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June 22, 2005

Bigots' Choice on ABC

ABC is mining the rich "historical reenactment" subgenre of reality TV.

In family favorites like Frontier House and Manor House, contestants strive to maintain the anachronistic lifestyles of their predecessors. This season, ABC takes three white "Christian" families and a wacky crew of "diverse" individuals back in an age where WHITE CHRISTIANS had the final say about everything!

Pam Spauling explains:

"Diverse" families compete to be voted "least-offensive" by their white fundie neighbors...

The diverse group includes African-American, Caucasian, Korean, Latino and gay families, plus one family in which husband and wife are heavily tattooed, and another in which mom and dad are devoted to the practice of Wicca, sometimes known as witchcraft or paganism.

The most socially acceptable family wins the Grand Prize...

The winning family gets a four-bedroom, three-bath home, plus furnishings, upgrades and two years' worth of property taxes paid for them — a prize worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $900,000, estimates two of the show's executive producers, Jay Blumenfield and Tony Marsh.

Second prize is two fundie neighbors. Losers get to live in the third white evangelical family's toolshed.

Via Pinko Feminist Hellcat.


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In the ads for this, one of the Good Families is shocked to learn that the tattooed couple are in fact Republicans themselves - "one thousand percent." Good times...

Normal vs Abnormal.

I'm not complaining, however. I love reality TV because of the unintended study of group dynamics.
(I'm reminded of the high art vs low art debate.)

The beauty is that often, the xians and the bigoted have epiphanys, as in the formula for the granddaddy of all reality shows, The Real World.

It's a good thing/thang.

And people gave Dave Chapelle shit for The Mad Real World?

An odd twist (but perhaps not unsurprising): Focus on the Family is protesting the show on the grounds that the Christians will be the characters that viewers love to hate:

The creepiest line from the article:

"But he cautions: Be careful that in your calls to ABC and its sponsors you don't become the stereotype you're protesting."

My God, I thought you were pulling one over on us. Disney/ABC has got to be one of the most internally conflicted and confused companies ever.

I used to think that the "Yankees Ultimate Road Trip" was the nadir of reality television. Boy, was I wrong...

Mudkitty: I can't think of any other show, though, where the rules give a group of people, explicitly chosen because they are white and potentially bigoted, a power that they previously would have had and invoked vigorously against minorities, like the power to exclude from a neighborhood. It might as well be a show about who gets to sit where on the bus, or who actually gets paid for their labor.

I can't wait for, "Whitey in the Hood!" to be made.

How about "Who Wants To Be A House Nigger?"

That's what I meant by "formula."

sounds like utah.

I may try to find my TV controller for this. I am hoping for a BIG backlash!

Wow. I was so sure you were making it up. What is wrong with people?! I need to go scream.

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