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The Blame Game

File under decline of Western civilization. MTV continues its long slide into the depths with what appears to be enthusiasm for the trip, but I do believe it has now found the true Least Common Denominator of television. Say what you will, they keep pushing the envelope....

Where they've pushed it to now is their new game show, The Blame Game. I forget what their last endeavor was called (I always just thought of it as Meat Market), and I do believe this one is even worse. A recently-broken-up couple fight a mock courtroom battle to determine whose fault it was the breakup happened. They challenge each other to reveal embarassing secrets, sling arrows and accusations of deviant behavior not out of place on Jerry Springer, get cross-examined by each others' "lawyers," and eventually the cheering crowd/jury votes on whose fault it was. The vindicated party gets a vacation package or something in that price range as their prize.

I wish I was making this up. The first time I surfed over it all I could do, literally, was stare in horror. My brain actually released a few wisps of smoke. My only small consolation is an abiding certainty that these people aren't real. But the fact that somewhere out there is a focus group that really really liked this idea scares the willies out of me.

Along the same lines I'd like to note a general trend in Music Channel Evolution. First there was MTV, and it was very cool. Then there was VH1, and maybe your parents liked to watch it and you'd surf over there sometimes if absolutely nothing was on. Then, ever so slowly, MTV began to suck. Equally slowly, VH1 began to be kind of cool (I still remember my open-mouthed astonishment when I realized they were showing a real rap video). Then, about a year ago, VH1 started to show signs of encroaching badness, signs which I note with some dismay are accelerating. The more "shows" and the fewer actual videos, the less reason I have to watch it. I mean, how many times can you watch the Studio 54 episode of "Behind the Music" before you start wishing someone had just shot those two yo-yos back about '65 and saved us all a lot of trouble?

These days if I want to see a video I have to watch Much Music, which is a Canadian music channel my cable provider picked up for heaven knows what reason. The VJs have attitude and don't look like newscasters or slumming fashion models, and the music is stuff I haven't heard 4,000 times this week already. I'm waiting anxiously to see if they put on any game shows, 'cause if they do I don't know where I'll turn.

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Except where otherwise noted, all material on this site is © 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson