Friday, September 30, 2005

Aaron and the Faux Pas

In case it's not clear, I have a slight obsession bordering on mania when it comes to television. I enjoy scripted, reality and experimental shows: probably because I just get such a good feel for things that would never actually happen to me in real life. I mean, it's not like there's a show that narrates the life of being holiday help at Russ & Daughters (more to come on that later). I think mainly it's just having something that's always ready to preoccupy me and my minor ADD (undiagnosed, but it's the thought that counts, right?).

This isn't going to be a long post, but I got sucked into watching The Amazing Race. This new season, the eight, interested me by purporting to be a family show: ten teams of four race around the world to win a million dollars. Plus, the first episode was set in New York City, and there's nothing more entertaining to we who live here than watching tourists - especially greedy ones - bumbling around. So I watched, looking for cheap laughs: I just never expected they'd all be at the producer's expense.

We live in racial times, and it's important to be careful when casting. You want balanced teams that represent the wide walks of life: if they're all going to be white, at least make some of them religious nuts, some of them whiny brats, some of them Italian stereotypes. Thankfully, the crack board of The Amazing Race managed to find black people in America: I know they're a rare breed, but they do exist. However, here comes the big amusing faux pas.

I need to set the scene: we're zooming in on those cab/boat hybrids that shuttle people around the Statue of Liberty, meeting the families for the first time. We've got all these team names: Paolo, Schroeder, Godelewski, all of whom are constantly filmed in a blind panic until they blur together. And nine of them are of the pasty white persuasion: as in, those who don't seem to know what the sun is (and can't use being Irish as an excuse). Until, in a stroke of genius, we're introduced to the one minority team, a black family that seems incredibly together. They are: the black family. Congratulations, producers: I'm sure we will remember their name, just as we remember their skin pigmentation.

I'm not being racist, but I think this Amazing Race serves as a real standard for American sterotypes and prejudices. After all, this show's won the Emmy for reality programming the last three years in the row, and this is what they choose to represent America with? Nine duplicates of themselves and one slightly off-color family that seems as if they were shaded in to give the show a little credability? I'm hoping the whole thing gets better, and until the Black family gets kicked off, I'll continue to watch... but wow. That's just messed up.

Well, thanks for tuning in: time for me to get back to work, by which I mean back to the boob tube, the six hours of sleep I'll pull, and the fun of working in a premiere appetizer store.


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