I loathe thee. Let me count the ways.

August 20, 2007

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This past weekend — channeling around aimlessly and landing on MTV by mistake — made me a witness to what might be the worst television I've ever seen. It was some cringe-inducing, awful-awful-awful, can't-believe-they-made-this, useless, contemptible garbage. I would've changed the channel, but I was not in control of the remote at the moment. Someone else decided they would see if the show was maybe funny. (It wasn't.) So, right up front, I'm absolving myself for having been a viewer.

The show was called "Parental Control," which according to Wikipedia is not even a new show and is not in production, for which I can be eternally grateful. Apparently MTV had nothing better to air on a Saturday afternoon than reruns of crap that's bottom-of-the-barrel even for them. The show is a "reality" show that takes the oh-so-tired premise of the dating contest (think "Blind Date") and puts yet another new "twist" on it.

The parents of an early 20-something screen a selection of mostly assorted trash ("This is the strip dance I'll do for your son") looking for a diamond in the rough so they can decide who would be the ideal candidate to be their son's new girlfriend. Mom gets to pick one date, and Dad gets to pick the other. These two girls go out with the son as the cameras follow. The son (get ready — here comes the twist!) already has a girlfriend, who treats him like crap and whom the parents despise. The idea is that the son will pick one of the new girls, or stay with his current girlfriend. Their dates are "watched" on TV by the parents and the current girlfriend, who make "catty" remarks to each other that are so vulgar and inappropriate that you don't for one second believe you are watching real people. Not. One. Second. This is false falseness at its falsest.

The "dates" are even more contrived than on "Blind Date," which I never would've thought possible. In this particular episode, the guy and the girl go to a mattress store and lie down, while Mom & Dad & Girlfriend make snide comments to each other while "watching" this happen on TV. Then the guy and the girl get in a totally fake pillow fight, with feathers spilling out and going everywhere, I kid you not. For the grand finale, they get on beds with wheels and race them down a hill, as if this were some sort of game that actually happens on real dates, and breaks out after an afternoon at the furniture store (or at the very least on "Blind Date").

As a rule, I dislike reality television, but this show is a wretched insult even to its genre. There's nothing resembling believable behavior on the show. Absolutely none. Every smart-ass line and vile insult is so obviously scripted, and the beyond-rude behavior between the girlfriend and the parents is so boundary-breaking and over-the-top that not only are you convinced that the director told them to go after each other, but that the director gave these actors every single line from a very badly written script. These people are too stupid to come up with this sort of banter on the spot, and yet the writing still comes off as fake and calculated. And these actors are beyond bad. Bad bad bad. They speak like robots who have been shot in the head. Here's a show that's neither acting nor reality but simply the worst mind-numbing garbage I can recall being subjected to.

At the end, the guy rejects one of the dates because "something seemed a little flat." He's referring to her chest. He actually has the gall to say this to her face. I'd call him an asshole, but it's so far beyond obvious that a writer gave him that line — which in itself is contemptible. Even on a network that celebrates superficiality, this seems more worthless than usual.

And following the formula of every modern "reality" dating show, the episode has the nerve to draw out the moment where the guy makes his final choice, as if we honestly care and are in suspense. Stop wasting my goddamned time.

It amazes me that this kind of crap can be made, let alone put on the air. "America's Next Top Model" is a masterpiece of psychological depth compared to the likes of this. It's a show like this that makes me ashamed to say I own a TV set. I wonder how the people who star in such trash have the will to look themselves in the mirror. Maybe because the types of people willing to appear on such exhibitions of human excrement don't have the capacity to realize that they are complete wastes of space. I have nothing but contempt for them, which is okay because they obviously have nothing but contempt for themselves.

Oh, wait — but they're maybe only actors. I don't care. They should have the good sense not to put themselves out there as media whores for such soulless endeavors that suck the very life from the human intellect and every sensibility of decent taste.

I suppose I'm silly for taking umbrage at something on MTV. But even cheesy dating shows should have standards. "Parental Control" should be automatically banned by every V-chip in America on the basis of being a potentially catastrophic IQ vortex, because the depths of its suckiness threaten to make the weak-minded even dumber, and that's a truly dangerous thing on a network like MTV.

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8 comments on this post

    I can't agree more. I had the displeasure of watching the show, and I simply couldn't find words for it. I felt like blood was about to shoot out from my nose. I wondered for a moment what it would be like to be shown on television as a person whose parents are picking out potential dates for him. The only emotion I could feel would be shame, a shame unlike any other. What makes me cringe even more is the fact that people actually watch this drivel, and by watching it and enjoying it are admitting that they can't tell the difference between reality and fiction.

    Thank god your back. We thought you'd been kidnapped by aliens. Never seen this program but it sounds hellish. I loathe all reality TV or stuff like this. This is why I only watch drama and thrillers.

    "... on the basis of being a potentially catastrophic IQ vortex..." That line is fucking hilarious. I certainly hope this means your back to writing more articles more often.

    Sounds like I've missed a blinder. It is a shame Lie Detector has stopped in the UK. It was a 'reality' show where a person is asked questions while strapped to a lie detector. Why? Because their friend/partner doesn't trust them. Usually it is "Are you cheating on your girlfriend?" But the 'best' episode was 2 best friends on the show. One was accusing the other of sleeping with his girlfriend. The lie detector 'confirmed' that the guy had been sleeping with his girlfriend. So a 'fight' broke out. Oh, the hilarity. Obviously they were not trained stuntmen. And then the aggressor turned to the host of the show and actually said: "And as for you!" Before leaping at him. He sounded like he was in his school nativity play aged 6. That was the best line the script writers could come up with?

    Stef - That sounds more like an episode of Trisha. You can't beat Chav's swearing and throwing chairs at each other. For non English viewers Chav's are the English version of Trailer Trash. They don't live in Trailers though.

    These are chavs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Np9TTzx7rA (Not trying to divert the thread). Look out for her wedding shoes as she gets into the limo.

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