Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Brutally Honest Rant - 02/14/07

Brutally Honest Audio Rant: Single Heart Thoughts
Audio Transcripts

[Start Program]

(Computer – Introduction)
(Music intro – “American Idiot Remix” – by Green Day and David Matthews 2)

Good evening and welcome to this week’s Brutally Honest Rant. I’m David Matthews 2, writer of the weekly online column Brutally Honest.

As I’m recording tonight’s audio rant, it’s Valentine’s Day. A celebration which is about as foreign to me as honesty is to a member of Congress. Now I’m not saying that my social life sucks or anything, but I just found out that my name appears on the most eligible bachelors and I’m listed somewhere in the rankings between Flava-Flave and the one-eyed homeless troll that lives under the overpass that craps his pants when he sneezes.

You know, VH-1 wanted to do a reality series about my love life and try to hook me up with someone, except they discovered two things… first, they couldn’t find women who would be willing to date me without getting paid a million up front. They found it easier to just date Kid Rock, break up Nick Lashay’s relationships, and/or try out for the next season of “The Bachelor”. And second, every time they aired the pilot to a focus group, they all committed suicide before it ended. Not exactly an ideal situation.

Obviously I could go on all night with this sort of self-deprecating humor, but then I wouldn’t get what needs to be said out in the open… so let’s just get on with it. Besides I’ve got a better seasonal issue to bring up in the second half of this rant.

First up, though, is a modest proposal for television executives.

Once upon a time, a television year was 26 episodes. If your show was picked up, then you knew that you’d have at least 26 weeks to get the attention and support of the viewers. If you didn’t, then you found some other line of work, but at least for that year you got PAID. The only reason why your show would be cancelled back then would be if your show really REALLY SUCKED!

Now back then, there were only three network channels, cable was pretty much reserved for premium movies, and syndication was something that was experimented but not really fully utilized. If your TV show got picked up, it was indeed a rarity, because most of the TV ideas would never see the light of day.

Today, however, we’re dealing with FIVE network channels and all SORTS of syndication sources AND HUNDREDS of cable channels, all eager to provide viewers with something unique. Now you would think that having that many channels would give you more opportunity for a TV series to survive and thrive, but guess what? That’s just not the case!

Today’s television executives pretty much have an unrealistic expectation of programming. They DEMAND that any show they air be an instant success in whatever time period they set it for. And if it isn’t, then that show is pretty much on the endangered list, subject to rescheduling or cancellation at a moment’s notice. Many shows don’t even make it past the full 26 weeks. They’re replaced halfway through simply because they got beat out in their time slot.

The problem being some good shows take time to build up fan support. A lot of legendary shows like the original “Star Trek” series or “M*A*S*H*” or “Hill Street Blues” were not instant overnight success stories. They became success stories because the executives gave them time for people to like them. But that pretty much doesn’t happen nowadays.

In addition, over the past few years I’ve noticed a trend to break up the year into even smaller segments. Start a series in October, run it until maybe early December and then have a mini-finale to leave people hanging. Then come back with new material maybe in February or March, and then run that until the “official finale” in May.

And I say, okay, fine, if that’s the way you want to play that game, then why not just take it to the next logical step? Why not just go ahead and officially shorten the season?

Instead of offering 26 weeks and calling it a “season”, why not offer 13 weeks and call it a “sweep”? You do that right now with shows like “24” and reality series like “Survivor”. You run a big block of shows and then call that a “season”. Why not do that for the rest of your programs?

On the plus side, you can actually promote TWO seasons a year instead of having just one and a whole bunch of “mid-season replacements”. Plus you can actually GIVE those marginal programs the opportunity to build up fan support, which means dedicated viewers, or just let them run out at the end of the “sweep”.

Anyway, that’s just my idea and I really needed to get that one out in the open.

(Audio Clip – something about TV)

Okay, let’s get back to Valentine’s Day stuff, because there’s been a certain issue that’s been bubbling and brewing since the December break, and I can’t think of a better time to bring this up than on Valentine’s Day.

There’s a certain song that’s been out for a couple of months now that gets a lot of airtime here in Atlanta. It’s sung by Beyonce and it’s called “Irreplaceable”. And I don’t know about you, but I happen to find that song quite disturbing.

