Thursday, December 01, 2005

Meet Your Insane Mommy

I'm hardly the first person to comment on the woman who went nuts on Trading Spouses. I've never even watched the show, with the exception of this clip (full disclosure: I couldn't even finish watching it, not because it's not hilarious/disturbing, but because the I really can't get into reality show drama and I hate that annoying background music they always play).

My first question is why did this woman agree to be on the show? Isn't the whole concept of trading spouses anathema to Christian morality? I understand that an actual spouse swap is not being performed, but if people are getting bent out of shape about someone wishing them "Happy Holidays", you'd think that a show even mentions the concept of wife-swapping would be condemned as an affront to the sanctity of marriage.

My second question is how stupid is she? I'm sure that the producers of Trading Spouses were barely able to contain their excitement when they interviewed this woman for their show. I've never seen the show, but based on the commercials I've seen and articles I've read, it's pretty obvious that the idea is to match someone up with a family that is the complete opposite of their own. You would think that Christian fundamentalists would be acutely aware that not everyone in this country is down with their program, given the never-ending stream of screeds, boycotts, and demonstrations their leaders generate to combat the never-ending threats to their way of life.

The answer to both of these questions is that this woman, like most people, wanted to be on TV. Until TV evangelists develop their own reality TV programs, people of faith will be forced to cozy up to the liberal elites in Hollywood they so despise or give up their dreams of becoming a quasi-celebrity. The weird thing about Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy is that for a show that purports to undermine the institution of marriage, it's full of old timey family values. Take the subtitle "meet your new mommy" for example. They only swap the wives on this show. A radical feminist interpretation of this subtitle might suggest that this show reinforces the idea that wives are the property of their husbands, who are free to exchange them for goods, services, or other wives. A more nuanced interpretation would suggest that at the very least, fathers are generally not involved in the lives of their families enough to make an interesting TV show based on two families swapping fathers. After all, the father leaves for work before the kids wake up, comes home late, eats dinner alone, then passes out in front of the TV. You could swap most fathers with a trained circus bear and the family would be none the wiser for at least a couple of days. Finally, in order to trade a spouse, you need to have a spouse, which means that this show probably features more in-tact nuclear families than per episode than most other shows on TV.


dusty said...

I found the clip and couldn't help but suspect that it was a stunt. Fox is the perennial low-brow ratings whore and having a rabid Christian is such an easy target for laughs, it's a no-brainer. After the Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire fiasco, my guess is that Rupert isn't too keen on legitimate scandal.

Don't know if he's your taste, but Sascha Baron Cohen is putting the final touches on his Borat movie. Now, I found his baiting antics completely hilarious, and the key ingredient is hitting unsuspecting people and getting them to air out their often disgusting prejudices, while Baron Cohen (who did his thesis at Cambridge on MLK) snickers at how stupid people are. He, as Borat, was clearly trying to outdo himself for his movie when he crashed Pamela Anderson's dogs' wedding, crashing the beach, Speedo-clad. The first wave of news voiced Anderson's consternation, while the second wave revealed that it was nothing more than a staged prank. After all the outlandish stuff he's pulled in the past, it makes me skeptical of just about every sketch. I don't see any reason why Fox also wouldn't conveniently choreograph the comedy similarly.

MDS said...

I think it's very likely that the woman knew that the more insane she acted, the more likely she'd get her 15 minutes of fame, and that she wouldn't have been so enraged if she hadn't made that calculation.

I'm a big Sascha Baron Cohen fan, and I think Borat is his best character. I don't particularly care if those things are staged or not, either way they're hilarious. The Kazhakstan government is fighting back against the way Borat portrays their country, by the way.

dhodge said...

I guess that when it comes to "reality" TV, everything is a staged to a certain extent. This woman definitely raged her way into the blogosphere, but I don't think she's going to go down as the William Hung of Evangelical Christians.

I don't know what the Kazhakstan government is so afraid of. There's no such thing as bad publicity. Kazhakstan is the ninth largest country in the world and I doubt that most educated people could even locate it on a map. Talk about a country with some serious PR issues.