Blockage

Hey there, ‘Redheads… My brain is a giant cramp right now, but I wanted to get an installment in this week, so February doesn’t stagnate completely. They say the easiest way to gnaw through writer’s block is to just keep typing, so let’s see if I can pour some dran-o through my headpipes and clear out the wad of hair that’s clogging the idea chute. Maybe TV is finally rotting my brain. I’ve been watching more than usual, since I gained access to a TiVo. And not the good kind of TV…nothing of any intrinsic value, absent of decent writing or compelling characters. I’ve been mainlining cheaply produced reality TV, and I don’t even have the commercials that allow me to flip channels to find something even slightly better or more shiny. I have grown to love the beep-boop sound of commercials being blipped away. Unfortunately, it concentrates the crap you’re watching into its most corrosive form.

Recently, the crap du jour has been American Idol. Thousands of mildly talented fame-grabbers has been whittled down to 36, and now they’re crooning their little hearts out, lest their dreams be squashed on national television. I caught the singing round on Tuesday night, mostly to check out one particular contestant. She carries with her the pressure of potentially having one of the most epic on-screen meltdowns in television history…and we’re all rooting for her. Her name is Tatiana Del Toro, and she is the poster girl for delusions of grandeur (the poster is HUGE). Since we were introduced to her in the early audition rounds of the show, it seemed pretty clear that this girl was a natural for reality TV because she already assumed that her life was being taped for the world to see. Her big break could be around the next corner, so she dare never break character. But here’s the thing: she’s not horrible. Not like previous Idol punchlines like William Hung. The judges have kept her around…not solely on the basis of talent, but also because they think it’ll make for compelling TV when she snaps. She’s been a blubbery mess every time an inkling of failure has popped up. Imagine their surprise when she sang on live TV and a) didn’t suck and b) held herself together. They were agape. They were ready to put on their fake creeped out faces. Instead, they stammered through an actual critique of her singing. Paula even marvelled, “You’re supposed to be crazy, right?” Paula had been looking forward all week to seeming lucid by comparison to this girl. This is where the judges and the producers of the show screwed up. You have to let batshit crazy flow naturally. You can’t try and force it. You can’t create the monster, then get pissed because it figured out how to sing “Puttin’ On The Ritz.” Short of dumping a bucket of pig’s blood on the girl, there’s nothing they can do to make her unravel. I didn’t catch tonight’s results, but I didn’t see her name on the list of people who made the cut. If the producers got their wish, she ended up like this…

Wishing for the breakage of a young woman’s paper mache psyche, awaiting the candy shower of train wreck television is a bit morbid. Here’s something that’ll make you laugh those evil thoughts away…

Keeps getting funnier every time I see it.

Speaking of crushing hopes and drowning dreams, I’ll be judging one of the preliminary rounds of the DC Improv’s District’s Funniest College Competition at my alma mater, the University of Maryland on Friday night. I’ll have a full…ok, half-assed recap in the next installment.

‘Til then, keep your ass on the couch and keep reaching for the remote…

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