Blogs > In The Mix

Reporter Shaun Byron and Video Editor Andrew DuPont sound-off on whatever is on their minds, from politics to pop-culture, from movies to the main stream media. Local, national, world-wide? If it's in the media mix, these two are sure to have an opinion on it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

I have a bridge to sell you...

If you're a fan of reality TV, a part of you has to know there isn't that much reality left in it anymore. When there were just a few shows and they were in their early seasons, the concepts alone were enough to draw in people, but evetually the hook gets dull and they need something to sharpen it with.

I used to be a fan of Survivor. I admit the first few season really had me addicted. I even watched up through the "All-Stars" season. What made me finally give up (cold turkey, I might add) was hearing that the newest season would divide the "tribes" by race. That was it. The shark had been jumped. At that point it was clear the show was no longer about the contest and was about shock value and ratings.

Now the same thing is happening again to another long standing reality show: The Bachelor. The current season is scheduled to end this Monday, as this season's bachelor Jason must make "the hardest decision ever." Problem is... word has leaked there's nothing difficult about this decision at all, Jason has known who he wants to pick for a long time, but it only gets weirder.

I've heard through the series of tubes known as the internet that Jason decided a long time ago that wanted to propose to contestant Molly. However, on Monday's episode he is going to propose to the other final contestant... Melissa.

Confused? Well, apparently in an effort to give the audience "the most shocking finale" in bachelor history, Jason agreed to propose to Melissa and then dump her at the "After the Final Rose" show (which immediately follows the finale). The show's host has repeatedly promoted the show by saying this will be the first after-show without a studio audience out of "respect" for everyone involved. Now why would they think to do that? It's almost like they knew ahead of time what he was going to do...

So why do this?
1) It's never happened on the show before (+ ratings)
2) It gives them shock value (+ ratings)
3) It allows them to have a second "After the Final Rose" show a week later where he will almost certainly bring back Molly and propose to her there. (+ ratings)

If nothing else, this should hopefully garner some sympathy for Melissa. She's almost certainly an unwilling participant being forced onto an emotional rollercoaster for the sake of boosting a drab show's ratings. I doubt she would be in on it, as the thing they are almost certainly hoping to capture is genuine shock and heartbreak on camera. Nice huh? People will tune in to see though, that's for sure, and that's all the producers really care about. Kind of odd that Jason (who had his heart broken in the finale of last season's Bachelorette) would be okay with leading someone on like this, but then again ABC pays for his outfits, dates, travel expenses and even buys the engagement ring for him to use in the finale. At least we know he can act, because he certainly is good at pretending to be having a hard time deciding and not wanting to break someone's heart.

So IF all of this is true (and we'll know in just a few days if it is):

- ABC Wins because everyone will be "shocked" and their ratings will get a big boost.
- Jason wins because he gets to propose to the girl he wanted to all along with an insanely expensive ring he didn't have to pay for
- Melissa... well, she loses and the crap they are going to put her through for the sake of ratings is despicable. Maybe they'll offer to make her the next Bachelorette as a consolation prize for being their emotional guinea pig.

Are you shocked to learn that the Bachelor might be completely staged? If so, make me an offer on that bridge.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Should Conan grow up?

On his last night as host of Late Night, Conan O'Brien told his audience he's aware that critics are saying he needs to "grow up" before taking over the Tonight Show on June 1. Conan, however, said this isn't going to happen.

Quite frankly, it's shouldn't. Conan's success and humor come from his sometimes low-brow humor and "unrefined" style. It may not be Jay Leno, but who cares? If they wanted the host of the Tonight Show to act like that they should have extended Leno's contract. If Conan changed his ways to accommodate his new time slot, he would lose what made him this great to begin with.

Personally, I can't wait to see him take over the Tonight Show and I hope to see him be the same guy who has made me laugh for years.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Was Ledger's Oscar nod just out of sympathy?

First off, I think Heath Ledger did a fantastic job as the Joker.
He was frightening and almost unrecognizable as the mad clown prince of crime and perfect foil for the famous caped crusader.
All that said, I thought it was an Oscar winning performance.
Sure, I'm probably in the minority, but I don't think it was all that much of a stretch for someone with his talent to dive into a role like that.
The guy was a talented actor chewing on the scenery and did a damn good job at it.
How is that any different that what Johnny Depp did in any of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" flicks?
I would argue Ledger showed his Oscar winning acting chops in 2005's "Brokeback Mountain," not in "The Dark Knight."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Jessica Simpson fat? Who cares!

I was at the checkout at a pharmacy when I noticed not one but three celebrity magazines with the now famous picture of pop star Jessica Simpson in a pair of what can only be described as mom jeans.
These same magazines advertised scathing articles on what they say are lurid tales of her weight gain.
Seriously? Who cares!
Are we that hungry to tear people down when they pack on a few extra pounds?
She's not an athlete. She's a singer.
And personally, she didn't look like someone who was in need of medical attention due to excessive weight gain.
I guess I don't understand what it is about our society that makes the lifestyles of the rich and famous so fascinating.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

So Bale lost his temper

Christian Bale's angry tirade against the director of photography on the set of Terminator: Salvation has quickly become the hottest gossip item out there. The entire rant can be heard on YouTube along with a techno-remix. Interestingly enough, the story has people sharply divided on whether Bale had any business losing his temper with the guy in the first place. Just in case you haven't heard about it, Bale got upset because the DP was adjusting lights while they were filming a scene and was being distracting.

While I don't necessarily condone the extensive rant Bale went on, I completely understand why he did it. Though it may be hard to see justification in some of Bale's insults, they rang true to me. One of the most basic things I learned in film production was not to tinker with things while the camera is rolling. Wait until there is a cut. This was something you learn almost on Day 1. As parodied on the Colbert Report last night, this is the professional equivalent of walking in front of the camera. This guy was the director of photography, not a grip or production assistant. To get to that point, he must have worked for years in the business. To ignore this basic rule of on-set etiquette (numerous times if you believe some accounts) is extremely unprofessional and amateurish.

Bale didn't need to verbally destroy the guy like he did, but he most certainly had a good reason to upset with the man.

Phelps is human, should be treated like one

The world is now shocked... SHOCKED... to learn a 23-year-old college student has smoked pot. Since he won 8 gold medals for swimming, Michael Phelps is supposed to be different right? Yes and no. His recent fame does give him some added responsibility, and to his credit Phelps took responsibility for what he did and apologized almost instantaneously.

An apology is not really enough, but what else do they expect the guy to do? It's the responsibility of others to prosecute him (if' they're even going to try). Yeah, he should lose some of the 8 billion sponsor gigs he has gotten in the last 6 months, but that was something he probably should have cut back on anyway. I know he can swim really fast, but why should I care what internet service provider he uses?

During the Olympics the American media had a massive love-affair with Phelps, cutting away from other sports just to watch him stretch, showing features on how long his legs are. Phelps never seemed too comfortable with all the added attention, but he never turned away from it either. When the media has you under a magnifying glass, you really do need to watch every step you take. Now that he's made a mistake, the media seems quick to turn on him.

I'm not a religious person but perhaps the lesson in this for everyone is to avoid worshiping false idols. Humans make mistakes, building them up to be something above all that only leads to a fall from grace.