Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Reality Bites – the Slow, Painful Decline of Network TV


“A tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies.
Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives

And I decline. ..
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.” – R.E.M.

If, perchance, you might be a regular, semi-regular or like much of my wardrobe, slightly-irregular, reader of this online folderol, you may have noticed a chill in the air of late, and a somewhat tense atmosphere. Finally fatigued of the frequent weightiness of recent posts and of the theatrical threats from heavily-armed and permanently peeved pistol-packers, we momentarily flee from the frictions over firearms and instead descend into lowbrow froth, frivolity and superficiality with some lampooning of TV fare.

During its recent Oscar telecast, ABC promoted the upcoming premiere of the new celebrity reality competition program, “Splash.” While it’s unfortunate that neither comely mermaids nor a resurrected John Candy appear to be involved, we will still share this brief description from the network’s website –
Splash marks the first time 10 celebrities will train and compete in regulation platform and springboard diving at dizzying heights in front of a weekly poolside audience.”

Among the list of lesser luminaries regrettably sporting speedos and displaying all that God gave them in 1080p, on your 50 inch 3D LED television, will be zaftig comedian, Louie Anderson, aged basketball legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, former Cosby-kid, Keshia Knight Pullman and 7 other unrecognizable names whose categorization as “celebrities” would justify a Sarah Palin categorization as “intellectual.”

The green-lighting of this televised travesty serves as proof positive that, in the year 2013 A.D., humankind has officially exhausted all ideas. However, being an American television network, and therefore fully aware that originality, ideas or intelligence are irrelevant, if not even counterproductive to success, (late night talk show comic setup ahead) the American Broadcasting Network (Howard K. Smith is spinning in his sarcophagus) has a number of other personality-based reality programs waiting in the wings assured that this sad and shameless charade is certain to expire shortly after its second showing.  

But first, speaking of the networks, NBC, once self-proclaimed, peacock proud purveyor of quality programming, has pitifully plummeted into 5th place, recently overtaken by a UHF foreign language station.  After exhaustive attempts at every iteration of simian-centered shows and desperate  to revitalize viewership, executives at famed 30 Rock have newly signed New York City Public Access icons, Robin Byrd and the portly, naked fellow from “Interludes after Midnight.”

Can Robin Byrd save NBC?
And now, we are moderately to embarrassingly proud to present some fake TV for your entertainment pleasure.

Coming this Spring to ABC
He’s out of rehab and in your chest cavity. You'll be in stitches when funny man, Andy Dick performs your triple bypass surgery, on Celebrity Cardiology, hosted by Ryan Seacrest.

When one-time, Saturday Night Live regular and current Tea Party harlequin Victoria Jackson; disgraced former New York Governor and courtesan cash cow Elliot Spitzer, and Food Network host and enhanced interrogation voice-over artist, Guy Fieri strap on their helmets and ease into the firing tube, you’ll be yearning for a mishap as if you were trackside at the Indianapolis 500. Join that trio of infuriating irritants plus 12 more has-beens and never-will-bes on ABC’s Human Cannon Balling with the Stars.

You love Zombies! You love Match Game! Now, all your old dead favorites – Brett Somers, Richard Dawson and Charles Nelson Reilly - are back, on Zombie Match Game 2013!

If we gathered some of the world’s most beloved singing legends – Christina Aguilera, Wayne Newton, Juice Newton, Rick Springfield, the late Dusty Springfield, Jimmy Osmond, Aretha Franklin, Andrea Bocelli and Vicki Carr, and then had boxing icon, George Foreman, punch each one in the throat that could mean only one thing! It’s time for a brand new season of Who Can Sound the Most Like Tom Waits?

Nine armed vests, a trip to Somalia for nine stars from TV’s Saved by the Bell, boy band Menudo, comic Emo Philips and Attorney General Eric Holder, and all but one vest is a dud. Emo’s bombed before but never like this – it’s Celebrity Suicide Bomber.

Two kidnapped men are drugged, and trapped with a dead body in the lair of renowned serial killer Jigsaw. The madman provides them with a set of dangerous and harmful rules and objectives that they must follow for any hope of survival. Sound familiar? Yes, it’s the hit horror movie, Saw, but this time… it’s real!! Celebrity Saw: The Series – Cary Elwes unwittingly recreates his film role, with three-time U.S. National Figure Skating Champion, Johnny Weir along for the bloody, and very bumpy, ride.

Two C-list talents go in, but only one comes out, on Superstar Roman Gladiator! Three superstar pairings battle to a likely demise this week in the arenafirst up it’s that Master of the Malaprop, comic Norm Crosby taking on Latin and Folk Singer/Guitarist Jose Feliciano, followed by somebody from one of those youth oriented WB shows, who knows, they’re interchangeable vs. whoever’s left from Different Strokes, and finally, a nostalgic and heartwarming Happy Days reunion… to the death! It’s an old-fashioned rumble when Anson “Potsie” Williams and Donny "Ralph Malph" Most settle their decade’s long blood-feud in a recreated Arnold’s parking lot.

There’s all this and much, much more -
  •  Mob Wife Swap
  • A creepy movie star and soft shoe man wants to date your teenage daughter in Walken on Sunshine
  • Russian import, Dancing with the Tsars
  • 360 singers of faith, a few dozen belligerent bulls – it’s LDS versus livestock when we parachute the Mormon Tabernacle Choir into Pamplona, Spain in Celebrity Running with the Bulls
  • There’s only need for one and you decide their fate on Michael Cera or Jesse Eisenberg
  •  Michael Fassbender!  Mark Wahlberg ! Cockfighting with the Stars!
  • Armageddon Married in the Morning 
 Now, we leave you with some musical commentary, REM and “It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine.)”


  1. The fact that a show like "Splash" is even considered viable by the television establishment, is a clear indicator of the decay of American society. Never mind the visual and psychological train wreck that the show will be, once it airs.

    The Tom Waits parody show description had me laugh out loud. I know, I'm sick.

    Great stuff!

  2. Thanks so much for your kind words, Frank. I appreciate the feedback and I'm very glad you enjoyed it. And, I too, have to admit that out of 100 plus posts I've done, the Tom Waits joke may be my favorite. It's just so weird and arbitrary. So, who's the sick one? Thanks again.

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