Wednesday, January 13, 2010

End of an Era

So much media news these past few days. As I am one of the apparently few people who has never watched late night talk shows, the NBC/Leno/Conan drama has interested me less than the American Idol drama.

Before you point your fingers at me, culture police, let it be known that I have, wait for it, NEVER seen an episode in its entirety of any of the following: Real World, Road Rules, The Bachelor, Jon & Kate Plus 8, Jersey Shore, and this is a short list of the happy pablum I have missed, so put your pointing fingers away.

But I have watched every season of American Idol and, much like my current watching of Nip/Tuck, later seasons were watched more out of nostalgia than out of interest. I kept hoping someone would do something, well, interesting, and, sadly, the closest American Idol has gotten to interesting was last season's Adam Lambert and, regardless of sexual orientation, I am on the record as being against ManLiner.

So the exit of Simon Cowell does have real-world ramifications for me. Considering he's the only participant on the show who occasionally demonstrates competency with an above-grade 8-level vocabulary, I really WON'T have an incentive to watch after his departure (see the above not-watched shows by way of an explanation. I like school. I think school is important. I think polysyllables are important).

So watching the opening episode of this season last night had some bittersweetness. I realized how much of my affection for the show had to do with Cowell's frequent honesty (though he too can be swayed by a perky look with an ear-splittingly bad voice) and his snark. And how little I care about the looped heartbreak stories of EVERY contestant. In a this-is-what's-wrong-with-America way, all the contestants willingly admit that they think this is their ticket out of poverty (and no one ever mentions, you know, college as a way out of poverty, just instant international stardom). I understand that the American Dream meme has been pretty well diluted out of existence (remember when part of the American Dream involved working for it?), but writ large on the most popular show on television - well this year, knowing I'll probably not watch the show again, it's harder to swallow.

Devoted partner will be pleased, though. He can't stand watching the show and the humiliation suffered by the contestants. He'll be happier when it isn't a part of my must-see TV routine.

I'm just hoping in my last viewing season someone finally does a take on Madonna's Like A Prayer complete with black Jesus. Go out with a bang!

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