Today’s post is the column as it appears in the WEEKENDER.
I have finally figured out the appeal of “American Idol.”
Let me preface this with the usual ‘I don’t watch much TV.’ In my case this happens to be true. The TV is on in the room where I am pondering, weak and weary, over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, while the long-suffering wife views the shows she likes. “American Idol”, “The Biggest Amazing Loser”, “You Are Too Fat To Dance” and others. I think those are ones she is into.
My tastes in video entertainment run to documentary and other films. This is not meant to sound as elitist as it is coming off. I read and watch a LOT of dreck. I watch stuff that would make most run screaming from the room, find a gun and shoot the screen. Trust me. But the other night I watched the entire finale of “American Idol” and about three-quarters of the way through I had an understanding of the shows broad appeal and continued popularity. Cuz, let’s face it; it’s really not that good a show.
But with ten years behind it, most of which have seen it scored as the highest rated on TV, and multiple judge changes, the show seems destined to continue as a benchmark in modern entertainment. I asked myself, why?
In order for me to understand anything I have to place it in a context I am familiar with. I think “American Idol” is the old “Ed Sullivan Show” reincarnated.
For those unfamiliar, Ed Sullivan hosted his show on Sunday nights for 24 seasons. It was a “variety” show, with a dozen performers each night, some of them established stars, but many of them very new to the entertainment scene. Some not very good. Ed presided over it all with a stone face, and a delivery as warm and inviting as a cigar store Indian. Ed would host BIG stars like The Beatles and then a comedian. An animal act and then puppets. Something for the whole family.
The other night “American Idol” had a huge variety as well. It truly was an accurate sampling of showbiz today. The competition really was just part of it. The real draw? BIG Stars like Bono. Comedian Jack Black. An animal act, Lady Gaga. And presiding over the whole deal, as stiff as a puppet, Ryan Seacrest.
Kinda made me miss old “Ed.’
Reach Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org Even more rants are on his blog, updated on days ending in “y” at jamesrising.com
The Rant D’Jour is about change and not spare change.
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