TeleValues

Talking Television and Values.

Archive for January, 2007

Winter Preview: The Amazing Race – All Stars

Posted by Travis R Grant on January 20, 2007

The contestants for the All Star Edition of the Amazing Race have officially been posted. And for the most part, I am happy with the selections.

My number one pick for the All Stars was Kevin and Drew, and they made the cut. Trust me if you missed Season 1, then you are in for a real treat. These are a couple of frat brothers/friends that are funny, charming, and just all around good guys. I can’t wait to see them in action again.

On a less positive note, my number one pick to not be on the show is in the All Stars. Rob and Amber can’t seem to get enough of the spot light. Next thing you know, they will have a reality TV spot on the pregnancy and birth a new child (Before the rumor mill starts, no they aren’t pregnant, I am just speculating about the future). If it wasn’t for Kevin and Drew, I don’t think that I would even bother with the All Stars with Rob and Amber in it. Oh well, at least this is a couple that I love to hate. I hope that are out in the first round. (I just cursed myself, and now they will be in the final three, again.)

Obviously, I am excited to see David and Mary compete again. I suspect that they will team up with Charla and Mirna. Maybe this grouping will prove to be better. Charla and Mirna weren’t afraid to take any risks like Erwin and Godwin. However, I think their loyalty will be a lot more like Lyn and Karlyn. I was surprised that neither Charla nor Mirna tried and convince Phil Keoghan to leave his wife for her. I hope that both of these teams do well. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see them out early either.

Danny and Oswald got back on, and they were entertaining. I probably won’t be cheering for them much, but I won’t mind seeing them go far. Joyce and Uchenna will be okay to see again, but they have already won, so I won’t be cheering for them much, either.

I am not excited to see John Vito and Jill, Dustin and Kandice, or Eric and Danielle back in the race. I didn’t like them in their first races, and I doubt I will like them now. I guess Eric and Danielle are interesting because they are the Amazing Race’s first match up. But that too is still a yawner.

Regardless of what you think of each of the contestants, this looks to be a good season. Let’s hope it proves to be as successful as some of the other All Star Reality shows.

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Posted in All-star, Previews, Reality TV, TAR, Television, The Amazing Race, TV, Unscripted Dramas, Winter Preview | 1 Comment »

Winter Preview: Rules of Engagement

Posted by Travis R Grant on January 18, 2007

This may sound like a repeat of my critic of ‘Til Death. However, I find it important to keep alive the discussion about media’s negative portrayal of marriage.

Rules of Engagement is a comical look at relationships primarily from the man’s perspective. To do this, they focus on a married man (Patrick Warburton), an engaged man (Oliver Hudson), and the single guy (David Spade).

The unfortunate thing is, that while this is advertised to be about relationships, the real story is that it is a put-down-marriage forum. When compared to ‘Til Death, this show is worse. At least in ‘Til Death it appears that Eddie and Joy are genuinely in love. However, in Rules of Engagement Jeff and Audrey (Megyn Price) seem to just barely get a long. And in the engaged couple, Adam appears to already be looking to get out of the commitment with Jennifer (Bianca Kajlich).

The only person who appears to be happy is the still single Russell, who it appears that Jeff and Adam aspire to be. However, their commitments are holding them down. The underlying message is that marriage is drudgery.

Looking at the cast, this will be a well done show. The only thing that would prevent it from staying on the air is if people don’t like it. I already don’t.

Media has too many negative messages about marriage. I don’t wish for television to portray marriage as all diamonds and roses, because it isn’t. However, I am tired of the many messages that say that marriage is nothing but animal waste and pits either, because it isn’t.

Media messages about marriage should be balanced. They should work to provide a varied taste of both the good and bad in marriage.

Another problem I have with this show is the overemphasis on sex. While sex is an important part of marriage, it should be respected more than it is on television. One of the problematic messages in this show is that married sex is terrible, and single sex is great. This is the wrong message for a society where sex leads to too much out of wedlock children and the issues of caring for children in two homes, and with the medical issues that are involved.

Before ending, I wish to clarify that I am not saying the ‘Til Death is a good show. I only use it as a comparison, and my preference for it over Rules of Engagement is only because there is slightly more positive messages about marriage.

Posted in 'Til Death, Comedy, Previews, Rules of Engagement, Television, TV, Winter Preview | Leave a Comment »

Super Nanny Is Valuable Television

Posted by Travis R Grant on January 16, 2007

I remember, when I was working on my Master’s Degree at Kansas State University, I had thought that how it would be great to share some of the tools and information we learn about families through television. My original thought was through using a family sitcom, where good parenting practices are modeled.

