Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Truly Terrible Television

pre-publication note: I swear I never mean for these entries to be as long as they turn out to be. It just HAPPENS.

Hey! So remember how I said I was gonna do this and then do that thing and it would be wonderful and all that?

I suck at keeping commitments. I'd starve as a blogger.

I keep trying to get myself to write my 'Completely Horrible TV' post, but then I realize that I had only been watching one truly terrible TV show, and it's over now. It probably won't even get a second season, for which I am eternally grateful as the self-disgust will finally end.

But here's a few things I have to say about this one show and the genre in general.

It was this...this...thing, this abomination called High Society, that aired on the CW for about two months. It was a reality show engineered by 'socialite' (ie: pretty NYC blonde with a fuckload of money and no job) Tinsley Mortimer. Apparently it was done so she could revamp her image after her divorce, which seemed to happen because she was, in a few words, somewhat of a famewhore in the terrifying world of NYC 'high society'. The very idea of the show was fascinating and depressing to me. First because, who was this chick? Apparently she considered herself famous enough that she needed an image revamp, but I had never heard of her outside Go Fug Yourself posts that told me she was one of those Pseudo-Famous-For-Nothing Types.

Secondly, I think that at this point in the history of Reality Shows one has to be somewhat of a dribbling idiot to think that they can work to improve someone's image. If anything, it will shatter your reputation. You hear all of these participants claiming that they want to show what they're 'really' like, but... doesn't the very fact that you're participating in a Reality Show prove that what you want more than anything is for people to pay more attention to you? Does it do anything but infringe on this privacy that they claim they want to protect so badly?

I used to be really appalled that people would voluntarily choose to be part of these casts, as if they didn't know what was coming to them. As if they didn't know that the very reason why reality shows are so popular is that they feed us (mostly) unscripted drama and comedy from an entirely safe place. We get to witness the catfights without getting sprayed by thrown drinks. Then, of course, you realize that most, if not all of these participants know (they have to know) exactly what they're getting into. They just want fame badly enough that they'll jump into it gleefully to get their 15 minutes' worth. In the end, the world of the pseudo-celebrity Reality Show is a hellhole from which no one comes out looking well.

But she jumped into it. And by "it" I mean a pile of shit so deep and horrible that she will never, ever recover. Because oh, boy.

See, it wouldn't have been so bad if it had just been Mortimer alone. Sure, she's kind of vapid and silly but she's not a completely horrible person. She's just a bit dim, going around to fundraisers (which all look like they waste more money than they raise), random parties and other such "events". She doesn't have a job, of course, but seems to think it's interesting enough that she has a handbag line, just like every other uber rich girl with zero skills or talents (the handbags, by the way? fucking HIDEOUS). She has "problems" because she recently got divorced and her mother disapproves. So she's just this rich chick, who got some really bad advice to do a show. She's not that bad, just kind of useless.

So it's not her who's despicable, but just about everyone else on the show. Somehow the producers managed to wade through the sewers of New York to find what were probably the three most horrible people that have ever been on television. They don't even seem to know Mortimer really well, which just leads me to think that Tinsley's life was boring enough that the producers had to find someone else to create drama. I have honestly never wanted to slap someone so badly for just being a completely horrible human being.

One was this complete dreg of humanity called something Calderon (I remember only because he shares my second last name). He was gay (an insult to his people) and whiny and a druggie and he wore a bowtie. He threw drinks at people and begged his mom for money to spend on drugs and partying. He would go about getting into trouble and being proud of it, as if his biggest goal in life was to make it onto Page Six, which is just about the saddest life goal I can think of. "High Society", indeed.

There was also someone called Jules, who was all that this other guy was, only she was a heinous racist bitch on top of that. It made me nauseous to watch her, and it was probably during her scenes when I felt the most disgusted with myself for watching the show. But I couldn't look away, because I kept hoping that someone was going to give her some comeuppance at some point. Though, really, I wouldn't have been satisfied unless someone had thrown her off the tallest bridge, so it was kind of a disappointment when all that happened was that she got thrown out of her hotel. She was trash in its most pure form, which just goes to prove that money won't wash all the shit that's intrinsic to you.

The other 'important' one was this praying-mantis looking woman who apparently 'edited' a 'society' magazine and tried very, very hard to get Tinsley's attention by talking shit about her to other people. No one seemed to give a shit about her, which was pretty hilarious. And then Tinsley's mom went off on her and it almost made the whole show worth it.

In fact it would've been much better to just give Tinsley's mom, Dale Mortimer, a show. The woman was hilarious. She was just that Lucille-Bluth-but-less-evil type of rich woman that cracks you up. She seemed about the only person on the show to have her head on somewhat straight, even if she kept pushing Tinsley to get back with her husband, which was really gross after a while. But she was funny and seemed to know that her daughter was making a gigantic mistake and she wanted to do some damage control. You really got a sense that she was disgusted by her daughter's 'friends' and the world that surrounded her, but that at the same time she had no idea what to do about it. Her solution to everything seemed to be to fake your way through everything and remain happy.

But in the end, aside from a few horrible-person moments and Dale's mom, the show was pretty damn boring and depressing. Tinsley just kind of wandered about looking lost and confused, and the other people were just different levels of disgusting. If nothing else, it served to show that the people in the upper class (but not truly high class--ie, the beyond billionaires who would sniff down their noses at these dregs) must lead truly terrible lives. The great part was that the three pondscummed monsters in the cast kept trying to tell us all to writhe in envy of everything that they had. Because obviously going out to party every night, getting drunk, getting into fights and being completely wretched in every single possible way is everyone's dream. It was all done so desperately (ENVY ME! ENVY ME! PLEASE FEEL *SOMETHING* TOWARDS ME) that you ended up almost feeling sorry for people so completely disconnected from reality. The problem is that you can't have sympathy for monsters, and you can only hope that they'll end up exiled to a third world country slum never to be heard from again.

Now, the big question. Why did I watch? And my answer is that I don't quite know. It didn't even go on for that long, and it wasn't even that good for the drama. I'm sick to death of the Shows About Rich People, and I've vowed never to watch one, so why this one?

I don't know. I think I was just bored and I wanted something to yell at once ANTM was over. And there's just something about watching a trainwreck like Tinsley Mortimer make a fool of herself on TV. It was all terribly scripted, and if I had known how boring it would get I wouldn't watch it again. But it looked kind of silly in the previews and I love a good fight between horrible people (isn't that why people watch The Real World?). Plus, we all know I'm a sucker for punishment. At least it made for a blog entry?

But, anyway, now that's all over. Tinsley Mortimer can go back to showing up at random events and trying to sell her horrible handbags while she can. The other people can go back to the cesspool from which they spawned and I can go back to ignoring the fact that they exist.

And beyond that, there's always the hope in me that after seeing these monsters on television, the young and stupid kids who keep wanting fame for fame's sake might be a little dissuaded. Because if this is what money and the high life do to you, you're probably better off keeping that job at the supermarket and actually doing something for a living. You might remain human.

And maybe, just maybe, the shitty ratings this show got means the beginning of the end for the Pseudo-Celebrity Reality Show. And the Rich People Doing Things Genre, because it's frankly insulting.

Hey, at least I know I'm not missing anything by not being a multi-billionaire. It's nice when a show teaches you to appreciate what you have and to be grateful for not being surrounded by absolute monsters and have to call them your friends. Aw, some good came of this after all! I like happy endings.

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