Fuse TV’s new series Redemption Song pushes schadenfreude to the absolute limit. It’s a reality singing competition between 11 “beautiful, talented and troubled women.” Emphasis on troubled.
The show’s tagline is: “Society has judged them, now it’s our turn.”
If I hadn’t been watching to find the lesbian, I would have tuned out two minutes in. It’s the most exploitive thing I have ever seen.
This is the kind of sensitivity you can expect if you’re going to get invested in the show. Nyia, the lesbian contestant, spoke about her coming out like this: “My son’s father beat me like crazy when I told him.”
That confession is just one of the many gems sprinkled throughout the show by contestants.
For example: “My life is just a big smorgasbord of craziness. I just want to do my own thing, and dance to my own drum — and pee in everyone’s food, duh.”
Or: “My voice is the only thing that can’t keep up with my lifestyle.”
The premise of the show is that all of the contestants have been to prison or rehab or whatever, and now they have one last chance to get a recording contract. The whole thing just reeks of desperation, with Ron Fair of Geffen Records showing up at every turn dressed like a gumshoe, threatening to destroy each woman’s dream.
Rather than create an atmosphere that is conducive to actual redemption, the show’s producers have buckets of alcohol at every turn: in the house, in the limo, in the bus, in the restaurants, at dinner and, of course, at the audition.
When poor Nyia has a little meltdown about missing her kids (whose father, remember, punched her in the face when he found out she was gay), one of the women comforts her by saying, “So, shots?”
Once Nyia’s acerbic tongue starts rolling, she can’t stop. She calls one of the contestants “a retarded cheerleader” and says another one “is working with marbles and Gummi Bears” for brains.
The best part of the show, though? The captions that Fuse adds to each talking head, just so you can keep the contestants straight in your mind.
The second best part of the show is that it is hosted by a wanker named Chris Jericho, whose credentials are that he’s a professional wrestler.
So, if you glory in the sufferings of other people and want to watch a studio and record label liquor up women and exploit them, this show is for you. You can watch full episodes here. Otherwise, the show premieres tonight on Fuse.
If you just want to support the music career of aspiring lesbian performers, you can come to my house and I’ll let you pay to watch me play “Rock Band.”