Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Are we dumber than Ryan Seacrest?*

So last night I'm allowing myself some guilty pleasure, watching Seacrest's latest opus, Momma's Boys. (If you haven't seen it, or the ads for it, think: The Bachelor with three annoying, wheedling and sometimes-racist mothers hovering nearby, micromanaging the romance.) And all show longthis is a two-hour show, mind youI'm thinking about how, were I one of the Oedipal young men, I would not be gravitating to all the Barbie-haired, boob-jobbed blondes, or the flashy, stylin' black chicks.

Rather, I'd been drawn to the shy, retiring, bookish-looking one
, identified to the viewing public as Megan Albertusand ostensibly the only girl who came to the show with the modest breasts the good lord gave her.

Megan was presented to us as the last of a dying breed in today's era of the hook-up, a virginal femi-nerd and "pet caretaker" by trade. She cleans and "straightens up" obsessively, seems totally maladroit around the boys
even around the girlsand says that no one has ever really loved her, picked her for anything, etc. It's clear that Megan, despite being just the pertest, sweetest thing, is on the bubble from the gitgo because she has zero sex appeal, especially measured against the teeming sea of decolletage in which she's been dropped. And indeed, towards the end of the night's episode we learn that she has been summoned to the poolthat being the central conceit in this show, the defining moment where girls get one last chance to make an impression on the boys, thus saving themselves from the shattering ignominy of being rejected by someone you just met, oh, 20 minutes ago.

However, befor
e this happens here, before Megan must face her personal moment of truthshe undergoes a transformation. The other girls get together and, in a burst of gender charity, decide they're going to show the boys what they're missing by turning this caterpillar into a butterfly: They're going to give Megan a top-to-bottom makeover that converts her into a total, eat-your-heart-out babe. So she goes to the pool looking like a knockout, the boys are duly knocked out, and they give her another chance...but...what's this??...she doesn't take it! That's right. In the show's climactic action, as jaws drop on the set and across America, Megan, in a long and tearful soliloquy, gives up her spot and voluntarily goes home, so that the last girl who'd been summoned to the pool (and who therefore would've been booted) gets to stay instead. "She deserves it more," Megan says through her sobs, with typical selflessness. I do realize that reading this now, the whole thing probably sounds pretty silly, but at the time it was quite touching and had everyone in tears. If you didn't love Our Megan before, you loved her now.

Except...

I'd already started getting a bit antsy during the transformation scene. It struck me as cliched, porn-plottish (a la "the frumpy librarian who lets down her hair and, next thing you know...") After the show I got to wondering if Megan was actually who she appeared to be
and indeed if, by extension, the show was what it appeared to be. Lo and behold, a few seconds on Google led me to IMDB, where it appears that Megan Albertus is an actress. Not just that, mind you, but one of her few listed movie roles was in a 2007 film called A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, where she played "bikini girl." She also has a MySpace page where she appears anything but wallflowery. One of the posts is titled "Megan's Drunken Christmas and Epically Bad New Year." There is no mention of pet caretaking (though she apparently did serve as an "animal caretaker" for a 2006 Cuba Gooding Jr. vehicle, End Game). She lives in West Hollywood and has 545 MySpace friends. That's her above, shown on IMDB; it's also how she basically looked last night, post-metamorphosis.

I realize that you don't watch reality television expecting genuine what's-gonna-happen-next? drama at the level of the O.J. Simpson trial. Still, isn't there some shared understanding that a reality show should be, at some level, real? That you can at least trust the premise and the fact that what evolves, evolves naturally? (Though it's not quite the same, isn't this related to what got everybody in so much trouble back in the Quiz Show era?) How caught up can we get in the intrigue if we begin to suspect that the whole thing is scripted, and that each character plays a carefully crafted part during our journey to an ending that's already been written? Midway through last night's show, for example, all of the participants, girls and boys, were forced to undergo a challenging physical-fitness gauntlet, and one of the boys simply broke down. So poor was his physical condition that he had to be taken by ambulance to a local hospital. And now I'm wondering, was that real?

I'm very disappointed, Ryan. Very.

P.S. She (meaning Megan) also strongly implies on her MySpace page that she smokes dope. That's not an indictment of smoking dope, per se. I'm just sayin'.

* an allusion to another popular reality show, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

No offense, Steve, but this is par for the course in reality shows, and probably has been since The Real World first aired in 1991.

