singer, top dancer, whatever. And to get the prize, they have to take heavy doses of criticism weekly, usually suffer some form of humiliation and almost always experience anxiety. In return, all but one of them finds out that this week they're the ones dancing with dead weight in "They Shoot Horses, Don't They".
It's as if some TV producer once upon a time stumbled upon Jack Welch's infamous HR formula at GE where once a year managers had to fire the bottom ten percent of their department. The policy helped make GE rich - and demoralized - but it has failed at many other companies, so who knows if it's good business or not. But put it on TV with a cast of characters, and it's all high drama and tension.
Of course, that all makes so much sense. I don't think you could get me to watch a television show about interior design. But tell me some goofball judges are going to be cruel to a couple of flamboyant designers and send one home, and I tune in every week. And as someone who doesn't even own a dog, it is a bit telling about LK and me that we kept watching Groomer Has It in the first place.
But, we're not happy about Jorge getting the boot. We will have to see if we bother to watch the final next week.
Well, OK. We will. But we won't enjoy it anywhere near as much.