February 9, 2011

Out There On Their OWN

None of these things is not like the others...

I have a degree in broadcast journalism, so I was drawn to the new reality show, cleverly titled Your OWN Show on Oprah's new television network, OWN, much in the same way I imagine people who can cook tune in to watch Top Chef, or interior designers -- my wife included -- can't wait to sit and watch Design Star

Let's face it: when a reality competition show touches on an area in which you have an expertise, it is like a moth to a flame. 

After several weeks, it's very clear that I remain ambivalent about this program. On the one hand, I appreciate the fact that these contestants are having such a difficult time putting together segments each week. I mean it would suck if I spent four years learning how to properly create content for television and these neophytes could jump right in and do Emmy-award winning work. 

Yet at the same time, are these really the best ten contestants they could come up with? Take Dr. Tony Roach, pictured below (left)




The winner of this competition gets a full-time job as a host of his/her own show and Dr. Roach actively avoided any on-camera role until his teammates darn near broke his arm with all the twisting they were doing. Then, once he finally did get assigned to be in front of the cameras during a cooking segment, he suggested that the most entertaining course of action would be to spend the first 90 seconds of said three minute segment arguing with his co-host over which one would do the segment. Then he added, we can just let the cook (Curtis Stone) do the rest by himself since he knows what he's doing. Forget about hosting... has this guy ever watched TV?

After his horrific performance, Dr. Roach would have been eliminated, but instead interrupted the judges before they could render a verdict and "chose to leave" -- making sure they understood he was not quitting. Whatever, Dr. Quitter. 

Elizabeth Espinosa (above, right) is supposedly already on television, as her bio says she is a reporter for KTLA. (East coast bias here -- I wouldn't know.) Presumably, though, we can see all of her assets in that photo, because when it came to professionalism, she came up empty every time. Mercifully, she finally got the boot when, in her last chance to save herself, she resorted to plagiarism, asking the same exact questions that had earned the winning team praise for their originality. (Never heard of James Frey, my dear?)

In the end, I guess it doesn't matter, since I'm not Oprah's target audience and regardless of who wins among the remaining candidates, I won't be tuning in to see their show... but I guess I'm just a little bit bitter that $100,000 goes to the winner of this contest, when my college classmates and I did better work on a routine basis while paying that much for the privilege.

Come on, Oprah! Hook me up!

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