Editors will put together footage from different filming times (that's why they hate it when contestants cut their hair mid-show), construct plot lines that never existed, and overdub scenes with other dialog.

The fun of reality TV is not that it's unscripted - because it isn't, of course. The fun is seeing the random unguarded moments when the facade falls and you get to see just how bizarre everyday people are.

I refer you to the opening episode of the "Flavor of Love" show, where one of the female contestants, nervous or tired of waiting while all the women were being addressed by Flava Flav, simply crapped on the floor.

Metaphor for the reality TV industry? Just plain fun? Who knows! That's entertainment!

Steve Salerno said...

I'm expecting a fair amount of comment here, so I'll reserve most of my reaction for later. I know you think me woefully naive, Anon, but I still maintain that there are certain lines that shouldn't be crossed. For example, Jeopardy is in essence a "reality show"--all quiz shows are--and yet, as per my parenthetical comment about the Redford film, I think people (and certain law-enforcement agencies) might be upset to learn that producers were supplying all the winning answers to Ken Jennings. (I'm not saying that happened! Just using it as an example.)

Elizabeth said...

Steve, I stumbled upon that "climactic" scene last night as well, purely by accident,* and watched it, with my boys (no mamma's boys, they) and our collective jaws on the floor -- between bursts of maniacal laughter.
It was so pathetically over the top that the only "reality" there was our sense of embarrassment over its accidental witnessing.

*I was waiting for my nteenth rerun of "Law and Order." Sigh.

I.Hate.Reality.TV. I really do. Never watch it. I have enough problems with reality as is to immerse myself in its ersatz version on steroids. It's the equivalent of pre-pre-processed food, almost completely fake and totally indigestible. Bad for you.

One thing is certain (see, there are some certain things in life :)): nothing that ever happens on those shows should be taken seriously and at face value.

Elizabeth said...

I've just caught this, Steve:

That's not an indictment of smoking dope, per se. I'm just sayin'.

LOL... So what exactly are you sayin'? :)

(I know, I know! Don't have to answer, I've just thought this is funny, the standard "Not that there is anything wrong with that!" disclaimer.:)

Elizabeth said...

The fun is seeing the random unguarded moments when the facade falls and you get to see just how bizarre everyday people are.

Anon, I think you've summed it up well here. That indeed seems to be "the fun" in the genre. But I also think that this bizarreness is a function and a result of people being placed in the hyper-reality with its bizarre and unreal demands created, purposely, by the producers. It's almost (but not exactly) like having fun watching, say, prisoners and guards of Abu Ghraib, for example, subjected to extreme and humiliating situations, and responding in bizarre ways to bizarre and dehumanizing circumstances. I know this is an extreme comparison, but I use it on purpose to illustrate the sense of sadness, embarrassment and overall discomfort (and sometimes outrage) I experience when exposed to "reality" TV. Those feelings are also part of "the fun" here, and also fully intended by the producers. "Reality" TV has nothing to do with reality, IMO, but everything with crass and extreme emotional manipulation.

Steve Salerno said...

Eliz: I'm sayin' that one does not get the sense--from her persona on the show--that she's the kind of girl who, when she isn't making bikini films, spends her free time smoking dope with her 545 friends. So it's not an indictment (or endorsement) of smoking dope "per se." It's a comment on the way the show manipulates our image of her.

a/good/lysstener said...

It still makes me FURIOUS as a young woman that the format of these shows is these ditzy women showing up in a cattle call to compete for these three guys, who are "OK" at best and at least two of which seem a little gay to me. Whether these shows are really real or not, why do we debase ourselves this way?

Anonymous said...

Whether these shows are really real or not, why do we debase ourselves this way?

Well, you and I don't, obviously because we have a bit more common sense.
Steve, just a suggestion, maybe you need to get out more and not expect to see any semblance of reality on a show that is entertainment billed as reality.
Actresses scramble to get exposure on these shows, it's considered a good career move for the minimally talented. It's people selling themselves, bread and circuses for the keeping the masses quiet.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I do not own a television. Whenever I read stuff like this, I am so much happier about my choice. Your IQ must get lowered by watching this emotionally manipulative drivel.

sassy sasha said...

lys, you go girl!! when i get my show it'll be 30 guys and me & if i feel like it i'll wait for the grande finale and tell them *all* to f*** off!

