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Because it’s on television

John Poole
Vail CO, Colorado

Remember when reality television was as simple as throwing a group of young drama queens without jobs into a house in some random corner of the world and setting up a tripod with a camcorder? Or when you could have a couple of teams on a deserted island while throwing out the occasional immunity? Those were the days.

Life was simple, a cell phone was a privilege, and reality television was fun.

Reality TV has become excruciatingly painful. Mainly because it’s not reality TV anymore ” it’s celebriality TV. I recently tuned in for a delightful presentation of “Dancing with the Stars.” I remember hearing all the hype about this last year when Emmit Smith was shakin’ booty instead of shakin’ tacklers, but honestly, at the time I was afraid to watch. The whole thing was far too foreign to a mind that was entrenched with alliance strategies and immunity challenges. If it weren’t for Celebrity Jeopardy about 15 years ago, this whole thing may have never happened.



But unfortunately we can’t even blame a Canadian like Alex Trebek for bringing us “Dancing with the Stars.” That’s right, the British did it again ” just like they did with “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” “Who’s Line is it Anyway,” “The Office,” and yes, “American Idol.” Why are the British so much better at thinking up corny shows?

I would love to know who first decided that it would be more appealing to recognize a loser instead of a winner at the end of a program. “Survivor” or maybe it was that “Weakest Link” debacle, revolutionized the whole world. OK, maybe it was just the world of television, but regardless, the concept was the cotton gin of the industry. And even Eli Whitney would probably prefer to see a horrified and despondent loser than an elated winner ” as long as there was a post vote-off commentary, of course.



In any kind of friendly competition it makes sense to designate a winner at the end of the whole thing. This loser business takes it one step too far. What next? Maybe we can slowly vote kids out of their third-grade Halloween costume contests instead of just giving an extra couple Sweet Tarts to the kid dressed as a Rubik’s Cube. I’m sure the teachers would be much more tuned in. I would certainly sit through a few Frontier Airlines commercials to see some crying kid wearing a sheet with two cut-out holes.

So if you haven’t seen this newest miracle of modern television, I will say that it may be worth a shot. You can see professionals like Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson ” OK maybe not ” but you will catch pros like Maksim Chmerkovskiy (not a typo) and Edyta Sliwinska doing the Mambo and cha-cha.

While some of the “Stars” make hosts Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris look like human supernovas, overall the list of celebs isn’t too bad. Ian Ziering gives a proud representation of the 90210 crew. Maybe next year we can have a celebrity death match with Brenda, Dylan, and Brandon, a few high school dance phenoms from Beverly Hills and film on site at the Peach Pit.



Even though Billy Ray Cyrus looked like he would certainly end up with an achy breaky leg at the end of the whole thing, Clyde “The Can’t Quite Glide on the Dance Floor” Drexler takes the cake for the most awkward routine.

They’d have to get Dikembe Mutombo or Manute Bol out there to make the playing field even remotely even for Clyde.

It looks like we’re going to have to embrace this new phenomenon of celebriality television. George Costanza summed up the situation very well when he was asked why people would watch his co-produced show with Jerry Seinfeld that was about nothing:

“Because it’s on television.”

John Poole, an Eagle-Vail resident, writes a biweekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at poolejohn@gmail.com.


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