Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hollywood's Wall Street

Hollywood’s Wall Street? On Wall Street they found and continue to find ways to make unearthly sums of money at the expense of others, with no concern or regard for negative impact. People losing their jobs so stocks can rise, losing their homes so bundlers can score big. I’m sure that hedge funds have by now figured out a way to hedge the hog and somehow make money off of the swine flu.
Television producers have created a similar situation with what I call Hollywood’s Wall Street, a collection of so-called reality TV shows. These shows appeal to and reduce us to primitive instincts, while making record profits for unconscionable producers. They are so inexpensive to produce compared to an episodic series or sitcom. No sets, no actors to pay, no stars huge salaries and other demands to meet, which in Wall Street speak are nice derivatives. Run out of material? Never! Not as long as we keep watching.
To watch someone subjecting themselves to embarrassing levels of humiliation is quite a price for them to pay for a few minutes of fame, while lowering our collective level of intelligence, not to mention our youth being fed a super size diet of this utter garbage.
In ancient Rome they kept the masses in line with games at the local coliseum and amphitheaters. To illustrate the exaggerated state of these shows a few years back I was going to do a cooking show that never aired because as I was told at the time, get this, “NO! It’s about food and we no longer produce cooking shows that are about cooking or food.” I remember telling a good friend about this and said “if I pitched a show about two chefs that cooked naked in front of a live audience and with cleavers kept slicing off each other’s body parts until only one was left standing, then proceeded to cook the loser and serve him to the audience, they would of bought the show.” My friend was having a drink with someone in the business, he laughed and repeated my analogy; the other party did not laugh but sadly was contemplating the potential show’s content to the shock of my friend.
In 1987 there was a film that stared Arnold Schwarzenegger called “The Running Man.” Set in a post apocalyptic world, the government frames Arnold for a bloody massacre. He's given the option of staying in jail for life or participating in a "gladiator"-type game show that usually leads to death and enormous cheers from the spectators. He opts for the show, teaming with other contestants to survive the game and overthrow the corrupt system.
Today, there is a new show called “V” about what we assume are friendly aliens who have taken over our planet under the guise of helping mankind. A powerful resistance forms to encourage others not to succumb. Maybe we should combine both of these and overthrow a corrupt system with our resistance by not tuning in to Hollywood’s Wall Street.