+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16

Thread: Reality show 'Family Plots' is a grave misstep by A&E

  1. #1
    The race is back! John's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    On the mat
    Age
    44
    Posts
    40,432

    Reality show 'Family Plots' is a grave misstep by A&E

    Reality show 'Family Plots' is a grave misstep by A&E
    By Matthew Gilbert, Globe Staff | April 19, 2004

    The dead who appear on "Family Plots" -- on gurneys, on display at memorial services, in zippered-up body bags -- should be grateful.

    For one thing, they'll never stumble across A&E's sorry new undertaking, "Family Plots," which premieres tonight at 9. Dead people don't watch TV, after all, unless our creator has a big postmodern joke in store for us in the afterlife. For another thing, these dearly departed souls probably don't know their sloughed-off human coils are being employed for prime-time entertainment. If the lifeless grandmother with the crushed skull and facial trauma knew she was the centerpiece of tonight's premiere . . . well, I'm betting she'd plotz.

    "Family Plots" is a reality show about the Wissmiller family, three sisters and their father, who work at the Poway Bernardo Mortuary in San Diego. It wants to be an unscripted version of HBO's "Six Feet Under," as it blends the feisty Wissmillers' domestic conflicts with the serious business of death. But it turns out to be an irritating trifle that exploits the emotions of mourning relatives and the corpses of their loved ones. Don't make me say it -- OK, "Family Plots" is dead on arrival.

    The most annoying elements in the show are the Wissmillers themselves. They bicker tirelessly, often provoked by dad Chuck, a passive-aggressive body remover and funeral assistant. He's a boxing trainer who picks fights with his daughters but cultivates a grim wisdom. "Anytime you're above ground, you're ahead of the game," he says. The brash Shonna is the contentious head mortician and senior funeral director, and she enjoys bossing her employees around a little too obviously. Emily and Melissa are formidable, too, but they are puppies compared to top dog Shonna. As their schedules fill up and the stress level rises, they all become intolerably self-important and shrill.

    It's hard to know why the Wissmillers and their co-workers -- including funeral director Dave and owner Rick -- would agree to be filmed for A&E. Maybe they want a little fame; but the show makes their operation look totally unappealing and sloppy, as they arrive late for a graveside service or blow an electrical fuse before a body viewing. When Shonna declares, "Does anyone realize we have a service in 20 minutes?" she becomes adrenalized for a new adventure in high anxiety, but the viewer can't help but identify with the family that's going to be waiting by an open grave. "Family Plots" will probably turn new business away from Poway Bernardo Mortuary, unless there are attention-hungry "Bachelor" rejects with dying relatives living in the greater San Diego area.

    As its cameras glimpse and linger on dead bodies and sobbing grievers, "Family Plots" shows reality TV continuing to reach into the extremes of our lives. The genre already films death-defying challenges for our viewing pleasure, as well as joyous engagements and weddings. We can only take heart in the fact that ultimately there is an inevitable boundary, that no reality show, no matter how ambitious or bold, can follow us once we've gone to the great beyond. That particular journey will always remain a mystery to the living.
    http://www.boston.com/news/globe/liv...misstep_by_ae/

  2. #2
    Caged Mah Jongg Solitaire Champion, Archery Champion Maveno's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Posts
    8,020
    If the lifeless grandmother with the crushed skull and facial trauma knew she was the centerpiece of tonight's premiere . . . well, I'm betting she'd plotz.
    ::sigh:: I was going to give it a one-time-watch tonight to see if maybe I'm being a lil too "moral" in my judgement of this show before it even airs. After reading this..I think I may be right afterall.
    All things beautiful do not have to be full of color to be noticed; in
    life that which is unnoticed has the most power.

