August 29, 2002
The Ghen Maynard Show

Here is an article in the Globe about how CBS is using the 'Beverly Hillbillies' premise for a reality t.v. series.

It brings that prophetic gem Real Life to mind.

At the end of the shows run, the happy-go-lucky-poor-folk (they plan on finding the real-life Roseanne family) will be exiled from the mansion and sent back to the projects they sprang from. They'll do so good-naturedly, with a degree of apparently useless celebrity status in tow. You almost have to wonder if a show like this can end well. Maybe it will-- though it doesn't sound like anyone at CBS is thinking about it too much. Their Head of Alternative Programming, Ghen Maynard, excitedly pitches it to Daily Variety: "Imagine the episode where they have to interview maids!"


Im thinking of an outline for "The Ghen Maynard Show". On this show, Mr. Maynard and his family maintain the Hillbillies native residence and hold their low-income jobs while they're out of town. Imagine Maynards horror when he has to walk home through a park he's never been through, after completing his first ever late-shift! The look on his childs face when it's revealed there is no money to fumigate! 52 weeks of Kraft Dinner!

The season finale: After a year of this fish-out-of-water high comedy, the nation can tune in to see if Maynard's developed a heart.

Posted by at August 29, 2002 07:21 PM

Ghen is a great first name. I bet he's been haunted by the name Glen most of his life.

Posted by: king on August 29, 2002 11:02 PM .

Everyone said Survivor was going to be television at its worst. Most of these critics have since reversed themselves, some (admirably) admitting that they had overreacted and that in fact it's superb TV.

I think we should wait to see the show before we judge. It does not have to be mean-spirited. It's human to be a "fish out of water" and it can be funny. It doesn't mean that the "fish" or the "water" is better than the other. Anyone who automatically jumps to that conclusion is probably racist/culturally biased him/herself.

Posted by: Jeff on September 1, 2002 08:19 PM .

Uh, actually, Survivor blows, buddy.

And I suppose I'm culturally biased, too, because I don't imagine the "water" in Trailerpark USA tastes too good.

Or am I jumping to conclusions?

Posted by: tv on September 1, 2002 11:32 PM .

Most hillbillies don't live in trailerparks--they have homes like anyone else. That's a supposition you are making, and yes, it's one that automatically shows you to be biased. I suppose the show could make fun of them - but I think we need to give it a chance. It's also possible that the family will be a great one, and that by getting to know them on the show, biases will be broken down and we will all come to like and appreciate them.

Posted by: Jeff on September 2, 2002 08:12 PM .

I can see what you mean about waiting for the show to come out before passing judgment, Jeff. It's probably destined to stir up healthy debate about race, poverty and exploitation. My beef was really with this Maynard guy, who from the get go is quite excited about the prospect of playing poverty for laughs. If this is the aim of the show as expressed by its spokesperson, I think the prospects are pretty dim, but we'll see.

Posted by: on September 3, 2002 02:37 PM .

Wow - it seemed so unlikely last week, but now here it is.

Posted by: on September 3, 2002 05:37 PM .

It seems you're not the only one skeptical about this new series. From

""Imagine the episode where they have to interview maids," chortled one CBS executive. How many ways can one TV network get it wrong? No. 1: Pick the last group of Americans about whom disparaging stereotypes go almost unchallenged: the people of Appalachia. No. 2: After a "hick hunt," as one headline put it, relocate an entire "lower middle class" family, including kids and grandparents, to 90210. No. 3: Revive the "Beverly Hillbillies" label and slap it on a cheap-to-produce reality show for even cheaper laughs. No. 4: Let the real-life humiliation begin. There are lots of things TV could help us know about rural America. Some things, like the realities of poverty, unemployment and environmental degradation, are painful to talk about, challenging to hear. Others, because of the grit, courage and faith of rural families and communities, might actually teach a thing or two to privileged entertainment executives."

Posted by: tv on January 16, 2003 11:56 AM .

Last night the roommates and I spent a nice period of time making sushi together - a real joy - then on went the tv and out came the reality programming. We caught the tail end of "The Bachelorette," (I believe she said, "Well, the goal of this show is for me to fall in love".)

