November 3, 2011

And One Fraud to Rule Them All...

Prepare to be amazed? No, I don't reckon I will...
Imagine if you will a reality show competition where, each week, the judges are to eliminate the contestant whose efforts are the least impressive, until only one true champion remains.

Actually, it's not hard to imagine, as these shows are all over the television dial. But what makes The One from Australia an impossible pill to swallow is that none of the contestants actually demonstrate any talent at all in what they're supposed to be talented in.

You see, The One is the search for Australia's Top Psychic, and we're told that the smiling faces in the photo above were chosen for being the best of the best out of hundreds and hundreds of applicants to the program. Now I'm not going to waste time thinking too hard about that last sentence, but how this show actually manages to keep a straight face is beyond me. It's a train wreck!

Through the first three episodes, the contestants have faced some daunting challenges indeed:

  • They were stranded in a forest setting and given 15 minutes to find the rescue helicopter waiting for them a short distance away. (A few did, but most just wandered in circles until time expired.) 
  • They were sent to an apartment and asked to identify the why/how/where of a murder that had taken place inside some time ago. (Many guessed that it was a lover's tiff, but even the few who correctly hinted at a possible strangulation also threw out stabbing and gunshots as the cause of death.)
  • They were asked to study four volunteers and diagnose their "medical maladies." (Rather than actually saying, "You've got a fake leg!" or "You're pregnant!" they spoke in vague generalities like, "You've got a scar or something in the lower part of your body...yes?" and "I see something with the stomach area?")

It's akin to if you had turned on the first episode of the new season of Top Chef and watched as six of the ten cooks burned the dish beyond recognition, two placed inedible meals in front of Padma and Tom, and the remaining two served up some toast.  There's no way you, as a viewer, would be able to, shall we say, "stomach" such a showing. 

I see dead people! 
Of course you do... you're in a cemetery!
Which brings us to the judges: Stacey Demarco, a "respected spiritual practitioner" (whatever that means) and skeptic Richard Saunders, who fights in vain to put some sort of rational spin on the events taking place. It's frustrating, because it is clear that both the editors, as well as the host of the show, are keen to dismiss Saunders as the silly one for not believing.

When a psychic misses and Demarco is asked what she thinks went wrong, it's always couched in terms of "nerves" or "doubting her own abilities" and the host nods and agrees that these are difficult tasks indeed. When Saunders is asked the same question and dares to suggest that maybe the reason that the contestant "misread the energy" in the room is that there is no "energy" there, he's met with eye rolls and mocking tones. "What ever will it take to convince you, Richard?"

I invite you to take a look for yourself here, but my psychic prediction? You won't need to "brace yourself for the impossible" as the show suggests you do before watching. You'll simply be shaking your head in disappointment and disbelief. 

3 comments:

  1. Good post.

    The strangest part, for me, is when Demarco gives the contestants advice on how they might get better. Whether you think cooking or modelling are worthwhile, the advice from experts on Masterchef and Top Model actually relate to a real skill that can be improved. Not the case here, clearly.

    David H

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  2. Thanks! I totally agree...

    Demarco is all about pleading. "Well, we don't know exactly what his/her particular methods are, so we can't criticize." Yet she's also willing to buy in 100 percent that they are indeed "gifted"

    I only wish the producers had the guts to have one contestant (unbeknownst to the judges or the others) be a total self-professed NON PSYCHIC plant. Of course, Demarco would still likely claim that any hits were due to this person simply not being aware of their own abilities.

    But at least I'd be more entertained.

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  3. "Respected spiritual practitioner..."

    lol--That's the best part.

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