Elizabeth said...

it's considered a good career move for the minimally talented

Indeed, didn't Elisabeth Hasselback get her career launched on a reality show?

Elizabeth said...

(Don't post it, necessarily, or do if you want to, but...)

I really like this post of yours, Steve -- the first part, with its almost nail-biting and ironic suspense of recapping Megan's journey, and then the dramatic let-down with your gradual but merciless uncovering of her true identity -- it's a great read, overall. (Sounds like there is another true crime/mystery novel -- or more -- in you.:)

I'm going to share it with my boys today for an added perspective on our yesterday's jaw-dropping experience with unreality of TV.

And I do agree that it is in-your-face outrageous, in a way, that our poor femi-nerdish Megan is, in reality, a drug-using bikini actress, no less. Fer godssakes, it's a grave insult to all of us femi-nerds! ;)

But, really, what do we expect from Ryan Seacrest and his ilk? And "American Idol" is just a couple of weeks away, with its own sad and semi-sadistic parade of real and pretend misfits exploited for the viewers' pleasure. Get your popcorn ready.

Cal said...

I heard some of the same things that Anon wrote about. I even heard that some of the catfights on these shows are either scripted or somehow encouraged.

Also, many of these shows have been in the news for not doing any kind of serious background checks on cast members. Some of the participants (of both sexes) have had police records for various offenses (harassment, stalking, drunk driving, shoplifting, etc.).

I know the Real World had a recurring theme for a while where every season the cast had either one or two black members, and it was totally predictable that by the third or fourth episode there was going to be one of the black people (usually a guy) saying that one or more of the other non-black members was a racist. It was like clockwork.

I also remember where Walter Scott wrote in an answer to a question in Parade Magazine about reality shows that they were heavily scripted...FWIW

Elizabeth said...

(LOL) Here is a sample of viewers' comments from the "Momma's Boys" site:

I think Megan is amazing girl. What she did on the show is pure heart. She is so innocent that capture everyone's heart. I hope she can come back to the show again. I think she is adorable and rare girl. Watching her did an-unselfish thing like that make me want to be a better person. Best wishes to you Megan. Be more confident with yourself.
Judy
December 24 - 9:17am PT


Megan, so sweet, innocent, pure, a beautiful angel. NBC should seriously consider helping her become stronger emotionally, and when and if she think shes ready, build a show around her!
David
December 24 - 12:26am PT


Reality bites.

Steve Salerno said...

See, Eliz, this is exactly what I mean. I'm going to post about this again maybe Friday, but this whole idea of presenting something as reality--"truth"--and manipulating viewers that way, it troubles me. And it isn't entirely innocent and/or devoid of financial implications, either. These shows are paid for by advertising, which, in prime time, generates billions (industrywide) in revenues. When there is that much money at stake--and people are being purposely misled--I don't know. I'm not quite sure where I'm going with this, but it bothers me.

Elizabeth said...

This is a slightly edited version of an e-mail I sent to Steve off-blog. He encouraged me to post on-blog, so here it comes (if need be, blame Steve;).

"Momma's Boys" is a gift that keeps on giving -- see the contestants' bios. Lotsa unintentional humor there. For example, here is one Michelle Kopasz (you *must* see her picture http://tinyurl.com/a8s8dt), who says this about herself (interspersed with my acrid commentary):

During high school and college I was active in sports and fitness. I turned out to be a huge success on the volleyball court, earning a full athletic scholarship.

See her pic to understand how huge that volleyball success was.

I attended the University of Houston to pursue a career in broadcast journalism. Throughout my college years, I was able to utilize my stellar personality to sell homes throughout the Houston area.

As above. That stellar personality is clearly in-your-face. (BTW, *stellar* personality? What is that? A star is born?)

Additionally, I used my talents and acquired an internship at Houston's #1 Top 40 morning show.

She *used* her talents to acquire the internship...? How exactly? (Don't tell!)

Producers thought highly of my talents and had me record various radio commercials. That led to me as a featured on-air personality.

Split* personality but stellar, of course.

I am the spokesmodel for the Walter Umphrey Cancer Center in Beaumont, Texas and an online realty company.

A spokesmodel for a *cancer* center...? Again, what exactly is that, esp. the modeling part? And what a range, a cancer center *and* an online realty company.

