Tag Archives: Spencer Pratt

The vultures are circling again.

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.”

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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.

www.cashpeters.com

Watch Cash’s little movie HERE.

Buy Cash’s breath-catchingly funny travel book here.

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Goodbye, brain-paralyzing garbage, we’ll miss you.

I read over the weekend that the upcoming season of the worst and possibly fakest reality show ever, The Hills, will be the last.

It’s okay, you can stop cheering now.

Not that I tune in to The Hills myself or anything. I can’t, unfortunately – I made a deal with MTV: “You continue to make this absurd, atrocious, vacuous rubbish, and market it under the guise of quality entertainment, and I won’t watch it.”

We’ve both stuck to our side of the bargain so far and it’s worked pretty well.

So, while “the kids” in America have remained oddly involved for five seasons with the flatlining intellectual world of Lauren Conrad and her fashion friends at Teen Vogue in Los Angeles, California, I’ve had to find other things to do. As a result, my life putters ahead quite adequately without  understanding to any great degree who Lauren and Heidi and Lo and Audrina and Spencer are, or what their lives are about, or why anyone would think it a good idea to give such apparently hollow shells a TV series in the first place.

Then I got the good news – I’m going to be spared the effort of ever finding out. The fifth season will be the last. Ratings are not as good as they were – fans are becoming less fannier and tuning out; Lauren, the lynchpin of the whole thing, is leaving the show; and the producers are pulling the plug.

Of course, there’ll always be an audience for bland nonsense like this, and something else just as bad will leap up soon to take its place, I’m sure. Cuz here’s the truth. Due to:

a) an underfunded school system that emphasizes individuality and being the best you can be, but without specifying what at; and which lets pupils emerge at the end claiming to have an education, even though they can’t spell or talk coherently or add up numbers or point to Europe on a map; and

b) a society morally and intellectually on the ropes, where too many kids believe that, if the whole studying thing doesn’t work out, they can always become rappers or TV stars…

a large part of today’s youth audience remains hardcore dim. They’ll happily sit for hours in front of the television watching tanned morons stare blankly at each other as they struggle to form complete sentences, then they’ll go out and, like the robots they are, mechanically buy without question all the products and silly fads and services that greedy networks promote in the commercial breaks, knowing their audience is not smart enough to figure out that they’re being manipulated.

Actually, I had the privilege of eavesdropping on a group of teens in Starbucks yesterday. Drawing inspiration from The Hills, no doubt, their conversation was a series of blank thoughts and long gaps connected with ten million combinations of ‘totally’ and ‘like’ and “so I go, ‘you’re kidding me’ and he goes ‘no’ and I go ‘what the hell? I mean, dude, come on, like, chill, alright?’ Y’know what I’m saying?”

And the other kids nodded. They knew exactly what he was saying. Because he was saying nothing. Which was about all they could handle.

Indeed, the only reason I feel comfortable telling you all of this is because I happen to know that none of the people we’re talking about has the mental capacity to read this far down the page. I guarantee they checked out after the headline.

“Like, wow. Seven of those word-things at one time is, like, totally enough, thank you.”

The reason I’m so cheered by the end of The Hills, though, is because it gives me hope. The world is in flux right now. Everything’s changing. Our very expectations about life and how to earn a living and what a secure financial future might mean are going through  a tumble-dryer of transformation. This, believe it or not, is good news.

Now that the economy’s down the toilet, I suspect we’re reaching the end of a cultural era too.

With any luck, it signals the demise of witless “reality” shows shot in Hollywood mansions, promoting the Beverly Hills lifestyle of celebrity and fame and glamour as aspirational, when in truth it’s  just an invention of TV and the movies. If you don’t believe me, go there. In the real Beverly Hills right now, people are hurting. The recession is biting hard. Businesses are struggling. Restaurants are failing. Life savings have been lost. Glamour and fame and celebrity are taking second place in a lot of cases to strategies for everyday survival and not losing their house and how to pay for college fees.  

Now, that’s the Hills they should be making reality shows about, because in the years ahead, it’s the only one that’s going to make any sense. A new era is coming, one in which the dim children of America are going to wish they’d spent less time watching frothy, mind-numbing confectionery about frothy, mind-already-numb people on TV, and actually studied and learned to speak and done something useful with their young lives when they had the chance. Karma has a reputation to maintain. She’s known to be a diva bitch. And the youth of this country is about to find out how much of a diva bitch that is.

Finally, in the spirit of Friday’s blog, which generated massive amounts of traffic and even made it on to the website of Time magazine, may I just say Rachel Bilson, Hugh Laurie, Jim Cramer, Homer Simpson,  and Jon Stewart?

Thank you.

The Hills gets no magic carpets out of five.

TV Swami – he say NO.  And good riddance.

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