AfterEllen.com Huddle: Offensive television

 
 

Mia Jones: Married by America! Sanctity of marriage my pancake-shaped tushy! The premise was that America could call in to vote and match up two individuals who had never met. These people were then sequestered in a hotel resort to “get to know each other” (mostly in the biblical sense) for a few weeks (yes, weeks) until their wedding day. No one ended up actually getting married but the show was terrible just the same.

Jamie Murnane: I’m not easily offended, if at all, by scripted television. Sure, there are moments when I think a character says something ridiculously sexist and I roll my eyes at it, but I do not mind onscreen teenage hook-ups ala Skins, Gossip Girl, The O.C., etc.

What people, namely parents, don’t like about Skins is that it’s honest. Of course not all teens are having sex, partying all night or doing / selling drugs, but they’re fooling themselves if they think none of that is as prevalent as it is. The truth can be offensive sometimes, which is why The Jerry Springer Show bothers me most (and all shows like his).

While I’m sure many of the scenarios are embellished and instigated for TV, watching shows like Springer make me embarrassed. Not to get all Natalie Maines, but really. Sometimes I feel if I were to tell a foreigner I’m from America, I’d be shunned because they’d be like “You mean where Jerry Springer is filmed?” and I’d have to hang my head in shame about every guest on the show trying to find out who really is their baby daddy or stop their 10-year-old from selling themselves on the streets to old men.

I guess, like the people who have their pants all twisted over Skins, I’m mostly offended because I’m afraid it’s true: there could be people out there, on my block even, who are “pregnant but still want to strip” or are “happy I cut off my legs.” If Jerry Springer can stay on the air highlighting the trashiest trash for 20 years, give Skins a break.

Trish Bendix: If I were a parent, I would prefer my teenager watch Skins instead of Bridalplasty, Extreme Makeover or The Swan — any show that promotes the notion that you are a work-in-progress that needs major fixing with the help of expensive plastic surgery. But because those shows aren’t about sex or drugs, they are somehow more worthy of being televised than a show about realistic teen situations and storylines. I doubt Skins is going to shape someone’s mind. Bridalplasty, on the other hand, might play a role in making a teen girl feel more insecure about herself and her place in a world where beauty is the highest standard of societal worth.

Karman Kregloe: Dating in the Dark is a show about people going into a dark room with a stranger, talking, making out, groping then processing the whole thing later with other strangers who are also groping other contestants in the dark. The gropers try to pick their favorite grope-ees and if the same two people select each other, they each get to see what the other looks like (in a weird reveal that doesn’t actually allow the contestants to see the responses of their potential mate). Then they decide if they still want to hook up after they’ve seen the goods. Sometimes each is still physically attracted to the other. But usually, one person thinks the other was hotter with the lights off and says “no thank you.”

I know it was supposed to shine a light on how people are overly concerned with appearances and can miss “real connections” because they’re shallow, but the inevitable public humiliation scenes at the end of each show were just too much for me.

The contestant would wait pathetically for the person they’d groped in a pitch black room to come meet them, only to see them instead exit the main house dragging their suitcase behind them, running away as quickly as possible after they’d seen the ugly mug of their potential paramour.

I always wondered why anyone would put themselves through such an ordeal on television and how much they got paid to do it. The show just made me hate reality television even more than I already did. Plus, it was totally straight! Hmm, maybe in this case that’s not such a bad thing.

Bridget McManus: Bridalplasty! Have you seen this show? It’s horrifying! And anything on Spike TV where fat guys wear jeans and teeshirts and women are in bikinis. They must be freezing.

Dara Nai: Sister Wives. The Glenn Beck Show. Bridezillas. Teen Mom. My Super Sweet Sixteen. Anything that starts with “Sarah Palin” or ends with “Tila Tequila.” I don’t know why it’s fine and fun when real people act like complete douchecanoes, but a sign of the disintegration of civilization when made-up characters get high or hook up. Actually, I do know why and it makes me sad that we expect more from Calzona than we do from our neighbors.

So what say you, readers? Got a show in mind?

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