Tuesday, May 10, 2005

"I swear to you that this show actually is wrestling."

The above is a quote from Jacob, a recapper from Television Without Pity and it comes from his recap of last week's American Idol. What he said in 10 words crystallizes what I was trying to get at in my post: Fallen Idol: Epic Love Story or Brilliant Publicity Stunt? I am all about brevity and Jacob has helped me to get to the point that I have been circling for awhile now with the stealth of his words.

You all know that I hate myself for watching American Idol. I can't explain its appeal to me other than, as a child, I was always addicted to talent shows. I am also a sucker for the underdog, proof positive that I'm a good American. In some circles, watching American Idol, provided you do so ironically and openly mocked it for its over-the-top antics, would be socially acceptable. In my circle, however, there are a precious few that share my passion and most of the people I know simply do not tolerate the nonsense.

There is a part of me that loves this show and everything about it as innocently as a toddler loves Barney. There is so much happening in one season, much of it unpredictable. And it's happening to regular people live! The judges are interesting, the host is fascinating, and the contestants are heart-string players. But, I've always had this nudging suspicion about the show that none of it was real.

Once I read Jacob's quote: "I swear to you that this show actually is wrestling," the pieces just sort of fell into place. Here is a list to help briefly summarize the insights that came flying at my head:
  • Idol Contestents are talented singers, just as the wrestlers are definately talented athletes.
  • Storylines are formed and followed.
  • Enemies and heros are defined.
  • There are evil overloards.
  • They are all competing for a title.
  • Fans are rabid.

And just to let you know, Simon Cowell, judge and producer, produced his first hit record by doing an album that featured pro wrestlers singing. I know this because I've read his autobiography. To summarize, he saw what an amazing draw wrestling was and he thought he could capture some of the audience's enthusiasm and make some money. Everyone laughed at him, of course, but he ended up laughing all the way to the bank. That stuff sold. He knew how to use TV to market music. Just do a quick Amazon search under pop music for wrestling and see what you dig up.

So, imagine Cowell in a hot tub sipping a vodka tonic and thinking, "I made wrestlers into pop singers, why don't I now turn pop singers into wrestlers?" and Pop Idol was born. Just think of the basics of the competition, the trash-talking, the self-righteous displays of the bad guys and the good guys, competing for a title, and the scandals. At one point this season, I actually started to see the sailboat in the magic eye 3d poster. I sensed that they were setting Bo vs. Constantine as Hector vs. Achilles. That's when the antennae on my tin foil hat started to quiver slightly.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because, now I am at a crossroads. Should I ignore my new knowledge and continue to be duped? Should I now watch the show ironically and mock it openly? Should I stop watching it altogether? [Shawn: I vote for this option.] Should I give in to the theater of it all and now start watching wrestling too? Or should I forsake my conspiracy theories? Afterall, it could be real...couldn't it?


  1. Ahhhh! Princess, those of us that know and love you love all of your little idiosyncrasies, but I have to vote with Shawn on this one. Step away from the dark side.

  2. So, two votes to run away from AI. Come on, don't you see its value to art, entertainment, gossip?!?! Just as wrestling is important to professional sports...ah, fuck it. You're right. I should quit watching. I'm just not sure I can.

  3. Start slow. Start watching Entertainment Tonight. That will make you want to blow up your TV.

  4. Between Kelly, Reuben and Fantasia, Kelly has been the only real talent. If Bo wins, as we believe he will, there will be two deserving winners. The music business is a bitch and if a few talented people can get some attention through all of this, then it does have some value. I don’t know if I can handle going through this one more time, but I’m willing to stick it out through the next few weeks. Princess, you don’t have many vices and life’s short! Enjoy the guilty pleasure, you’ve earned it!

    Betty out!

  5. Dear Peanut,
    I think you've got something there! You just need to let Simon know you are on to his scam.

  6. Just an update...Shawn is now behind me watching AI, as long as he doesn't have to watch it too. Betty, you are right, I plan to embrace my vice and ignore the obvious.

    Maybe next year I'll give it up.

  7. And now that they've had Hulk Hogan on the show (bodyslamming Mr. Orange no less), it's official.