Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mad As Hell 2: Unreality TV and Yo-yos 

So, last time I talked about the movie Network and the frightening prospect that our current state of television seems to be trying its best to live up to that dark comedy. Here's something a bit related to that and a bit related to my yo-yo hobby.

Recently there aired an episode of the show Master of Champions, in which people skilled in various.. umm skills are pitted against each other. Along with semi-celebrity ex-sporting judges and TV voters and all of that. It is pretty badly done all-around IMO and I much prefer what I've seen of America's Got Talent.

Still, this latest episode had a segment with six yo-yo players, split into two teams. If you missed it, you can watch the yo-yo section below:

First, I do have to say that it is nice to have some yo-yoing on television. I'm glad that the opportunity presented itself and I think Doc and Dave and the rest did a great job under the circumstances. Hopefully it gives some people more of a sense of the current tricks and encourages some people to take it up that never thought about it before.

Where does the "unreality" of the title come in then? The answer comes on Doctor Popular's Blog where he discusses what went on behind the scenes and how much the producers of the show decided to mess with things. He also talked about it on the last episode of Yo-yos Coast to Coast, the podcast of which will be up next monday. Dave's also weighed in. What it boils down to is the producers removing any real drama and replacing it with their own.

For the card thrower, he had a bad day, so they edited multiple takes for it to look cleaner. But he got the finale on the first try, so they edited in misses to highten the drama. Aparantly he even cut the lady on the wheel three times (I didn't see that segment so not sure what was left in).

For our yo-yo players, a non-existant rivalry was attempted to be played up. They pressured Doc to have him say he was the best. During the "greet your opponent" section they removed the handshake and inserted footage of them waiting for mics to be put on. Footage of Dave smiling for most of Doc's routine is not used, but some random blank stare is. I mean these people are all good friends with each other. And while the Bazan crew work together, Doc's "team" wasn't even a real time. Just a couple friends who used the College for the Easily Amused mantle to try to get attention toward those clubs (which Doc started but doesn't run anymore).

There was no rehersals during the day of filming. The music wasn't used, making synched routines almost pointless. No blacklight was used for Dave's team as planned. No darkness for the glow stuff in Doc's routine. And Doc actually went first instead of last in the finale challenge!

I don't mind stuff like goofy comments from the judges or commentary like "look at the offstring" when offstring had been cut out. Stuff like that seems like par for the course. But substituting footage to play up conflicts that aren't there and totally editing performances to suit their needs (putting Doc last has a different emotional reaction) is just too much for me to be comfortable with.

And this was a case where the participents were regular people trying their best to be themselves. Can you imagine the "reality" shows that people go on mostly to get as famous as possible? Though I'm not a huge watcher of pro wrestling, at least stuff like that is so over the top that it is easy to take it for what it is. It is the more subtle distortions of reality that you have to be careful of. As always, don't believe what you see on TV!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours? Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com