Monday, October 01, 2007

America, America, This is You


If you knew what this blog was going to be about just by reading the title, then I salute you.

Although I rarely seek them out, every time I watch them, I find myself laughing pretty hard at home video shows. I think it's the frequent use of the "boing" sound effect as well as the steady stream of footage of people almost getting seriously hurt.* I cannot even begin to explain how much better America's Funniest Home Videos is now that Bob Sadget is no longer the host. It's not that I really like that new guy, whatever his name is, but it's more that the new guy lets the videos speak for themselves (well, the corny voice-over does quite a bit of speaking too, but you know what I mean). It's not the Dad From Full House Show anymore. It's a show about what are probably the funniest home videos in North America, and the people who were lucky enough to tape these videos. Families whose lives have been transformed by their funny home video. For some reason, the family that wins at the end of every show seems the same to me from episode to episode: They are always kind of weird-looking, homely people, and they are always super-psyched to have made America's funniest home video, but I guess who wouldn't.

I know I seem to be talking a lot about America's Funniest, but I would like to clarify that this is not the only show I am talking about. Any of those home video shows will do just fine. That one on Animal Planet, the one on CMT, it really does not matter. And forget what everyone is yacking on and on about with YouTube and web 2.0, I think it's pretty obvious that funny home video shows are really where all this stuff began. This is user-generated content, analog VHS style. The cheap availability of video cameras gave rise to the new and awesome genre of Accidental Comedy. There is something so very powerful about knowing that someone is geniunely embarrassed about getting hit hard in the family jewels with a wiffle ball, or whatever. It's all somehow funnier when the embarrassment is real. I think I keep spelling that word wrong. Just remember, that word is a false cognate in Spanish, and if you think that "embarasado" means embarassed, you are wrong, because it means pregnant. And, "pregnanto" does not mean embarassed, although that would be pretty weird if it did.

Point being, if I had TiVo, chances are it would quickly be loaded home video shows.

And yes, some of them do look staged, and it enfuriates me just as much as it does you, I promise. They are a plague to the genre, and I think the producers of these shows should be more responsible, instead of rewarding the Scumbies of the nation for their bad ideas.

*The guy who has the job of adding the sound effects to the videos is in the running for guy with the coolest job on the planet, right up there with zamboni driver and Larry David.

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