I also have several television commercials in my repertoire. I will be featured in the 2009 Health & Fitness Calendar as well as the 2009 Premiere Swimsuit Calendar. Recently, I filmed my first independent film, "Doublespeak."

Er... ;)

My dream is to become an entertainment news reporter. I am ready to take on any successful opportunity that comes my way. My ease with the camera, keen broadcasting skills, charm, and outgoing personality (as well as my striking looks), will tantalize any audience!

She is ready to tantalize, no doubt. Outgoing and striking, both. Wear sunglasses, or better yet, goggles, and watch out, aaah!

Alright, it's just too funny. And that's how stupid the reality shows are. But, you know, I just realized that what this girl is doing is exactly what the society demands of her (and everyone else): pimping herself out.

This kind of a resume, with minor variations (if any) is what American companies, schools, etc. require and look for, that "winning spirit," underscoring and puffing up of one's strengths and accomplishments, no matter how trivial or questionable they may be (sometimes the more questionable, the better, I think); that "can-do" attitude which suggests one will trample on others if necessary and go for the kill no matter what; the whole shameless write-up that screams "Pick ME!!" And big boobs help, if you are a woman. But men face the same pressures, sans the physical attributes (though those matter too, I hear). So in this respect at least, this is reality as we know it.

Yikes. No wonder I'm maladjusted to America. Obviously I have none of the necessary parts and the "can-do" spirit "makes me vomit," to quote that line from the Brodsky's poem.

*Credit for that one goes to one Stephen Salerno. :)

Elizabeth said...

P.S. "David" -- of Megan so-sweet-pure-innocent-angel comment -- apparently wised up fast:

I made a terrible mistake. She is a fake. It was all a act. Type her name in on IMDb.com Megan Albertus and you'll see the truth. We we're all played on this one!
David
December 24 - 1:11am PT

Elizabeth said...

This is completely off-topic, but relevant, IMO, to our recurring debates here (and the subject of SHAM as well).

Spirituality Spot Found in Brain

Robin Nixon
Special to LiveScience
Wed Dec 24, 9:19 am ET

What makes us feel spiritual? It could be the quieting of a small area in our brains, a new study suggests.

The area in question - the right parietal lobe - is responsible for defining "Me," said researcher Brick Johnstone of Missouri University. It generates self-criticism, he said, and guides us through physical and social terrains by constantly updating our self-knowledge: my hand, my cocktail, my witty conversation skills, my new love interest ...

People with less active Me-Definers are more likely to lead spiritual lives, reports the study in the current issue of the journal Zygon.


(...)

The finding suggests that one core tenant of spiritual experience is selflessness, said Johnstone, adding that he hopes the study "will help people think about spirituality in more specific ways."

Spiritual outlooks have long been associated with better mental and physical health. These benefits, Johnstone speculated, may stem from being focused less on one's self and more on others - a natural consequence of turning down the volume on the Me-Definer.

In addition to religious practices, other behaviors and experiences are known to hush the Definer of Me. Appreciation of art or nature can quiet it, Johnstone said, pointing out that people talk of "losing themselves" in a particularly beautiful song. Love, and even charity work, can also soften the boundaries of "Me," he said.

The greatest silencing of the Me-Definer likely happens in the deepest states of meditation or prayer, said Johnstone, when practitioners describe feeling seamless with the entire universe.
That is, the highest point of spiritual experience occurs when "Me" completely loses its definition.


Full text:
http://tinyurl.com/7r4sge

Merry Christmas (and/or happy holidays) to all!

P.S. We Poles celebrate Xmas Eve, so I'm off now. (And not a moment too soon. ;))

Anonymous said...

'Recently, I filmed my first independent film, "Doublespeak."'

Beyond irony.

Reality television is cheap as chips to produce when compared to any other drama or current affairs show, which goes some way to explaining the proliferation of this type of output.
Most reality shows are designed to produce the kind of conflicts and breakdowns that make these compulsive viewing, it's car-crash TV--there are always a few psychologists on hand to advise on how to engineer these crashes.
The contestants/performers are psychologically screened to weed out anyone too sensible--that would be boring viewing and would defeat the purpose.

Manipulative? totally. But also a reflection on the reality of us. These shows would not get made if there wasn't a massive audience lapping this stuff up.

I'm human and occasionally watch, I don't like myself for doing it but it is compulsive viewing.

