Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Television to Save the World

Television is amazing, I think we all agree about that. In recent history it has been the center of the cultural zeitgeist, broadcasting images that have bonded a global community together. If you ask anyone how they heard about any earth shaking historical event over the past 50 years they will probably tell you it was on TV. Television is our shared memory and social conscience, and now two shows have taken it to a whole new level. Of course, I am talking about My Big Redneck Wedding and My Dad is Better Than Your Dad.

My Big Redneck Wedding combines America's two favorite pastimes -- weddings and making fun of hillbillies. The only thing that would be even better would be "My Big Redneck Celebrity Pregnancy," which, of course , would star Britney Spears. But I think the women on this show are even better than Britney! I mean, who doesn't love a bride who has a bouquet stuffed into a beer can and is planning on "walking" down the aisle on a John Deere tractor? Or the fair lass almost ready to say "I do," except for the fact she can't find her teeth? And who knew camouflage was the answer to flatter the figure of every bridesmaid? Of course they look skinny! You can't see them! The decorating ideas are fantastic. Who knew that beer cans, spent ammo shells, and taxidermied varmints could be used to make centerpieces?

In all seriousness though, the thing I like about this show is that each couple has a moment where they talk about why they are getting married and almost every woman says it's because the man in question is the most wonderful person alive, and each man calls his wife-to-be the most beautiful, fabulous creature he has ever seen. And you can really see they mean it, if not because of their words, then because of the highly inappropriate tongue filled kisses at the altar. It makes me believe in the true transformative power of love. It also makes me jealous that Ryan didn't pee his proposal in the street for all the world to see, but I guess he just isn't a romantic.

I have to admit that I have not actually watched My Dad is Better Than Your Dad, probably because I have such a sensitive gag reflex. However, the concept looks great. Finally, a show that humiliates every day men by putting them through demeaning stunts on the quest for mone and possibly ruins their image in the eyes of their child! Brilliant! The only thing better would watching siblings compete for their love of their parents by making them eat worms and swim through raw sewage. Actually, I think that may already be on FOX's fall schedule.

My Dad also gives fathers the chance to show just how great their parenting skills are, because most of the stunts also involve their kids. This means lots of caring, motivational talks disguised as soul crushing, therapy inducing rants by Dads who still probably wear their high school letterman jackets on the street. I think they must be extra points for making their children cry, since that seems to be the goal for most of them.

Ah television -- mother, teacher, secret lover. The moon landing. The Cosby Show. Jo calling Blair a "bitch" on The Facts of Life. All of these moments made us better as a nation, and they all were came into our homes through a small magic box. And now with shows like My Big Redneck Wedding and My Dad is Better Than Your Dad a whole new generation is guaranteed the kind of entertainment that can't be found in the "real world" or an "active imagination." So, dream on, television studio executives. Dream of shows pitting midgets against Rotweillers in three on three basketball. Dream of game shows where people must answer questions about 60's porn movies while their grandmothers hang over vats of lye. Dream of shows showcasing c-sections done at home with kitchen utensils. Dream big, dream disgusting, dream lowest common denominator, but just dream -- so that we don't have to.


Amanda said...

Instead of trying to get the three of us on World Series of Pop Culture, how about we compete on the new FOX show... that way the good daughter/bad daughter/crazy daughter debate would be settled once and for all.