Because Ryan’s taste has always been a little suspect, and because ever since he moved to New Mexico Kook will only watch shows that prominently feature dream catchers or coyotes, the pop culture beat falls to me. But just because I can cover the pop culture beat in an incrediblh knowledgeable, insightful, and charming way doesn’t mean that I necessarily want to. I mean, I do want to. I’m just pointing out that the reasoning you used to conclude that I do want to is faulty. Faulty and sloppy. Don’t be so sloppy all the time.
Kook’s favorite TV show.
Anyway, this is is the first installment of Davis’ Pop Kulture Korner!!! I feel like a running installment needs something more than just a special name to distinguish it from a run of the mill blog post, so I wrote the following lyrics for a theme song for “Davis’ Pop Kulture Korner!!!”
Davis’ Pop Kulture Korner!!!
Skittly Bop Doo Skorner!!!
Davis’ Pop Kulture Korner!!!
Skattle Bip Dum Shkormer!!!
I’m still working on the tune, but just go ahead and say those lyrics out loud before proceeding.
Ok, I have to confess that I stole the whole “skittly bop” thing from my friend Ron. Ron has a lot of talents, but being able to remember the lyrics to songs isn’t one of them. Which is unfortunate, because if he’s breathing than he’s singing a song. The lyrics to which he doesn’t know. Which is where the “skittly bops” come in. I, on the other hand, can remember the lyrics to songs, but the skittly bops have infected the musical part of my brain, and I’m unable to sing a song (or write a theme song) without using them. The situation has become so grave that when I start to sing a song Melissa will interrupt me before I’ve gotten two words out and say, without even looking at me, “Not the skittly bops.” To which I always reply, in song, “Skittly bop!” And now on to Davis’ Pop Kulture Korner, American Idol Edition!!!
My relationship with American Idol is a strange one. One summer I went to Guatemala for a few months for my job and returned to find everyone in the United States obsessing over Kelly and Justin. Fervently believing that 40 million Americans can’t be right, I took a pass. And then Ron and I became roommates. I’ve never really thought of myself as someone who is prone to being unduly influenced by his peers, but Ron’s enthusiasm for Idol was more infectious than the Skittly Bops. It took about 2 episodes before I was the shows #3 fan (#1 being Ron and #2 being this girl). American Idol was the highlight of my week. We’d have a bunch of people over to watch it, and we’d break down the contestants’ strengths and weaknesses. And of course, I’d pick favorites. And I was into it. Not in an ironic kind of way, either. Like, it would bother me for a day or two when “my” contestant got sent home.
Anyway, I ended up moving to New York, and I felt my interest in Idol leave me the very instant my moving truck took me 500 feet away from Ron. People have said that Steve Jobs somehow manages to project a “reality distortion field” that causes those in his presence to believe anything he says and to commit to impossible objectives. Rather than making people believe in him to the tune of billions of dollars, Ron’s distortion field just makes you love American Idol. I know this because when he moved to New York and we started living together, I became Idol’s #3 fan again. And now that we don’t live together anymore I have no desire to watch the show.
But Melissa has been halfheartedly watching this season, and so I’ve been catching little snippets of it while I do stuff on the computer. And man, that show is not good. I don’t know if it’s that I’ve changed, or if it’s changed, or if it’s simply gone on too long, but I really don’t like it. First of all, let’s talk about Randy. Randy is the worst. Randy, you’re in your 8th season and you haven’t found one single way of freshening up your schtick? You’re just going to keep going with the “dawg” thing? Even worse, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Randy say one single thing after which I nodded and said, “Wow, he’s right. That’s insightful.” His repertoire consists of telling contestants they were “pitchy” or saying “it wasn’t good for me” or saying “yeah, dawg!” Why not replace him with a magic 8 ball? (Seacrest: “And the Randy Jackson Magic 8 Ball has this to say about your performance (shakes ball). ‘Yeah dawg! That was hot.'”
Totally worthless, dawg.
And then there’s Ellen. I’ve always kind of liked Ellen in a vague way, even though I’ve never really watched her show or seen her on anything. I don’t think she’s terrible, but I do think she’s trying way too hard to shoehorn a little quip into every sentence. And I also think there’s something about the lighting on Idol that makes her look like she died 8 years ago and has been reanimated through unholy and unmentionable means. Kara is fine. Whatever. She sometimes has an insight or two, and I think she has good chemistry with Simon. But I still haven’t forgiven her for the song she wrote for Kris Allan to sing the year he won. Read the lyrics. Seriously. Do it.
I admit to enjoying Simon and Seacrest. Seacrest is just an elfin charmer. I’d pay good money to have Seacrest follow me around all day and jump in whenever things get awkward with a co-worker or a neighbor in my apartment building. And Simon is entertaining, and one of the few celebrities who doesn’t try to come across as a good guy. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t admire him for not being a good guy. I just appreciate that he’s not trying to fool us. The thing about Simon, though, is that he’s very clearly over Idol. He can’t even pretend to care any more, which is kind of fun to watch, but doesn’t bode well for the franchise.
And you know what I find amazing? I actually miss Paula. Yes, she never added anything of value. Yes, I used to have to bury myself under the pillows of my couch whenever she got up to dance during the songs. But it’s not often that you see someone on live, national TV who is hopped up on camel tranquilizers. There was an element of danger there that you don’t find very often in entertainment. There was always the possibility that she was going to start making out with an audience member or pull out a gun. She kept us guessing, and I miss that.
There was a time in our country – a better time – when we used to put an intoxicated half-wit on live, national TV to slur incomprehensible things about finding your truth and following your path and taking your journey.
While none of the things I’ve mentioned portend well for Idol, I think the biggest problem is that it just all feels so tired. The contestants and the seasons have all blurred together, and in spite of their lame efforts to mix it up – guest judges! back room cam! – we all know what’s going to happen and how and when it will happen. Plus, the stakes are starting to feel very, very low. Winning Idol isn’t what it used to be. The winner is going to end up on Broadway in few years in a starring role in some crappy tourist-oriented musical. So we’re cheering for our favorite to win the opportunity to star in “Rock of Ages.” Oh, and they get a Ford Focus.
The way I feel about Idol is the exact way I started feeling about 24: Oh no! Mortal threat to the US! Bad guys kidnapped an American spy’s family, so he or she is working for them! They somehow ended up kidnapping Jack’s daughter/girflriend/piano teacher! The official US government response is misguided or inadequate, so someone is calling Jack back into action! But he’s in a monastery brooding over the loss of his partner or wife, so he doesn’t want to go back! But he’ll go back as long as he can do things his way! But then they won’t let him do things his way so he has to go rogue and torture a dude! And Chloe is surly! And Jack sets up a perimeter! And the terrorists pull off a major victory, but it was just to distract everyone from the much larger attack they almost pull off before being killed by Jack! 24!