  3. #3
    My Doppleganger Jupiter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky
    Age
    59
    Posts
    1,270
    You know...I liked this show. Yes...the funeral business is a sad one...but family business is fascinating. I love families. Call me a sicko..but somehow the interaction of siblings and parents is endlessly entertaining to me. Perhaps it is because for just a moment we can see a piece of our own families ...and discover we ain't all bad. If you combine the family scenario and throw in the mix of working in a mortuary...well...at least for the short run...you've got some interesting dynamics going. I suspect the show will run out of gas quickly..but I'm going to stick with it for awhile.
    ....You can't fix stupid.......Ron "Tater Salad" White

  4. #4
    Peeking In Duxxy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    looking for a deal on evilBay
    Posts
    6,052
    This writer just gave you all what you wanted to hear. He practically called the show morally unethical. I saw no such thing. The camera shots of the deceased were not lingering, nor were they superfluous. This show follows a family that works in a mortuary. Big deal. The family dynamic is engrossing, we laugh along with (and at) the Weissmullers, we share in the grief of the family of the deceased, and lets not forget that the family of the deceased had to sign release forms for their loved ones to be shown on tv.. as well as themselves. They agreed to it.
    This writer must be taking lessons from the Donald Trump School of Hyperbole. The characters he described were over the top ...which they weren't IMO.
    What good would it have been to film a show about a sloe-eyed, grim-mannered, all-business funeral director/home? A&E wouldn't have wasted their time, and I wouldn't have wasted mine.
    "Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one."

  5. #5
    Swinging in the hammock Ilikai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Taking a long vacation in the tropics
    Posts
    6,539
    This is why I don't read tv and movie critics... most of them have their heads so far up their backside that emergency surgery wouldn't correct the problem. Any family that works together is going to have more dysfunction than ordinary companies.
    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!" -- Steve Parker

    Help feed a dog or cat http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/c...s/CTDSites.woa

  6. #6
    Caged Mah Jongg Solitaire Champion, Archery Champion Maveno's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Posts
    8,020
    So true. I've worked for a 2 companies that were family owned and ran. I swear...there were so many problems ALL THE TIME, and it was all "family issues"..and nothing to do with the business.
    All things beautiful do not have to be full of color to be noticed; in
    life that which is unnoticed has the most power.

  7. #7
    Swinging in the hammock Ilikai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Taking a long vacation in the tropics
    Posts
    6,539
    I worked for an uncle, Never again!!! We didn't talk for 2 years after he laid me off and kept his braindead kid on after I had to go help him get jobs done cause he was screwing off too much.
    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!" -- Steve Parker

    Help feed a dog or cat http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/c...s/CTDSites.woa

  8. #8
    FORT Fan carrera's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    375
    As is true for every reality show, if they aired an episode where everything went off without a hitch, no one would watch. It could be very unusual that they have problems, or crises could happen every day - who knows? Either way, it'd be boring if they showed a perfect day at the funeral home. Same goes for Airline. Some people think Southwest sucks, but really if they showed only happy rainbows and kittens, no one would care.

  9. #9
    Swinging in the hammock Ilikai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Taking a long vacation in the tropics
    Posts
    6,539
    and Southwest is still basically a midwest regional airline. Think of the crap that United and American and Delta workers deal with.
    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!" -- Steve Parker

    Help feed a dog or cat http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/c...s/CTDSites.woa

  10. #10
    Jonesing for Ben pink_princess's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    frelled in the outer territories
    Age
    47
    Posts
    377
    Well, the family of the dead grandma sure seemed to me to know the cameras were on them. The first time they came in, maybe not, but the second time, the daughter had done her hair and makeup and made what seemed to me like an effort to say things and act a certain way that indicated she knew it was going to air. I'm not minimizing her obvious grief, but she knew she was on camera.

    Unless I'm mistaken, people have to sign a release allowing the show to use footage of them (which is why Cops blurs faces from time to time). Don't want to be on or have your dead relative on? Don't sign.

    I didn't think overall the show was done in poor taste at all, just the opposite. Shonna especially comes across as caring a great deal about the people she's working with and her older sister seems very empathetic and dedicated to helping the families.

    Dad's a nutter, but that's just me.

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.