Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Local gossip shows, can’t stand ’em, can’t live without ’em. Yes, they’re all absurd, they follow the same pattern, they’re pat and predictable, and the hosts’ comments are inane and often sexist. Yet, I keep watching them as they serve some sort of escapism:) I would get sick of them, but I keep coming back.

Last week, though, a gossip caught my attention. It was about this rising rock star, a 24 year-old who happens to be a womanizer, who knocked up another woman. This time, she’s already married. I was, like, cool! Finally, an exciting and undisguised gossip! Now, this is rock n roll!

The narrations from all the gossip shows’ hosts, however, ruined it for me. They babbled about morality, how the parents of the singer and the knocked up girl should’ve taught their children better, and how the so-called Indonesian/Eastern values have shifted. A particular gossip show even has the nerve to have a tag line “No sex before marriage.” Oh, fuck off.

Now, the following is an excerpt of my article a while ago, about the absurdity of the local gossip shows, or also known as infotainment, and how to make it better. I want to insert the excerpt here because I’m such a narcissistic bitch who takes cue from other bloggers that self-advertisement won’t hurt (but it’s certainly nauseating:)).

Here it is:

…So, I got to thinking — how to upgrade the (local gossip) shows to a higher level of babble:

Straight Talk: Stop asking single or obviously gay celebrities (“he’s 55 and still looking for love, living quietly with his poodle Fifi …”) when they will get married. And quit nagging married couples when they will have kids. Also, spreading unfounded divorce or breakup rumors only serves to show your tackiness.

Dish the Dirt: It’s a gossip show, so none of this half-baked stuff, please. We want all the dirty laundry — stained, torn and faded — washed in public! We want to know who has used the casting couch to climb to stardom, who has been nipped and tucked and whether it’s true that Krisdayanti’s monthly makeup expenditure is equivalent to the annual budget of a small Central Java regency.

Needle Points: Offer a few well-placed verbal jabs at celebrities who are famous for being famous, holier than thou, experts at self-aggrandizement, etc. Basically, mock them all! For instance, in the case of actress/singer Dewi Yull divorcing actor Ray Sahetapy, everyone knows that the other woman is older, and richer. Instead of pitting the two women against each other, somebody should ask Ray when was the last time he actually worked for a living.

Plumb the Depths: Go to reliable and relevant sources; interviewing the religious tutor of Ray’s mistress’ children will sure make her famous in her neighborhood, but it gets you nowhere in finding out the truth of the matter.
Different Strokes. As a start in being more creative, get pointers from E! Entertainment. Take a look at the worst celebrity makeover, the best kept secret, the fat salaries and high cost of maintenance, the competition among local divas, etc, all done with a healthy dose of sarcasm.

Discretionary Power: Get the story, yes, but it’s still crucial to remain ethical when reporting on issues like rape, drug addiction and HIV/AIDS. The coverage of the rape case involving teen heartthrob Faisal, for instance, was biased, star-struck and blatantly sexist.

I know that the critics and moralists want to banish the shows from the airwaves. I say no; there is an audience for them. And it has to be said that they reflect who we are as people: Nosy, fickle, uncreative, judgmental and apolitical. We get the leaders we deserve, and the same goes for our TV shows.