reality TV, the good kind

October 17, 2012

Yes, it does exist, I think, and no, I did not watch the debate last night.

Instead, I’ve been quite immensely pleased with SyFy’s creative competitions.  This season’s group on Face Off is fantastic, I think.  Friendly, good work ethic, professional.  They packed all the drama into the first episode when the narcissistic asshole walked off, and it’s been supportive group hugs ever since.  (Aside:  something very similar happened at a writing workshop I was at once, and it was spooky seeing the same dynamic play out here.  Turns out, there’s a certain kind of self-important personality who, when confronted with and criticized by authority, simply cannot handle it and turns tail.  Just fascinating.)

Hot Set is kind of a hot mess, mostly because my brother’s a set designer and I’ve spent every episode thinking, “This would drive Rob absolutely batshit insane.”  But like Face Off, the show still offers some good creative lessons.  Especially last night.  Word of advice:  If you ever hear yourself saying, “I just have to hope they won’t notice that,” or “Surely no one will notice that,” that thing will be your downfall and you must stop whatever you’re doing and fix that right now.  This is true of building sets, writing books, designing costumes, anything.

Back to Face Off, I’m so glad Nicole got a second chance, because I don’t think she should have been booted off in the first place, and then because of what she said last night when Glen asked her why she thought she was doing so much better now than before — she’s won the last two challenges.  And she said, basically, that before she was rejected, she kept trying to do what she thought the judges wanted, but now she was doing what she wanted.  I actually shouted at the screen, “YES!”   With her second chance, she has nothing to lose and she’s putting her heart into it.  This is also true of any creative endeavor:  you have to create from your heart, do what you want, create as if you have nothing to lose.  This is what will separate you from the crowd.

And switching gears entirely:  I watched live online (barring the twenty second delay for the possibility of utter disaster) as Felix Baumgartner set the altitude record for parachuting, at 128,000 ft.  Breaking Joseph Kittinger’s record of 102,o00 ft, set in 1960, which I wrote about in a short story.  There’ve been a handful of attempts to break this record over the last ten years or so, and this was the first not only to succeed, but to even get off the ground, literally, so I was happy to get to see it.  But I really hate the jokes going around about how “an energy drink has a better space program” than the US now.  Because really, NASA’s got exploratory probes in every corner of the galaxy, we’re doing complex mineral analysis on Mars, we’ve mapped Mercury, we’ve got satellites entering interstellar space.  The U.S. space program is doing more and learning more than it ever has before, and that rocks.

6 Responses to “reality TV, the good kind”

  1. Griggk the goblin Says:

    I like Nicole and I think she’s good, but I believe that we the audience are being spoon-fed a winner. Before Nicole was booted, the video diary segments were about 50% Nicole, and 50% anyone else. When Ms. Westmore announced that one eliminated contestant would return, I told the missus I suspected it would miraculously be Nicole, as the cameraperson appeared to love her…and sure enough, she’s back in.

    I think the top two talents this year are Lauren and Roy, though Lauren was decidedly off her game this week.

  2. Griggk the goblin Says:

    …as for the space program, I give you the words of Commander Jeffery Sinclair (R.I.P. Michael O’Hare)…
    “Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics and you’ll get ten different answers, but there’s one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won’t just take us. It’ll take Marilyn Monroe and Lao-Tzu, Einstein, Morobuto, Buddy Holly, Aristophanes .. and all of this .. all of this was for nothing unless we go to the stars.”

  3. Carrie V. Says:

    Fortunately, we have a few billion years to figure it out, and we are doing plenty of space exploration right now that will help the journey later on.

  4. Carrie V. Says:

    I did get the feeling the whole “let’s bring back one of the eliminated contestants” might have been them going “We really shouldn’t have gotten rid of Nicole.” And really, she should not have been eliminated, her project was not the worst that week.

  5. Savannah Says:

    I LOVE Face Off. It is so interesting what they can do in the time they are given to complete the chalenges. I watched it last season, too.


  6. Hadn’t heard the joke about the space program, but this did make me laugh.


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