I don't see this as a self-help problem, I see it as sales technique massively overused. Elizabeth's email of the CV shows that the actress has completely bought into this realm of distortion and doublespeak that often passes for reality. Soon she will be believing her own hype.

I'm quite an old femi-nerd with little interest in sales but lately I've been studying sales techniques simply because they are so successful--on all of us--and knowing when I am being manipulated is helpful in knowing what to avoid.

Steve, I know you are not a fan but Transactional Analysis gives the simplest and clearest explanation and model of how this is done, all the time, in real life.
Useful and educational self help.

Stever Robbins said...

I will not dignify this post with a comment from me. The entire thing is, I suspect, simply a pre-scripted dialog between a hypothetical author ("Steve Salerno," like we're supposed to believe that's a real name!?!?) and a bunch of people posting on a bulletin board.

If this isn't a setup for a scam, I don't know what is.

[Ed note: Murray, please scratch the word "hypothetical" above and put, "fictional." Don't you know the differ... oh, forget it. Just make the change before posting. And why not use that "Stever" persona to do the posting. It'll make people wonder what he's doing on the Internet on Christmas eve. Thanks.]

Anonymous said...

Steve, maybe I'm just stupid but I have to say I was SHOCKED to find out Megan wasn't who she appeared to be. That whole "Megan thing" was at least half the plot of the whole first show! Then they drag the poor girl out to the pool and go through that dramatic scene where she graciously gives up her spot out of the goodness of her heart. And now the whole thing was FAKE.

I am actually pretty angry about this and am writing to the show. I can't really thank you for bringing this to light because it ruined the show for me. At the same time I hate to feel like people are toying with my emotions in this manner. Shame on you Ryan Seacrest!

And having said all that, Merry Christmas!

Steve Salerno said...

Anon 10:46, that's my point in a nutshell. I see two ways to look at this: If you know going in that it's a big charade--then what's the point of watching it (especially if you're watching it as "reality TV")? On the other hand, if you don't know going in that it's a big charade--now, the producers have to realize that in today's world, this is all going to come to light before very long--so then you end up feeling like a fool. Either way, I'd think it leaves a bad taste in people's mouths, and probably will cause a lot of viewers who were watching the first couple of shows to skip the remainder of the series. Certainly that's what I'll be doing.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Elizabeth, this is a nice post, Steve. Destined to be a SHAMblog classic. The issue of fake reality TV may not be about self-help, but it is definitely a part of SHAMscape.

Merry Christmas.

Steve Salerno said...

Anon, I'm tempted to say "SHAMblog classic" is probably an oxymoron--but it's Christmas, so I'll be gracious about it and take the compliment in the spirit with which you offer it. Thank you very much.

You shouldn't be so quick to assume that "fake reality" is that far removed from the world of self-help; in fact, it may well be a central theme in SHAMland.

Elizabeth said...

Hey, don't be so modest, Steve, regular SHAMbloggers can easily come up with the classic cannon in the genre (your Valentine's Day special, for one, comes immediately to my mind as an example :).

If I'm not mistaken, I think the last Anon referred to the previous Anon's comment ("I don't see this as a self-help problem") in his/her fake reality contrast there. (Correct me if I'm wrong, please.)

The issue of fake reality TV is disturbing, the more I think about it. Where is the "truth in advertising" here, for one? And when one reads those viewers' comments, the deception seems downright cruel, no matter how cynical we may be about human gullibility and such. Take this woman's comment, "Watching (Megan) did an-unselfish thing like that make me want to be a better person."

So what does learning that she is a total fake, and the whole reality part of the show a scam, make her want to do? (Other than write an outraged letter to the producers, something well deserved, IMO.)

Elizabeth said...

"Stever" -- funny!

Boy, you've figured us out. We -- and that includes you, whether you are willing to admit it or not -- are all figments of one person's imagination, that "Steve Salerno" guy, whoever he may be. And I, for one, the figmented "Elizabeth," have known for a while that this "Stever" guy is a fake (i.e. one of us). That boyish innocent face just does not jibe with the thoughtful comments the character posts. (Or "posts.") And don't even get me started on the Dimension Skipper dude!*

Reality shmearality. C'mon, why do you think this is called SHAMblog, huh?

* Memo to "Steve Salerno:" you gotta to do a better job with those pics, man!

Anonymous said...

Even more treble gorgeous in that photo!

Steve Salerno said...

I have to admit, I'm not entirely sure what we're talking about anymore. But it's entertaining.

