Wednesday, February 22, 2006

We don't have cable because it is sinful. Ha ha! I'm kidding, I just wanted to freak you out.

We don't have cable because it costs $60 a month, and my husband feels (strongly) that the money would be better spent on other things. It's fine with me, because to make up for missing some of my favorite cable shows (Daily Show, Real World, Good Eats, E!True Hollywood Story, Inside the Actor's Studio, Evening at the Improv, Behind the Music, to name just a few...) he bought a roof-mounted rotating antenna. Due to its rotating capacity, we receive 16 channels.

Other than "Gilmore Girls", I don't have many (any) network shows I need to watch. (Yes, need!) None. Since we no longer have cable to love and waste valuable time with, I have had to find a new show to love, and I have. It's a little embarrassing to admit to, though. It's a reality show. See? I know. But, wait! Before you judge too harshly, let me say that you just wouldn't believe how absorbing it is until you've watched it for yourself. It's Wife Swap. In case you aren't familiar, or just aren't admitting to watching it yourself, I will explain the premise: Take two families, swap wives, watch the ensuing hilarity and strife. What a formula!

The first week, the wife lives by the house rules, but by the second week she makes her own rules to which everyone must adhere. It's high drama, let me tell you. The past shows have included a traditional southern family switching wives with a southern, yet environmentalist family. Oh yeah, talk about clash of the titans. Then there was rich Manhattan wife who switched with rural, two-job working wife; dairy farmer wife switched with southern belle, etc.

Yes, it's predictable; Yes, it's contrived; Yes, there are stereotypes galore; Yes, it's edited to within an inch of it's life to get the desired results! What do you want, it's reality tv? It's also GREAT.

Last night they aired a compact, ADD-viewer edition which summarized eight shows that had previously aired more than a year previous. There was a recap of the families, a quick summation of their experiences, and then an update on each family in the year since the swap.

What I love about the show is how these uncomfortable situations are created, and then people learn something new from it. That, and it's kind of fun to watch people squirm with irritation and for a complete lack of the ability to grasp another person's way of life.

Lessons learned are things like how to be less rigid, realizing the need to spend more time with their family, how to reduce the chaos, or whatever. Many times, the wives are thrilled just to be back with their family, and the families thrilled to have the wife back. Almost all the episodes induce some kind of trauma, and almost all are lifechanging experiences for those involve.

I just don't understand one thing: In one instance, a woman who was a cleaning fanatic was swapped into a family that had 22 pets roaming about the house at will. So there were several "accidents". But, they didn't show the accidents, they fuzzed them up. What for, I want to know? If you're talking about dog poop and then concentrate the camera on some fuzzy, dark pile on the floor, what are we supposed to do with that? We know it's dog poop. I don't think the showing of the dog poop will traumatize some poor dear thing watching the show. I mean really, it's not as if anybody's eating it. That's on that other reality show.

1 comment:

snowballinhell said...

My daughter calls this sort of show "Car wreck TV" because you don't want to watch it, but you catch it when you're channel-surfing and suddenly you can't look away.

Grey's Anatomy on Sunday nights. Good drama. Loads of fun. Much, much better than Car Wreck TV. Heh.

And I don't get the thing with not showing poo either. Come to think of it, we don't ever see poo on TV. Must think on this.