Ever seen a show called Bridezillas? Here in the U.S. it’s on the increasingly popular WE network, “The Network for Women.” Or, more specifically, “the network for women who’ll happily watch hours and hours of ancient reruns and bland, substandard crap without complaining.”
Last night on the BBC we were discussing Bridezillas and I played clips.
It’s a reality show – an “unforgettable” one, apparently – about highly-strung and difficult brides-to-be and the men who, contrary to all the laws of common sense, are prepared to marry, and presumably later on, divorce them.
From what I hear, the series has become quite a phenomenon in the world of low-grade trashy entertainment, running for six seasons and attracting a massive 2.5 million viewers, even becoming the foundation for WE’s TV offshoot, The Wedding Channel, a new network devoted to everything marriage. Ooh, just what we need.
The reason I bring this up is because the production company behind Bridezillas came sniffing around my heels recently, asking if I wanted to do more TV. Nothing official, just a quick email, a casual inquiry.
I almost took the bait too.
My lovely little travel show, Stranded with Cash Peters (someone has kindly uploaded a short clip of the Cambodia episode here) aired three years ago, which is a long time to be away from the public eye. And although it wasn’t a major hit, the people who did watch it loved it to bits. Not a week goes by when fans don’t write and ask what happened to it, when it’s going to be rerun, why episodes aren’t available on iTunes. (The answers are to be found in my new book, Naked in Dangerous Places).
Furthermore, it’s tempting, when you’ve been in TV for a while but aren’t currently, to feel immediately flattered by the attention of producers and eagerly grab anything you’re offered, just to be center stage again.
Yet I dither.
First, I am more than happy right now writing books (the new novel is a little firecracker; you’re going to love it, I promise), and hardly yearning for another stressful adventure any time soon.
Second of all, making Stranded put me in hospital three times and left me permanently scarred in all kinds of emotional and psychological ways, thanks largely to certain people at the production company, who were monsters.
And lastly, quality shows cost money to make. That’s why there’s so much abysmal trash on our screens right now and why viewers of any intelligence are being driven to abandon the box by the million each year and find something more entertaining to do with their time.
There are only limited amounts of talent and money to go around, that’s the problem, and these days a lot of non-talent and miniscule budgets are being funneled into shows targeting the Dimwit Demographic: undiscerning, uneducated, unthinking, unmotivated, undemanding, unconscionably low-octane minds; minds that find Spencer and Heidi Pratt (nee Montag) or Ant and Dec intriguing, who’ll watch any show that Ryan Seacrest is in or executive produces, and who believe that Transformers is high art. High schools nowadays are basically factories mass-producing these kinds of people in their millions.
In other words, minds that can’t tell the difference between good and bad, quality and trash, or subtle hues and bright, gaudy colors. They don’t need expensive programming, extraordinary stories, good writing, hosts with personalities, material that challenges the intellect or raises the bar emotionally; it’s all a wash to them. Basically, if a series doesn’t have these basic elements: lots of noise, bright colors, people shouting, and dinosaurs – well, screw it, they’re grabbing the remote and returning to Bridezillas, which has all four in spades.
So there we are. I’m not expecting to hear from the producer guy again, especially after I told him yesterday that, if I did succumb and do more TV, I’d prefer to make a quality travel show, a holistic health show, or a combination of both. That’s usually enough to send TV people running from the room with their hands over their ears, yelling, “Quality television – noooooooo! Aaaaaaaaaghghghgh!!!!”
Well, so be it. Until all the stars align in an appealing way, I’m in no rush. And if they never align again, that’s fine too.
I have a health book coming out in the fall, I’m mapping out a sequel to the novel (did I mention that it’s a real firecracker?), and I have to travel to Britain and Australia soon to promote Naked in Dangerous Places when it’s published there. So all in all, I’m doing okay.
Fame and celebrity can wait a little longer.
TV Swami – he say NO to Bridezillas.
Watch Cash’s little movie HERE.
Buy Cash’s breath-catchingly funny travel book here.