Thursday, April 17, 2008

American Idol

I’ve become a less patient, less forgiving TV viewer as I grow older. There are simply too many other ways to entertain oneself to allow yourself to remain loyal to a program which has, for one reason or another, lost or squandered your trust.

This list of currently running shows that I used to like but which I am no longer watching seems to grow longer every month. I have broken ties with these shows and have no desire to reconnect (even when I am told, by critics or whomever, that they’ve gotten better and/or “returned to form”)…however “unfair” it might seem, once you’ve lost me you’ve probably lost me for good.

Lost is one show which has indeed…um…lost me, for example (it got to have too much nonsense, too many pointless new characters, and too many annoying, seemingly purposefully-frustrating teases.) Other former TV viewing flames that I’ve broken up with include Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives (both got way too silly and way too soapy for me) as well as Survivor and The Amazing Race (both of which suffered from a tired, overly-familiar formulas…once you’ve been to the well a few times there’s really nothing new to discover… and bad casting…which is, of course, the kiss of death for a “reality” show.)

As I slough through the current season I beginning to seriously feel that American Idol is about to join the list.

I used to really enjoy Idol…it was a show where talent was the key (more or less) and where there was a real opportunity to be part of the discovery of a potentially great new talent. As a fan of both pop music and television, it was something of a thrill to watch precociously talented singers…Kelly, Tamyra, Ruben, Clay, Kimberley, Fantasia, Diana, Bo, and Carrie among others…soar and stumble on their way to the finals.

But this season has been so relentlessly un-engaging that I’m not feeling any magic from the show. The judges aren’t even pretending to seriously involved in what’s going on and instead have become chariatures (Randy babbles hipster nonsense, Paula babbles about how wonderful and good looking the contestants are, and Simon sits there waiting to throw out a “witty” zingers.) Ryan Seacrest has allowed himself to be turned into a grinning, insincere sadist gleefully jerking around the contestants in the name of “suspense” and ratings. And the producers’ ideas of keeping things fresh include a barrage of overlong results shows, a soulless new set, and an exceedingly tiresome call-in segment.

And the contestants (see top 8 above, Michael and Kristy have been voted off), though most of them have had moments during the course of the season, are simply not that interesting. They’re all talented…to one degree or another…but none of them is making me long to buy a CD or a concert ticket from them.

And not being engaged in the season, I have no idea who’s going to win…and I don’t really care. David Archuleta was the early favorite but it seems like David Cook is now he one to beat (though, like Chris Daughtry and Elliott Yamin before him, he might be better served by NOT winning rather than having to try sell some producer-endorsed treacle like “This is my Now”.)

Maybe what Idol needs is to take some time off…let absence make the heart grow fonder…but, of course, they’re not going to do that as long as it continues to be a cash cow (which, despite sliding viewership, it still is.)

Or maybe Idol’s time is just done…if not for the public at least for this one impatient and unforgiving one-time fan. As they say here on the interweb, your mileage may vary :-)


Anonymous said...

nobody is forcing you do like this show.. honestly, usually if people dont like a TV show, they just stop watching and writing about it. they dont write a long blog message about it. no offence. and the judges did an amazing job at picking the top 24 this year. after the sanjaya fiasco they needed good people this year to make sure the show becomes credible again.

Michael K. Willis said...

And nobody forced you to read the post and leave an anonymous reply to it. It's my blog and what I decide to write about is subject only to what I decide to share on it.
If you think the show is more credible, that's cool. I respect that...I don't agree with it but I respect it. As I said "your mileage may vary."

Michael K. Willis

2swseetnsaxy said...

Wow. I don't understand Anonyous' reply because you are completely entitled to your opinion.

I feel you on losing interest in t.v. shows. I like American Idol but I feel you in that I'm not being wowed either. I don't like that they drag out for an hour what should take ten minutes. I love the American Idol gives back.

There are only 2 shows I watch regularly. One is American Idol and the other is America's Next Top Model (I love watching the photo shoots). I can never remember when Grey's Anatomy comes on and Desperate Housewives lost me a long time ago.

Maybe it is age but I miss the days when there were "good" shows on t.v.

CAROLYN said...

I agree w/you Michael. The only reality show I'm loyally watching is Dancing With The Stars. I find it far more entertaining and "real" than the others.