Friday, April 21, 2006

Hooked on "Idol"

I saw an article in the "Your Life" section of the paper today promoting TV Turn-off Week. April 24-30, families are being encouraged to keep the tube dark, and find renewed interest in family and couple togetherness, nature, fitness, reading, etc. I think this is a super idea. Unplugging for even one week I'm sure can open eyes and minds to what we are missing out on with TV and what we wouldn't miss at all without it. I sometimes pine for the fortitude (and agreement of my spouse) to disconnect the satellite once and for all.

I wish I could say that these are the thoughts that immediately came to mind on reading the article. Instead I thought, "But what about 'American Idol'?"

Um, we're fans. All six of us. It's a little embarrassing. . . for me, anyway. I tend to be anti-reality-TV. Overall, I think it's dumb. It's not reality. It's contrived. No one really gets stuck on some desert island and needs to make alliances in order to NOT go home and have the chance to win money. Honestly, I think "Gilligan's Island" was as realistic a situation. (My apologies to anyone who watches "Survivor," having never seen it, I may have the premise wrong. I may even have the title wrong--but I think that's the one.)

Nevertheless this is the third season that we've faithfully watched or taped and then watched "Idol." I think the show is well produced. It has a long season, so there is a different focus on each stage of the competition, keeping interest through variety. Everyone loves the try-outs--watching people make fools of themselves. Why is it that we all seem to find great humor in others' sufferings? I get frustrated with people who are obviously not there to try out, but to be ridiculous enough to make it on TV, thus earning 15 SECONDS of fame. I feel a combination of bewilderment and sympathetic embarrassment for those who clearly think they are fantastic but, in reality, are tone-deaf and horrifically musically challenged. There is a girl I think of every season, not a contestant--someone I actually knew, who thought her voice was much better than it was. I imagine her trying out, singing out her soul, and being told on a national broadcast that she had one of THE worst voices Simon Cowell had ever heard, and he's heard the worst. I believe she'd not handle the news well.

The final 24 is where you can begin to vote for your favorites, and so that's where my girls get especially excited and start to take the contest personally. Larry calls in two votes for each of them until the count is down to 12, and then they get one vote. Each week the girls make hand written lists of the contestants. #2 makes smiley faces that look somewhat like each singer with an emotion that rates their performance. #3s votes are a study in primacy and recency. #1 is more likely to develop a favorite and vote for that person regardless of how they sing on any given night.

Myself, after the try-outs I have a hard time keeping interest until they are down to the final 12. I can never remember names until about the final 10 or 8. Currently, they are down to 6 for this season, so I even know the last names. I always say that if it weren't for the girls, Larry and I wouldn't watch at all. I wish that I knew that to be true. Deep down, I'm afraid it's not. Much like Jerry Seinfeld's interest in "Melrose Place," I fear can talk about Paula's uselessness and Randy's weekly claims on ties to the famous with the most loyal "Idol" viewer. I know who's "bringin' it" and who was "just ah-right for me, dawg." I almost cried last season when Constantine got voted off. This season I swear I'll stop watching if Chris gets kicked off before Kellie.

Ironically, I found solace in the same section of the same paper, when I turned the page and read a quote by filmmaker Paul Weitz of "American Pie" fame. He got the idea for his new film, "American Dreamz" from his own obsessions which he realized he shares with much of the country. "I would start my day reading the papers and feeling anxious about terrorism and worrying about whether the administration had an exit strategy from Iraq; then by evening, I was watching TV and worrying about whether Constantine was going to get kicked off 'American Idol.' I thought there was something strange about this picture." Starring Dennis Quaid and, my favorite, Hugh Grant, and being rated PG-13, this will definitely be a must-rent! Maybe it will help me feel better about my "Idol" habit. But only if Kellie gets voted off next.

2 fishy comments:

Jenn said...

LOL! We had no cable (and therefore no TV channels at all) for 2 years once. We just ended up watching the same DVDs over and over. :P

Idon't watch Idol, but I'm wondering if I know who you're talking about (and hoping it's not me!) Seemed to think she'd be an opera singer someday? ;0)

Enjoy it! Why not?

Annette Lyon said...

We've been die-hard Idol fans since the very first season. Used to be something hubby and I would record and watch after the kids were in bed. Now the kids are older, so it's a family affair, and they really get into the voting. (Glad I can admit this addiction somewhere--I'm so glad the season starts up next week!)