Elizabeth said...

LOL, I'm not sure either, but if it helps any, my last post was written with a tongue firmly in cheek. (Or was it really my foot... I seem to get these two confused from time to time.;)

Megan Albertus said...

Hello, it's Megan from "Momma's Boys" and I would like to thank you for your interest in the program, regardless of your opinion of it or me. Several folks like you have made me realize that I need to start developing some thicker skin, as I never anticipated such a backlash.

I was never anyone but myself. I wish I could claim to be infinitely cooler in person, but I'm not. I would rather be the girl you portray me as, but it's just not the case. I'm an awkward, nervous sort of gal who is never comfortable in her own skin. I became an actress to lose myself in roles, and I had great trepidation about revealing me.

That being said, No one is ever as one-dimensional as they are portrayed on television and most intelligent people are aware of that fact when tuning in. I have a filthy sense of humor and swear enough to make a sailor blush, but you'll probably not see any footage of that! Those traits are as much a genuine part of of me as my lack of experience with the fellas and my compulsive cleaning habit. There are hours of tape that show my goofy/more profane side, but editors danced around that and did what they're paid to do- manipulate footage.

Reality shows try to create characters. Programs such as this identify certain traits in contestants and play up those aspects of their personality. What you did in your article was no different. Why you elected to paint an even more one-sided picture of me than editors did hurts and perplexes. I was not part of some sinister plot to fool you! Each and every one of those things is a genuine characteristic of mine. I am not responsible for what was divulged about me on the program and what wasn't. I gave them pure unadulterated Megan footage and what you saw was what NBC wanted you to.

Furthermore, you obviously didn't delve deep enough into my myspace or facebook profiles or you would have see that I have listed the animal rescue organizations I am actively involved with (pictures too)! Finally and most importantly- you may doubt the motivation behind my participation, but don't ever doubt the veracity of my commitment to helping animals! This crushes me more than any critique of my appearance or personality quirks ever could. I'm currently the proud pet parent of four cats (one with special needs). In addition, I have worked and volunteered for several animal shelters since the age of 17 and currently do so regularly at the Lange Animal Rescue Foundation. In fact, you're invited to come walk dogs with me!

Most Sincerely,
Megan Albertus

RevRon's Rants said...

I can't seem to muster the umbrage that is so prevalent in response to what I personally view as a non-issue. When I turn on the television, I'm looking to be either informed or entertained. While the alleged "news" programs have proven to be somewhat entertaining at times, I can't say that I've watched the entertainment programming (which, as it turns out, rarely entertains me) with the expectation that I'd be informed of some pertinent truth.

The producers develop programs for one reason: to make money. It would seem that they have tapped into the public's appetite for voyeuristic titillation. That they do so with contrived situations and actors is, in my perspective, at least preferable to actually documenting the humiliation, pain, foibles, and triumphs of ordinary goobers who are enticed into participating in their own degradation.

Perhaps the biggest "victims" are those viewers who expect unvarnished reality from the entertainment business. But I don't see it as being any different from observing a magician's act. We can ooh and ahh at the fantasy, but few are going to actually believe that the beautiful assistant is getting sawed in half or turned into a tiger. Getting upset at the producers of the reality shows makes as much sense to me as getting angry at the magician when we finally realize that his eviscerative exploits aren't real. I mean, c'mon, folks... it's TeeVee! :-)

Elizabeth said...

At issue here is truth in advertising, Ron. When I want to buy black leather boots, which are advertised in the media as such, but end up with brown faux leather pumps instead, I should be rightly upset over the misleading ad(s) that made me believe I would get the former.

Same with reality TV. We want the "what I see is what I get" rule applied here as well. I'd venture that most viewers know (or quickly realize) that reality TV is heavily scripted, with large doses of coercion and manipulation involved, so they do not hope for "nothing but the truth." Most viewers are sophisticated enough to tell the difference between reality TV and documentary TV, and they do not expect documentaries when tuning in to, say, "Momma's Boys." But they do expect to get what's advertised. And the sweet, pure, innocent angel Megan is nothing but (which, btw, takes less than 5 minutes to discover, so the theory about Seacrest being duped does not make sense).

Surely this is not the kind of deception like the one involved in getting us into the Iraq war, but it is deception nevertheless.