This is a song about a girl kicking out her boyfriend for cheating on her. Now, the boyfriend is not only a fool, but he’s an idiot to boot, because apparently she’s been paying for just about everything. He was caught fooling around in a car that SHE bought him, wearing clothes that SHE bought him, and probably using the cellphone that SHE paid for. And he’s thinking that he wouldn’t get caught? Who do you think is paying the bills in that relationship, jackass?

So she kicks him to the curb and tells him that anything he came into the relationship with is sitting in a box by the closet, but everything else – including the stuff she bought FOR him – is hers and he can’t touch it. And then the rest of the song is about how she doesn’t need him anyway and that he can be replaced in a heartbeat, and not only that, but he’s ALREADY being replaced, and he’s getting kicked out so she can free thing up so the new guy can come over.

And I’m hearing this and there are two things about this that REALLY bug me.

The first part is the upbeat tone that this takes in both the song and the video. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I liked seeing Beyonce move around in her bra and tight pants, but this is the kind of subject that is normally cold, cruel, vindictive, and accompanied by a lot of screaming and shouting. Instead it’s done in a perky upbeat pro-feminist “girl power” tone, even accompanied by an all-girl band. “I’m reclaiming my life Mmm-hmm!”

Now if this kind of perky song was done by someone like, say, Justin Timberlake, and the genders were flipped around, then it would be IMMEDIATELY branded as “HATE SPEECH” because it would “demean women”. It certainly wouldn’t get any airtime either on the radio or what few cable stations are left that actually air music videos. You know why? Because it sends “the wrong message”. Well what the hell kind of message that you’re sending with this song as is?

And second… what kind of relationship is that anyway? I mean, you have a lazy-ass loser living off the things his girlfriend is buying for him, who decides to cheat on her thinking that SHE would never notice. And you have her pretty much telling this “special guy” that he can be replaced at a moment’s notice. You have to wonder, is that the kind of attitude she had when they were in love? Was he telling her how great they were together and she was wondering what the Blue Book value was him?

Listen, folks, my social life may be more abysmal than that of the Elephant Man even AFTER he died, but let’s get brutally honest here… even I know that this kind of attitude expressed in Beyonce’s song is not a sign of a healthy relationship!

It’s one thing to be with a person even when they’re suffering some hard times or when they’re trying to make something of themselves. We hear about that kind of sacrifice pretty often. It’s another to simply leech off that person and take advantage of them. It’s equally destructive to have an attitude that says that even a leech can be replaced at a moment’s notice and then actually go through with that substitution!

And… here’s some food for thought… maybe it’s that kind of attitude expressed in Beyonce’s song that RESULTS in ending up with just a bunch of leeches in the first place! I mean, if all you’re looking for in a relationship is some decoration, and you treat that person as JUST a decoration that can be easily and quickly changed out, then don’t be surprised if they follow suit and treat you in the same manner.

Maybe it’s the ATTITUDE expressed in the song that really needs to be taken out “in the box to the left”.

(Computer – some timely and new stuff that you simply have to listen to appreciate)
(Fade Music In – “Mythodea” by Vangelis)

Okay, one more quick word… I’m sort of surprised that people are picking up on the whole anti-Valentine’s Day sentiment. I know I’m not the one who originated the idea, but at least I know I’m not the only one who feels the same way about this day.

I’m a little bothered, though, by seeing the greeting card companies picking up on it with their own “Anti-V-Day” section. Maybe they didn’t get the memo on this, but they’re part of the reason WHY there is a backlash against Valentine’s Day in the first place! They’re the ones that hyped up this day and turned it into the self-serving consumer-driven monstrosity that it is. I certainly wouldn’t want to reward them for creating this problem to begin with. That’s like causing a train wreck and then selling the bandages to the survivors.

Hey, I get the big picture here… the greeting card companies are looking to make some more money off our misery. Just don’t expect us to be stupid enough to fall for it.


Brutally Honest is a Get Brutal production, all opinions expressed are those of the commentator, and may or may not be shared by the online provider. This is David Matthews 2 saying good night, and I’ll speak with you soon!

(Fade out)
(Computer – Ending/“End of Recording”)

[End of program]

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