Sunday, May 08, 2005

Making Us Confused


We really liked watching this show. At the end of each episode we discussed who we would pick if we were making the band. It was fun to watch the girls dance. And we especially liked it when they had to get into groups and put lyrics and choreography to a track of generic bubble-gum beats. It was almost as fun watching them kick that mean Jayson guy (who made them throw away all their carbs!) out of their mtv- twinkle palace apartment house.

But a few things had us furrowing our brows. On several occassions, P.Diddy used the term "black" to mean good at dancing. He scolded the women of color on the show for "not being true to your people" when they struggled with some of the steps. When Aubrey, a blonde Californian who quickly became one of the standouts on the show, nailed the moves, Puffy asked her is she had "some black in her." Later, when the girls went to a karaoke bar, Puffy breathed into his microphone "Aubrey is now officially black" after she performed and everyone clapped and hollered. Later, in a pow -wow with his team back at the studio, Puffy dissed the dancing of one of the African-American contestants and said that he wanted to "revoke her blackness." Although it appeared that these references to "blackness" were made rather lightly, we couldn't help feeling a little irked by Diddy's breezily racist remarks. And of course no one questioned or challenged his use of the term. After all, he's P. Diddy. Do we actually expect anyone to talk back to him? (Well, yeah, a little bit . . .though in this case that would probably mean losing your job). And even though we enjoyed Triumph's dig at Diddy when he says "I didn't know wearing a suit was a talent," we were still surprised and dissappointed by Diddy's comments. We were like, remind us again what's so great about him.

We were less surprised by the show's creepy emphasis on the girl's bodies. This is MTV. But despite the fact that these girls are all young and thin and beautiful (this is MTV), there was plenty of talk about getting the girls to loose weight and pushing them to get "cut" abs. But we were * totally* disgusted when, on the season finale, Diddy asked one of the girls to stop in the middle of her song because her couldn't stand looking at her stomach while she was dancing. Moments before he mentioned to one of the producers that she "needed to lay off the hamburgers." WTF? Harsh dude. Totally harsh. Her outfit may have been atrocious, but her body was healthy and beautiful. The poor girl slunk off the stage clutching her stomach.

Pretty bad, huh? But this sequence seemed even ickier since it followed a rehearsal scene in which of the women was wearing a shirt that said I Beat Anorexia. At fist we thought that this girl was wearing this shirt because she had in fact beaten anorexia and was hoping to use her time on camera to raise awareness, and if that is the case, then good for her. But after doing some research, it appears that shirt is marketed as a gag gift for someone who is overweight. ha ha. funny, right? because they, like, so DON'T have anorexia. ha ha.

Pretty fucked up if you ask us.

And oh yeah, they *didn't* make a band after all.



Jenny said...

I blame Simon. And everyone else at American Idol. We champion Simon for "telling it like it is," when "telling it like it is" usually means telling relatively healthy looking girls that they are fat. Which is fine, I guess. I'm not going to deny that, statistically, skinny people have a better chance at becoming successful recording artists.

However, Simon's popularity has encouraged--I think--shows like "Making the Band" where telling people that they can't succeed because of the way they look is not only cool, but also admirable. Just keeping it real, blah, blah, blah.

femme feral said...

Yeah, I heard that Simon even called Beyonce fat. That's just nuts.

At a certain point I feel this trend is going to have to give, or at least get framed in a different way.

Reality television has exposed and created some very interesting questions. While its common for participants to argue and confront with each other, what I would really like is to see a group come together to take down the oppressive regimes that these shows tend to create. A real Marxist uprising! Destroy the cameras! ha ha! A spectre is haunting Hollywood!

I'm sure they cast people who will be reverent to the operating principles of the show, and of course they cover up any time these lines get blurred (remember when that girl from the real world hooked up with one of the camera men?), but I'm still holding out for glimpse of organized solidarity on one of these shows.

Andrew said...

I haven't seen "Making the Band," but I agree with Jenny. Simon Cowell is unecesarilly harsh to the women who audition for American Idol, while he almost never makes comments about the men's appearances.

Take that guy Scott from this current season--you know, the chubby white guy from Cleveland with the crew cut and the squinty eyes, the one who looked like he came from a long line of lynchers, the one who began wearing purple pimp suits and tinted sunglasses halfway through the show, the one who said his favorite song was "Against All Odds" by Phil Collins, the one who was arrested for beating his girlfriend and the mother of his child. Well, let's take him for example. Can you imagine a less marketable guy than Scott? Teen heart-throb he is not. And yet Simon never once made a remark about his appearance--and I'm not saying he should have, I'm just saying if you're going to take pot shots at people's appearances, why not save it for the racist girlfriend-beaters who dress up in ridiculous suits and try to pretend they're Luther Vandross?