P.S. VW: comic. Huh...? :)

Elizabeth said...

few are going to actually believe that the beautiful assistant is getting sawed in half or turned into a tiger

Wait, what? You mean...Are you really saying she was not turned into that white tiger?? Then how do you explain it, eh?

C'mon, Ron, I know what I saw and my eyes ain't lyin'. ;)

RevRon's Rants said...

"At issue here is truth in advertising, Ron."

Perhaps the appropriate response would be to sue the producers, network, and the sponsors. Might have a bit of a challenge itemizing your damages, however. At the very least, you could ask for your money back. :-)

And it seems odd to decry the deception in the programming, what with it being interspersed with *real* deception every 7 minutes or so!

And speaking of eyes not lying, I like your new profile pic, Elizabeth. Not quite as compelling to my protective nature, but it does ... best leave it at that. :-)

Steve Salerno said...

Folks: The comment several spaces above is indeed from Megan Albertus, our subject character from Momma's Boys. I verified her identity through her MySpace page; that's why the comment (which actually came through a couple of days ago) is first being posted now. As most of you know, I always take such precautions in handling comments supposedly submitted by celebrities and others in the public eye. It's for their own protection. You wouldn't believe some of the crazy stuff I've gotten over the past three years, from "Russell Crowe," "Anthony Robbins" and others.

roger o'keefe said...

Megan, I will admit I don't understand the appeal of shows like Momma's Boys. You especially sound far too bright to get caught up in lowbrow entertainment. To each his or her own, I guess. I applaud you for standing up for yourself here.

I must say you are also a very pretty girl, and I'd imagine you would be so with or without the "glamming up".

Elizabeth said...

I thought I've said all I had in me on the subject, but apparently there is one more issue left (and then I'll be done, I swear).

What I don't -- cannot - understand is how and why anyone would take part in a TV "reality" show the purpose of which is (reportedly) finding one's mate (or one's child's mate)? Do people really believe that subjecting themselves and their off-spring to public humiliation, among other unsavory experiences, is THE way to a romance and a long-term relationship? Really?

And if they don't believe that, but participate in this debasing (thanks, Alyssa) spectacle anyway, what does that say about them -- about their values and emotional maturity (among other things)? Is it really fun to play with people's feelings, especially on national TV? Does this seem an innocent game without consequences to those who sign up for it?

The young ones can yet be forgiven, for they indeed may consider it a path to their career and don't know any better (or do they, sigh), but those mothers...?

Elizabeth said...

Ron, ahem... thanks?

Greg said...

Just to be fair to this girl, I was curious so I read the post you linked to, and the "drunken christmas" was about how she had work on Christmas, missed all of the food, had two weak drinks and accidentally got shit faced because she was drinking on an empty stomach. For the sake of full disclosure I will admit that I have never seen the TV show you refer to, and I do not watch reality TV at all, but if you are going to badmouth someone at least take the time to read the article you are referring to. She may have been on TV once but that is not enough to establish her as a public figure, meaning any disregard for the truth could be grounds for a lawsuit based on libelous defamation of character. I don't know this girl and I really have no vested interest in protecting her, but considering the fact that most people on reality TV shows because they already have significant self esteem issues, blogging negative comments about her is like telling a crack head they'll never amount to anything so they shouldn't bother.

To balance this with something nice, I liked your depiction of the modern conflict between real and ideal self in your blog on American consumerism, so you get partial credit in my book. A little less reality TV and you could do good things. (I also thought the WSJ article was decent)

Steve Salerno said...

Greg, accuracy is important, so thank you for pointing out that I may have been hasty in using the title of her post against her. I do stand by my sentiments about the overall tenor of her blog, which is hardly...virginal. And even if she doesn't quite get "shit-faced" drunk, there are her several references to smoking dope--which I assume is pot. There are other things that can be smoked, of course. Again, that doesn't make her a bad person. It does give her a little bit different image from the one presented on Momma's Boys.

RevRon's Rants said...

"that doesn't make her a bad person. It does give her a little bit different image from the one presented on Momma's Boys."

Imagine... an actress whose personality doesn't mirror that of a character she's hired to play on television! And she smokes dope, too! Next, you'll be telling me that our beloved icon, Walt Disney, was a regular opium smoker. Or that Michael Knight (who went on to be a hero on Baywatch) liked to drink.

Remember... "Reality" is only half of "Reality Television." The second word should give one pause when considering the first.