Warning: Soap Box Ahead!

By posting on this subject, I'm admitting that I watch American Idol with my kids...something I managed to avoid up until the last few episodes of last season. Because I actually enjoyed watching the final 12 contestants battle it out last season, I thought it would be kinda fun to watch this season with Kayla and Cole beginning with the first night. Like I said, Ithought it would be kinda fun and that's where my problem with American Idol lies...it wasn't just kinda fun, it was super fun! So, what's the problem?

I guess my problem with American Idol stems from a shortcoming I know about myself: I love to poke fun at people in ways that often poke a little too deep and can be hurtful. I know people are an easy target for humor because their oddities and quirks are obvious and easy to pick out and pick on. I've known this is something I need to work on for a LONG time, but since I kinda like it when people pick on me the same way, I have a hard time remembering that most people don't. The first two episodes of American Idol were a reminder!

Over the past two nights, my kids and I have spent FOUR hours laughing uncontrollably at the less talented and less attractive contestants. In fact, the goofier the contestant, the more air time they were given and the harder we laughed at them.

I must have said something like "Ahhh, this guy is really trying...I feel bad that they are making fun of him on television" a dozen times last night. But then I kept on laughing. These people aren't actors, they are just normal (or somewhat normal...) people hoping to catch a break. People, by the way, who have way more courage than I do.

But I have a problem with the fact that American Idol is getting huge ratings and huge dollars at their expense and is literally laughing all the way to the bank.

Of course, the real problem is that I'm laughing right along with them. The people at Fox don't know any better....but I should.


Eric said...

I agree with you, my wife loves the show and so I am forced to watch (although I tend to read and just have an ear on the tv). I think we try and justify our enjoyment of seeing others being humiliated by saying that they know they are bad and just want to get on tv, but honestly the ones who are on this season clearly do not have a clue that everyone is laughing AT them rather than WITH them. It is probably what makes it compelling to watch because we are trying to figure out if they are acting that way so they can get on tv or if they really think that they are talented. At least that is a reason you could use for getting so much enjoyment out of it.

Deneice said...

I agree. It's hard because I WANT to see the auditions and yet I know they purposely choose these people to see Paula, Randy and Simon because of the quirks/having a really bad voice/etc. For the first couple of seasons I only watched after "Hollywood Week," but then I jumped on the audition bandwagon.

Brian said...

I said the same thing a grip of times last night. I came home from youth group and it was being watched via DVR in my house. I can't believe they get away with pulling some people who obviously have a handicap or two up in front of the camera and make complete fools of them for a laugh. It's all of a sudden cool to make fun of those with disabilities. It's not just that they have quirky personalities, sometimes they are clearly not mentally healthy. I'm surprised the public in general hasn't cried foul too.

Scott said...

Do you think any of them are rigged these days? I'm wondering if they LOOK for people who are that horrible... or who try to be that horrible... just for people to make fun of. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but...
PS - We had fun watching The Office with Katie last night!

kurt Johnston said...

I do tend to think they try to look for the goofs to put on Television because there's no way those people would make it past the initial screening. Out of 17,000 people in a stadium, you gotta be pretty dang good to get into that room...unless you are so wacky you make for good television.

So, yes...I do think that part of it is probably rigged. But I think the message is still the same, even if those people are in on it: Make fun of the odd people.

I guess I don't feel so concerned for the acutal people because, again, I think they are probably in on it. I think my main concern as a parent was what I was teaching my young kids by rolling on the ground laughing at some dude with huge eyeballs!

Rhonda said...

Good word;
I'm convicted;
Thank you.

Courtney said...

I couldn't agree more. The worst it watching it with friends, I love to pause it when the more unattractive people are on there...to see how much more unattractive I can make them look by pausing at an awkward moment. It's gotten to be game we play. Just when I didn't think it could get worse!