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Archive for December, 2011

The Bachelorette News is No News at All

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment

On The Critic Show podcast, I enjoy sharing what people like and don’t like in the world of entertainment.    It’s a given that there will be people who enjoy TV shows and movies that I don’t care to watch…and that’s perfectly okay. However, there are movies and television shows that I can’t figure out why anyone watches.

As I stood in line at a local store this week, I noticed that People Magazine’s lead story was about a woman named Ashley Hebert, who is the latest person to be shocked that happy endings rarely occur in shows like The Bachelorette.  She evidently had some bad experiences with the men on the show, especially the one she wanted to choose for her own.  He made her to believe he was interested in her, led her on and then told her he didn’t really have any feelings for her at all.

Is that terrible?  Yes.

Is it shocking?  Not really.

Is it front page news (even for an entertainment publication)?  By now you would think not.

Granted Ashley’s circumstances might be a bit unique, but it’s consistent with how these types of shows turn out.  Nonetheless, there have been over 15 seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and millions of people still tune in to watch and hope that two people find love.   I ask those people, how many times is this going to show cry, “Wolf!” and you come running.

The people that end up together almost never stay together.  This poor bachelorette also seemed to fall victim to a bunch of guys that want to be on TV.  They wanted to be famous.  Well, the public gave that to them for some reason.  I don’t get it.

Remember the “reality” show Temptation Island?  This was yet another great commentary about our culture and what entertains us.   It showcased couples that allowed cameras to film them as they traveled to an island filled with swimsuit models to see if they could break them up.  The only thing more amazing than the supposed shock of someone getting lured away from their boyfriend or girlfriend was how shocked people were in Season 2.  Don’t you know what happens in these shows?  Surely you had to know SOMETHING about Season 1 before signing up.

I ask a similar question to people who still watch these shows.  Why devote your time to this when you know how it’s likely going to turn out?  The person at the center of it all makes their pick and all is beautiful on the day of the finale.  Then the magazine cover comes out to tell you that the reality after the reality show has set in.

It’s then time for the star of the show to find a new mate.  It should also be time for more people to find a new show.

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The Politics of a Muppet Villain

December 6, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ll admit, when I noticed that the villain in the new Muppet Movie was a “rich oil man”, and eyebrow was raised.  After all, I’ve seen one-sided political stances placed in movies and children’s programs before and I feared this was another example of it.

Evidently Fox News felt the same way, spending a whole segment on the topic.  As I watched this debate unfold, I didn’t hear a great point come from either side. 

First, it struck me that the three people upset over Tex Richman had not even seen the movie.   They didn’t even mention that it’s Chris Cooper who plays him.  At one point, it’s as if they think Tex is a Muppet.

I think it’s important to see the movie.  After I saw it, I felt that Tex Richman isn’t nearly the political message he could’ve been.  You’re not beaten over the head with the fact that he’s an oil man.  More than anything, his sole reason for being there is to give the Muppets a reason for getting back together.

And yes, Tex “Rich man” uses real words to create a name.  However, I would argue that this is less about politics and more about Muppet name generation.  After all, there once was a time that there just so happened to be a guy that owns frog leg restaurants who was named Doc Hopper.

On the other side of the argument, I felt uneasy that she found it necessary to spend time promoting why politics in kids movies is okay and why her point of view should be heard in them.  She would have been better off making the points that I am making now.

How about we meet in the middle?  Yes, politics rears its ugly head in the wrong places in movies in TV shows.  However, are we sometimes guilty of just looking for it and using it as a means to cry foul?

I agree there’s nothing wrong with being rich and there’s nothing wrong with being in the oil industry.  The thing we have to remember is there are bad people in every walk of life…rich, poor, big business, small business, etc.

I think it’s a stretch in this case to think that a child will walk away from The Muppets with a generalization that all rich oil people are bad.

Chris Cooper as Tex Richman

They’re going to get that misleading message in other places.  You’d have an easier time trying to convince me that after watching a murder mystery in which a nurse kills her patients by injecting poison in their bodies and claim the message is that nurses can’t be trusted.

There are plenty of films where it is 100 percent clear that a film is either covertly or abrasively trying to make a statement.  More often than not, people know it and react to it on a grander scale…not in a seven minute debate on one network.

I remember a screenwriting mentor tell me one time, “Don’t write a movie for the sake of sending a message”.  I also had a movie critic friend who would always call out a film when it beat you over the head with a message, but was more forgiving when a message was subtle enough where the audience could come to their own conclusions.

My guess is most right-leaning and left-leaning parents who took their kids to see the movie, left thinking one thing….

It was an entertaining film.