Who knew there had been previous editions of Beauty and the Geek? I certainly didn’t. Nor could I have imagined that they took procedural bullshit to such undreamed-of heights.
“Ladies, you may wait in the viewing room, across the hall from this room, where you can watch your partners on a closed-circuit TV.”
“That’s the right answer, Chuck…now you have two correct answers, and your opponent only has one. That means you’re one correct answer ahead of him. Just two more correct answers, and you’ll have won, sending him and his partner home, and ensuring you and your partner still have a chance at a QUARTER…MILLION…DOLLARS…which is the prize offered on this silly show, of which I am the host, and which (bizarrely) is not over yet even though it’s been a full fifteen minutes since anything of consequence happened on it.”
I’m not watching this kind of crap any more. I’m really not. You know, there was a time when I watched Survivor, followed by The Apprentice. I was almost what you’d call dedicated to these shows, in fact. But that all changed when Survivor started to bore me. Because as soon as it started to bore me, The Apprentice did, too.
Because when you watch these shows, you’re really just looking for perhaps one, two, possibly three things to even happen. A little scheming and politicking on the part of the tribe/team members; maybe a confrontation, somebody getting on somebody’s nerves, someone being a jerk, being funny…really anything at all, just so long as it’s something; and the bit at the end where you see who’s the most hated or hateable. It isn’t at all like a drama or sitcom. There aren’t twenty jokes or four plot twists, half of which stick in some way. You’ve got like three things in an hour, that you root through all the tedious rehashing of procedure to get at.
And then you’ve got another show on immediately afterwards, again where you’re looking for three things.
But when Survivor stopped delivering its three, suddenly even if Trump came through in a big way, my event-witnessing average went down from three per hour, to one-and-a-half per hour. And if the Apprentice episode sucked, it went lower still. And I got really, really bored, so I stopped watching. I stopped watching, because eventually there was not enough for them to promise me, though they scoured the whole world for drama; after a certain point, they could never deliver enough to make up for the time I’d already wasted. Unless the Survivors all killed and ate Jeff Probst, or something. I’d tune in for that in a heartbeat.
An astute friend of mine has encouraged me to call these endless check-raises “the Yu-Gi-Oh! Syndrome” — perhaps you’ve seen this show?
“But wait, Yugi…you thought you were screwed before, but now I use this extra-special card to get rid of all these monsters that would totally and beyond doubt have kicked your ass, to exchange them for this even bigger monster that will kick your ass even harder! Scared yet? You don’t know the half of it, though…because now I’ll play this extra-EXTRA special card, and summon another monster that will sit inside the first monster’s mouth…so that when the first monster bites you, that’ll be bad, but then the second monster will bite you again, on the bite, and then that’ll really be painful! HAHAHAHA! But even that’s too good for you, so now I’ll play this other card, that makes the monster really smelly…”
And so on and so forth, and then just when you’re least expecting it the sixteenth blade comes out of nowhere and shaves you that much closer, and then commercial. And then Yugi spends the next ten minutes laboriously drawing the one card that can save him…
And then the episode’s over.
Actually, I love Yu-Gi-Oh!, I swear to God I do. Yu-Gi-Oh! gets a pass.
But everything else goes into the evacuation chamber, or whatever they’re calling it these days. And there you can fight for me, endless-raise programs and comic books! Fight for my love!
Draw that one card, I dare you!