Tonight I'm going to rant a little about reality shows: What effect will they have on future Pop Culture icons? Is network television giving less for more?? Does Chef Ramsey of Hell's Kitchen always have risotto on the menu???
So, how do reality shows relate to American Pop Culture? I don't know! You see, I don't know because reality shows don't have any imagery, characters, music, phrases or anything that could make it's way into our pop culture. There's no substance to burn itself into our memories, no charm to win our hearts and minds, no beat, no sound bytes, nada, zip, nothing that I believe will be memorable 10, 20, or 50 years down the road.
How we Americans pick our pop culture icons is still something of a mystery to me. Whether it's a person, a phrase, a song, an image, a jingle, a classic car, a style of dress or whatever, a pop culture icon embeds itself in the American psyche of the time. I believe it does so by touching the heart and the soul, unconsciously tapping into the mindset of the time, having the advantage of frequency, and just plain serendipity. One cannot plan to create or become a pop culture icon, most of these attempts just end up a flash in the pan. Why? Because engineered attempts lack the charm and innocence that is the hallmark of the truly iconic. And the quality of "quirkiness" is often a large part of the equation - remember the hula hoop, the Oscar Mayer song? What the magic combination is no one knows, there is no formula. And thank God for that because Then it would be called marketing and all the fun would go out of it.
And make no mistake about it, Pop Culture is innocent fun, fun is its chief ingredient! I guess that's why I've discovered reality shows have absolutely no relation to American Pop Culture. Because, entertaining as the reality shows can be, there is no innocence or charm in them. They do not create anything that speaks to the heart, they simply hold a mirror up to the darker side of the American mind set. And those are not the things we will want to remember 20, 30 or 50 years from now.
And so my fellow Americans, You're Fired, You're Cast Adrift, You've Been Voted Off The Island, Your Chefs Coat Has Been Set Ablaze and Big Brother is not watching you! But I'll bet you wish you were an Oscar Mayer Wiener, because Everyone Would Be In Love With You and you would be the next Apprentice. Now, Go Ahead, Make My Day, vote Simon off of American Idol, tell Donald Trump he can't fire you, You Quit, and go watch some reruns of I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, Star Trek or The Brady Bunch and see some real icons in action.