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Thread: MBFOB- Fox's anti-intellectual bash

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    eny
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    MBFOB- Fox's anti-intellectual bash

    Fox's anti-intellectual bash
    November 15, 2004
    Josh Gordon

    I am pretty sick of reality TV at this point. The first season of Survivor was novel and compelling enough to have me hooked, and last year's The Apprentice put an elegant New York City twist on it, but this is just ridiculous.
    I am talking, of course, about the premiere last Sunday of My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss (hereinafter known as MBFOB). The fact that, after only a handful of seasons, reality TV is already parodying itself is a bad sign for the continuation of the genre, but it's the nature of this particular parody that I find telling.

    The show is set up like The Apprentice: 12 competent young business people take part in "business-oriented" challenges and the ones that perform the worst get kicked off. The last man standing, presumably the best business person, wins a high-paying job at an investment banking firm.

    The contestants were culled from the top echelon of the business world: smart, successful young people who are still moving up the ladder. The ads billed them as a group of ivy league graduates. Their taglines during interviews identify them as executives and owners of their own businesses. They have been brought on this show because they possess the qualities -- intelligence, entrepreneurship, and a top-flight education -- that make them successful in the private sector.

    But MBFOB is not just an Apprentice knockoff. This show is a hoax show: the boss is not a real business person, the challenges are not really about making good business decisions, and the winner isn't chosen because of his competence. Instead, the boss is an actor, the challenges are designed to make these people look foolish, and the winner is chosen seemingly at random. The crew and the audience are in on the game; the only people without a clue are the contestants.

    The show is set up this way to make smart people look stupid. All of MBFOB's entertainment value derives from watching intelligent, accomplished young people making fools of themselves. The more people in the audience who watch this and think "teehee, that ivy league graduate sure looks dumb now," the happier the Fox executives are.

    For example, the first challenge the contestants had to take part in was, drum roll please: begging. That's right, 12 successful businesspeople rubbed dirt on their faces, put on rags, took up cardboard signs, and begged on street corners. The task was framed in a "starting from the ground up" sort of way, much like selling lemonade, but in actuality begging was the challenge of choice because it offered the maximum foolishness quotient.

    Frankly, it was embarrassing. These people truly believed that they were supposed to make money out of nothing, but with careful editing and narration from the show's host, the audience was treated to the reality TV equivalent of public humiliation.

    "Here are these guys from the finance world, completely committed to begging for money," the host says. Later, as a female executive break danced for a dollar, the derisive narrative chuckles: "She's an ivy leaguer ... and there she is, break dancing on the corner."

    This show isn't like other hoax shows, such as Joe Millionaire, where women compete for the love of a man they are lead to believe is worth millions. The main difference is in the choice of contestants; all of the players on MBFOB are smart and successful, while those on other shows come from all walks of life. This targeted ridicule, where the point of the show is to laugh at well-educated people, is illustrative of a dynamic in America that ranges far beyond the borders of the Fox Sunday night line up.

    Capitalism is founded, in essence, on the idea that some people will succeed and the rest will have sh***y jobs. That's just the reality of the system, and in today's complex world, education is the most accurate indicator of where a person will end up on the spectrum. But it doesn't mean that less successful people have to like it. In fact, if you've ever taken a modern political philosophy class, you probably learned that they aren't supposed to like it.

    Dissatisfaction with the ruling class is expressed in many ways. In the mid 1600s, it was bread riots in England. In the 1920s and 30s, it was strikes in Chicago and cartoons in France. In the 21st century, apparently it's reality TV that makes fools of ex-ivy leaguers.

    At its core then, MBFOB is an expression of frustration with the capitalist system. It taps into the anger that is a natural byproduct of our economy. While Marx would eagerly point to this show as the first rumblings of the earthquake of class revolution, the notion that MBFOB will cause any type of major shift in our society is more than a little ridiculous. Instead, it should serve as a reminder that all is not peachy-keen in our country, and as the too-easily-mockable leaders of tomorrow, it is going to be our jobs to fix it.

    And to do that, we're going to have to do more than breakdance on the corner.

    http://www.dailypennsylvanian.com/vn.../419861f278c8b
    Last edited by John; 12-06-2004 at 11:07 PM.

