Certain types of reality TV entertain me. The mean part of me. I suspect among my audience there are those nodding in agreement. I speak of shows like the recently completed first season of Hell's Kitchen. There is an element of it in Simon Cowell's show, American Idol. Don't tell me it is about the singing, Cowell is the one who was tapped for a Coca-Cola commercial - not Kelly Clarkson or Ruben or Fantasia. The mean part of me likes seeing people get criticized, the rest of me says, by way of justification, "They volunteered for it." In the oh so correct, PC world, there is an audience who likes seeing merit rewarded and people have to work like diggety.
Hell's Kitchen took a bunch of people and placed them under world class Chef Ramsay, to compete for their own restaurant. Food service is a hard industry and people are not likely to give second chances to venues that produce bad food. Food service is a lot of long, hard grunt work that is generally worse the farther down the chain of command it gets. Americans by and large like people who have paid their dues to succeed. Maybe it is because there is no real aristocracy here, compared to the rest of the western world we are new money, but every American watching thinks at some point, "I could do that." That is, work real hard and realize a dream. The Ramsays and the Cowells? The boss you know is out there, who will not hand out a paycheck for a half-baked job. That's the reality.
Then there is this kind of reality show, the Eurovision song contest. They desperately need the Simon Cowell. Or the Manolo. Red Hot Granny and the Chili Peppers just kind of says it all. (ht: Beryl via email)