Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Reality Television Secrets

So I TiVo'ed American Idol last night and watched it this morning. I discovered that, if you fast forward through the commercials and useless filler, you can watch a 2 hour episode of Idol in approximately 40 minutes. That means about 66% of the show is skippable. It's not a good sign when you're watching a show in which the majority of its material can be discarded without detracting from it. Why do I bother?

Still, I'm glad that this season there are TWO funny chubby guys. They're always good to watch. And one of them is named "Sundance Head", which is a pretty damn funny name. Though with a last name of "Head", pretty much any first name is funny. If it were my last name, I'd name one of my kids Richard so he could be Dick Head. Another one would be Harold, so he could be Harry Head, which would become ironically hilarious when he inherited my baldness genes.

You know what show has even more filler though? Deal or No Deal. If you skip the crap, it's approximately 30 seconds long (i.e., "I pick case #4! *FAST FORWARD* Ohhh, look, your case contained 2 dollars. Should've made a deal. *FAST FORWARD* Here are shots of all the models *FAST FORWARD* See you next time! I'm Howie Mandel! I'm mentally ill...isn't that funny!?")

I do find the fact that it's popular pretty fascinating. I have a feeling it's getting down to basic psychological principles; like the need to resolve uncertainty (i.e. what's in each case), the reward that results from resolving it (i.e. opening cases), and the fact that people will keep watching what's, basically, a person playing a giant scratch-and-win ticket, just for these little rewards. It's sorta like rats pushing levers over and over if it will sporadically release a reward. In some cases, they'll just keep pushing until they die. Perhaps people aren't exaggerating when they say that reality TV will bring about the end of the world.

11 comments:

your judgemental aunt said...

I PVR everything. I won't watch it unless I can fast forward through some of it.

Timmy said...

I prefer to *live reality, as opposed to watching it *supposedly happen on television. I think, oh fuck it, nevermind what I think.

madamerouge said...

I can't watch Idol or Deal. The ringing phone on Deal stresses me out to the point of throwing something at the television.

Phronk said...

YJA: Yeah, that's the way to do it. Commercials are so 90's.

T: What do you think?

MR: I think you need some therapy.

Jason said...

That last woman on Idol was incredible.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

I've never seen Idol, nor do I plan on it.

I'm just not a fan of TV, especially reality or Star Searchy things.

Butchieboy said...

Now that the OC is over, I won't be watching TV anymore.

Phronk said...

Without TV, you people will fall behind on pop culture knowledge, and you will be unable to communicate with the brainless masses. Also, you'll go to hell.

Ubersehen said...

I think it's curious that reality TV still spends so much time interviewing the contestants to get their opinions on stuff. Do we really respect any of the contestants flaunting themselves across North America for a buck? Seriously, we don't want to hear about Amber's insecurities about the upcoming log-over-mud battle with Brünhilde, since Brünhilde has been saying such nasty things about Amber all week behind her back. No, we just want them to fuckin' get on with it and roll in some mud, already. I know I'm especially not interested in the various contestants' profound philosophical rationalizations for gambling away an easy 50 grand on Deal, I just want them to pick another damned case or take the money. Or how Billy wants to tell us that he thinks June is a fantastic person and singer when we all know he secretly wants her to trip during her sparse near-anorexic lunch and accidentally stick her plastic fork through her vocal chords so that he can be the next in line for the short-lived record deal to produce an insipid, inconsequential recording of other people's music.

The producers are so focused on the tension of the moment, so focused on prolonging the magic, that they haven't noticed that the magic was lost long ago. Unless they're just there to make a buck off the people who were watching in hopes getting some sort of, oh I don't know, content. But I'd hate seem too cynical about the whole thing by suggesting it.

Sorry, you'll have to give me a sec, I got a little worked up there.

R2K said...

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Win $5,000!

Phronk said...

Hahah, valid points Uber. The constant interviews do get annoying. Most shows are 10% content with 90% commercials and filler. But hey, people keep watching and it's cheap to produce, so I don't think they'll go away any time soon. Oh well.