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    Retired! hepcat's Avatar
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    Smart people are stupid. Everyone's stupid in one form or another.

    This show isn't like other hoax shows, such as Joe Millionaire, where women compete for the love of a man they are lead to believe is worth millions. The main difference is in the choice of contestants; all of the players on MBFOB are smart and successful, while those on other shows come from all walks of life.
    I just find it incredibly pompous of this guy to say it's okay to make fun of gold-digging women, but not the greedy contestants on this show.
    You've gotta hustle if you want to earn a dollar. - Boston Rob

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    Starbucks is your friend Bill's Avatar
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    Yet another critic who wishes Reality TV would go away so he can get back to being the relevant voice on the deeper hidden meaning of Two and a Half Men.
    "George Oscar Bluth II, aka GOB, featured magician in the best selling videotape, "Girls With Low Self Esteem" invites you to enter his world.
    -- Arrested Development, Season III

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    Life is good KatieKat's Avatar
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    Show me an article like this, and I'll show you an author with NO sense of humor. What a pompous jerk!

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    FORT Newbie rt6970's Avatar
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    Well, first of all, this guy takes this way too seriously.

    Secondly, for someone trying to put an intellectual spin on things he is kind of gullible.

    Does he really think that the 12 contestants truly represent the cream of the business crop? I doubt they were the best business people who auditioned for the show.

    Ivy Leagers, maybe one or two, I can't be sure, but again shouting out Ivy League is just more hype.

    Also, reality TV has been parodying itself for a while now, this is not a new thing nor is it a sign of the end of the genre. Parody and parctical joke shows like these have been on TV since it began.

    Also, this writer falls prey into thinking that THe higher and better the education, the more intelligent one is. Education and Intelligence do not always go hand in hand. President Bush graduated from an Ivy League school and he would be the first to tell you that he is no intellectual.

    And the writer seems to be shocked that the people on the show would be humiliated or held up to ridicule in any way. THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT OF THE SHOW! It is a hoax and they are having fun with the concept.

    But beyond that this guy is a dork. I clicked on the link and saw the picture of the writer. What a spazz!

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    Staying Afloat speedbump's Avatar
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    Well, the piece was written for a collegiate newspaper. Recalling my college years, I remember the op-ed writers generally wrote opposed to the social norm. Being that reality tv is the norm on television, he was probably having a dandy of a time trying to come up with a story that bashes reality tv...all the while watching his favorite show, Survivor
    You got to cry without weeping. Talk without speaking. Scream without raising your voice.- U2

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    FORT Fogey did_it_again's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill
    Yet another critic who wishes Reality TV would go away so he can get back to being the relevant voice on the deeper hidden meaning of Two and a Half Men.

    Darn I've been stumped on the deeper meaning of two and a half men since it aired and I just can't find the answer

    This guy problaby hates SNL, MAD TV and Monty Python.
    Can any one say enima or high colonic.

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    FORT Fanatic getreal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by did_it_again
    Darn I've been stumped on the deeper meaning of two and a half men since it aired and I just can't find the answer
    See, it's really two men and a boy, but the boy is credited as a half a man ... Aww, who am I kidding? I'm making this stuff up.

    Quote Originally Posted by did_it_again
    This guy problaby hates SNL, MAD TV and Monty Python.
    His complaints about those shows could be that SNL is actually Sunday Morning Live, as it comes on after midnight, which is technically Sunday.

    And MAD TV isn't really all that "mad", and there are no snakes on Monty Python.

    And while I'm speaking for the writer, the boss in MBFOB isn't really "fat". I'll bet the mystery boss isn't even "fat".


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    FORT Fogey
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    Quote Originally Posted by eny
    I am pretty sick of reality TV at this point.

    I'm reading this early in the morning, and I didn't realize you had posted the guy's article, word-for-word.

    So for a minute there I worried that YOU, eny were pretty sick of reality TV at this point!

    That would have been awful!!


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    Ultra Concealed Lurker Invisigoth's Avatar
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    I have only seen one episode, but it was a doosey. After allowing 6 contestants to tour his house, he shows his greatest possession - Excalibur"

    And these morons believed it.

    Now I am not an Ivy League Graduate, but even a Cal State graduate knows that the guy was lying - and not even very convincingly. These people should (and will) be very embarrassed when all is said and done.
    There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

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