Saturday, January 20, 2007

Let's see that horrible, inexcusable footage one more time, shall we?

It's a shame Countdown with Keith Olbermann insists on covering entertainment news, because while the rest of the show makes Keith look like a brave crusader ready to take on the powers that be and fight the good fight, when it comes to entertainment he often just seems as much the pretentious panderer and Jerry Springer once was. Case in point, a recent piece on the new season of American Idol in which he complained that the judges have ramped up the meanness and that it is witless, unnecessary cruelty. Perhaps so, and I think there's something to be said for asking even our cheesiest shows to show a little humanity. But to illustrate his point, Olbermann showed a ton of horrible singing followed by cruel comments. And this did not appear to be for the sake of showing how awful it was, but rather because people find that crap entertaining and Olbermann or his producers thought it would be entertaining to Countdown's audience. I feel just as I did the couple of times I saw Jerry Springer's show; if you want to show sleaze fine, but don't then get up on a soapbox and talk about how creepy it is.

It's interesting that Best Week Ever, which is pretty much my only source for entertainment news (I usually turn off Keith when he gets to that crap), used less footage of the show, seeming to make no real attempt to use the cruelty of the judges to entertain the audience. Instead, they shows clips of judge Paula Abdul in some interview acting insane (or drunk) and making fun of her. That, Keith, is what you do when you think a show is being too cruel; don't help to make fun of its victims, make fun of its stars.

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