Friday, May 4, 2007

Reality Shows are Tickets to Nowhere

So in some tragic misfortune of my life, Britain has decided to export all of its (quasi-)major celebrities over to our shores. International footballer and English bum David Beckham signed a contract to move him away from Real Madrid in Spain to play in Los Angeles for up to 250 million dollars in soccer pay and advertising revenue. This means that we also have to confront the size zero tornado of one Victoria Beckham, better known to the American population as Posh Spice. You know, one of the Spice Girls.

Without getting any legitimate fan fare (read: getting people to actually give a flying shit about them), the Beckhams have been thrust upon America. Constant reporting on Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, and E!. The major gossip raps (US Weekly, Life & Style, etc.) are all over every move the two of them make. I should correct that as it is really only one of them: Posh. She lives the most boring existence of all time. She shops. She goes out to things with the hubby. She jetsets. Is that worthy of a reality show? I mean, you could follow David, but that wouldn't really matter either. David Beckham plays soccer. Soccer is not a mainstream sport in America. I understand that soccer is trying to boost its image by bringing in an international superstar on the tail end of his "illustrious" career* like was done with Argentine great Diego Maradona, but, by thinking like this, this experiment with the MLS won't work. It's going to be trying to get people to actually care about a guy who is not even on the top of his form, who is literally playing in America for the exposure and the money. He's showing a more advanced, but lower quality form of the beautiful game. Puts him right on par with the MLS. But, him and Victoria are only one group of Brits trying to win the hearts and minds of the American gossip/celebrity consumers.

Another group of Brits that are trying to gain such fans is Peter and Jordan. To show you how much that I care about Peter, he has a last name. I could easily google it and look it up, but I'm not going to because I don't care that much. I only know who Jordan is from my days of reading the lad magazines in high school (All I read was magazines in high school), but I'm not really clear on what she actually does. Her full name is Katie Price and her breasts are as fake as Joan River's face. I know she models, but that's about it.

These two people have less street cred than the Beckhams, who have very little of their own even though Victoria keeps flashing her nips to the paparazzi. But, regardless of their celebrity, or lack thereof, in America, Peter and Katie have a reality show on E!. They wear matching jumpsuits and looked very merry. It reminds me of Lisa Loeb's old reality show in the fact that the more you watch them on the show, the sorrier you feel for them. I felt for Lisa, but watching her on her show was insufferable. The same goes for Peter and Katie. They are all very nice people, but the reality show is not a good format for them.

But, larger than that, I hope that these attempts to build the fame of moderately famous people in other countries will teach producers a lesson. Celebrity cannot be foisted upon the American public. It is generated by the public itself. I'm not going to argue and say that Newlyweds, which is clearly the inspiration for Peter and Katie's show, is a good show or anything, but it developed stars out of Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey because we all know their music wasn't going to do it. The benefit was that both of them already had basis in our society. Both of them were played in heavy rotation on the radio for a couple of years, enough so that people know who they were. The reality show was built out of a groundswell and their willingness to participate. This is not the case with the Brits coming to America; they haven't gained the clout that they need to be a respectable member of celebrity culture to make a reality show a compelling watch. Since they don't have that sort of standing, I'm going to say that these reality shows are, in fact, an affront to America.

The reality shows of these Brits are a typical imperialist way to present themselves to an American audience that will go "who?" upon first watch and probably will be too bored to continue on watching for the full...episode. But, I must admit, it is bold of these people to come over to America and impose their presence upon us. They are returning to the role that they maintained in America starting in 1607 with the Jamestown colony in Virginia. Now, I'm not calling these modern groups racist or anything, but I am saying that they are imposing their will upon a friendly but skeptical community. But, unlike the Jamestown settlers, Victoria Beckham isn't going to be walking around killing Native Americans, but the Natives are hip to the game this time and aren't going to be so sympathetic to the Brits.

*I say illustrous in quotes because he actually has been a very successful player, leading Manchester United to a Treble back in 1999. He's immensely talented, but he plays in England. England hasn't won the World Cup for a very long time. Beckham was supposed to be the missing piece. He hasn't turned out to be that. He's approaching great status, but he's not there yet because he can't add this one piece to his resume. Well, to be fully truthful, he would also have needed to be successful in Europe for the last couple of years, which he hasn't. So, like Maradona and Beckinbauer previous, Beckham's on the down side of his career, showing his true reasons for coming to America instead of saying them.