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Joe (Half a) Millionaire
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television

How sick is America that we, with never ending hunger, circle our TV's, like vultures to a carcass, and spend our precious time medicating ourselves with reality shows? It's our guilty pleasure -- our not-so-secret dirty little secret. My artistic friends and I spend hours degrading these shows, saying that they are an affront to our work in the theater, and how they drain all of our creativity and leave American audiences even less enlightened than they were by Saved By the Bell.

Here I am, devoting myself full time to creating art, immersing myself in theater at the University of California at Irvine as a Graduate student in directing, to find that I, without a thought to my work, am watching - that's right ... Joe Millionaire. Watching that construction-working hunk with a heart of gold is how I've been spending my Monday nights for the past month. I marvel and scoff at my TV every time I sit and soak in the shows twists and turns - its blatant manipulation of my feelings for these women who are desperately trying to win the millionaire's heart along with his fake fortune.

The depressing thing is ... I LOVE IT!! I love it because I HATE IT. The entertainment value skyrockets because of the fact that the show well...sucks my fat ass! I am a lump on my couch, a vessel of inertia because this nauseating program allows me to feel superior. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have gotten to the core of the draw of these shows. It's not the surprise ending they promise, or the bitchy broads who don't really want the poor Joe (they just don't want to lose on national television), it's the fact that it makes my life look so much more important. All of a sudden, my work seems brilliant, my existence ... significant.

So, however trite and brainless Screech, Zack, Kelly, and Slater seemed, I give them props for learning those lines, playing their actions, and embracing their teenage obstacles. I raise my cup to the tired moral messages and harmless youthful comedy on which Saved By the Bell made their trademark. At least folks, we had the power to pick up our remotes and change the channel, admitting it was a poor excuse for art.

But now, I am forever trapped in a world of Ozzie, Anna, Evan, Zorah, singing Idols, and set up Survivors; All because these programs give me a false sense of my own destiny - an erroneous impression of my artistic brilliance. With these shows as our measuring device, we all are well educated, we are in on the joke, and our household lives are, thankfully, normal. I challenge you America, and myself as well, to invest yourselves in something a little more worthwhile ... like Fast Lane!!

(I'm no lesbian but boy, that Tiffani Theissen is HOT! ;-)

end of essay
| more essays by Valerie
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