While, I think that would have been an effective method for teaching appropriate parenting skills, I also think that ABC’s Super Nanny is doing a great job of accomplishing my dream. Jo Frost is a 16 year nanny veteran who on the show works with families whose children are out of control.

Actually, as you watch the show you will slowly learn that it isn’t the children who are out of control. Rather it is the parents who need to learn to take control.

One of the keys to this show is that it isn’t just that Frost shows up and provides some information on what the parents show do. Instead, Frost takes a day to just observe. I think that this is honestly one of the hardest parts for Frost. She wants to help these people immediately.

After a day of observation, she sits with the parents (or parent as the case sometimes is) to help them understand what they are doing wrong. This is where the parents get a taste of reality. For some it is the time when they realize that they are the problem and not the children.

Then Jo works with the family (mostly the parents) to get them under control. Some of the important things that I see her teaching is discipline, and stick to it. Don’t back down from disciplining children. This is the key to the now notorious “naughty chair.”

She has also taught the importance of a routine in young children’s lives. Children thrive on the known. They need to know that breakfast is coming. They need to know that they will get play time.

After at least a day, the family is then left to put the principles that they learned from Frost to work. This is the trial by fire that seems to be so important.

The key to this process though is that it isn’t over there. Frost will review some videos of the family after they visited with her. Then she meets with the parents again to help them rethink what they are doing wrong.

This second visit is key to the success of the efforts of Frost. In order for people to learn something, they need to have their performance on a new task reviewed. This review process shows that this program isn’t just about showing a bunch of unhappy families on the air.

My biggest concern is that there is a certain amount of exploitation of children. However, I think that this is a small price to pay for the greater good that it serves.

If you are having problems with you children, Watch this program and take good notes. You will be surprised at the changes it can make in your family. These changes won’t be over night, but over the course of weeks or months. Super Nanny is another great example of the good that television can really do.

Posted in Reality TV, Super Nanny, Television, TV, Unscripted Dramas | Leave a Comment »

Winter Preview: Armed and Famous

Posted by Travis R Grant on January 10, 2007

When I first saw it I couldn’t believe it. Are they seriously going to take five celebrities and train them to be cops? Okay, I could believe that. I couldn’t believe that the celebrities actually passed the training course. I also couldn’t believe that they would actually broadcast such drivel.

Armed and Famous trains five celebrities to be cops. Actually, I am not sure that half of these participant even qualify as celebrities, unless you want to go back 20 years. After their training they are taken out on the streets and enforce the laws of Muncie Indiana.

This show is being billed as a comedy. So here I am picturing Police Academy meets Dancing with the Stars. And trust me it is much worse than that. Now I have to admit, I don’t understand either of those shows. I really never watch Policy Academy, and I just can’t seem to stomach Dancing with the Stars.

However, If you like Dancing with the Stars, I think you will not like Armed and Famous. However if you like Police Academy you might find this show humorous.

Having watched the previews available at CBS, I have to say, that I am lost for the humor. Of the six short clips available online, there were only two partially funny moments. La Toya Jackson handling a fire arm was perhaps the funniest, but that in itself is more dangerous than funny. The second most funny was Erik Estrada passing wind while wrestling with a trainer. And I have never found flatulence jokes humorous.

While from an ethical perspective, this show has it’s problems. I honestly think that this show will flop because it just won’t be entertaining. From the get go Jason Acuña is told that he isn’t allowed to be a “jackass” on the show. So, automatically, you take away his ability to be funny. So much for the comedy aspect, that is if you call Acuña’s act funny.

Also, did Jack Osbourne manage to stay sober enough to do this show? Or did the trainers just let it slide? Okay, I know that he has sobered up since the Osbourne’s were on the air, and maybe I am taking unfair punches. But I am trying to point out, that this isn’t your typical police trainees. I will give Osbourne some credit and say that at least he knows how to handle I fire arm. I wish that I could shoot like that.

I won’t be watching Armed and Famous. And I doubt many in America will be either. This is Reality TV gone way wrong. Mostly because it has no entertainment value, but also because it just seems to be a slap in the face of ethics.

Posted in Armed and Famous, Comedy, Previews, Reality TV, Television, TV, Unscripted Dramas, Winter Preview | 2 Comments »