Then there was another show - something about Man Versus Animal - (the recap featured an elephant dragging a plane faster than a bunch of midgets could, and a marine out-performing an ape on a military training course); followed by some celebrity version of Fear Factor. On this show there was a borderline tv star and a Baldwin brother in a submarine playing charades with a couple of other tv stars who were in scuba gear. The couple in the sub were trying to figure out the clues from the divers so they could relay some answer via walkie-talkie to a couple of other tv stars who were standing by with shovels in a graveyard full of tombstones with the names of famous movie stars on them. If the clue was, say, Die Hard, they would know to dig up Bruce, etc., in order to find the hidden treasure. I didn't stay around long enough to find out if they won. One of the gravestones, I noted happily, read "Ben Affleck," and I figured that was about as good as things were going to get.

(While my ten/fifteen in front of the tube was pretty vulgar, I still think the worst is yet to come: That Hillbillies idea is way more defiantly debasing than anything I saw last night... So things are getting worse, then.)

And on that note-- for my friends who visit this site and email me discreetly afterward to avoid posting in public, and to anyone else who might somehow have miraculously found their way here without coming via d/blog, I must say: I agree with LeCarre (and the D/Retard/K/Maggie/Abe/Marijke combo) when they collectively posit that the US has gone mad. I have to commend Jerms for trying to tow the company line, if only because it clarifies how ludicrously out-of-touch the junta - which we can all safely call them - has become.

This week I decided to stop reading the newspaper, but I still end up reading five articles a day that make me want to wretch.

Reality Bites.

Now I'm going to go check out what Gore Vidal's sayin' (also via d/blog, my "source for links that other people threw out" - D's joke, lest there be any doubt about his sense of humour, or my bloggin' manners).

Posted by: on January 16, 2003 02:26 PM .

Another sign that the world is going mad (or at least reality TV)

Posted by: marijke on January 16, 2003 04:22 PM .

I seem to think it was Jenny Jones who traumatized an unstable 'guest' by humiliating them on her talk-show, which directly resulted in this guest murdering another 'guest' of the show. The details are vague by now.

Oh wait - as always it was easy: Alls I had to do was type "Jenny Jones + Murder" into google and voila.

If such a thing were to happen on a prime time show pulling in big ratings, things might change. Rolling Stone might come up with a thesis that these shows are 'going too far' and write up an in-depth cover story. In the meantime, it seems pretty clear we'll keep going in the Joe Millionaire direction.

I hate to predict it will happen again, but it really wouldn't surprise me.

Another prediction: Plumber's crack will be a hip fashion statement 20 years from now. Daughters will be arguing their right to show ass-cleavage at their semi-formals, and people in our generation - whatever they are called - will feel like lost elderlies saying things like "in my day ass-crack was something you tried to hide from your partner."

Anyone care to bet a dollar?

Posted by: on January 16, 2003 04:58 PM .

Plumber's crack is already fashionable. maybe not for prom, but definitely with jeans.

so says my 18-year-old step-sister.

Posted by: marijke on January 16, 2003 05:40 PM .


So I guess I owe you a dollar then.

*damn Avril Lavigne*

Posted by: on January 16, 2003 05:53 PM .

D's thoughts.

Posted by: on January 17, 2003 05:14 AM .

*tee hee* I shamefully repurposed what should have been a comment here as yet more so-called content for my own site.

Hey, but as a plus you get comment permalinks, eh ?

Posted by: D on January 17, 2003 06:19 AM .

That was not "so-called" content D - it was high quality content, and I was more than happy to read it there instead of here if it meant little number signs were going to crop up through every thread on my site.

*Ah, little number signs.*

Posted by: on January 17, 2003 01:44 PM .

You can change the look of these BTW if you like... the purpose is to allow direct linking to specific comments. For example, where you say "I wrote stuff here today", you could link right to the comment you wrote rather than to the top of the page. Anchors, baby, anchors.

Posted by: D on January 17, 2003 04:34 PM .



Posted by: Gordon Wasserman on February 10, 2003 07:11 PM .


Posted by: on February 19, 2003 05:56 PM .

How about these? Are they grotesque, or just outrageously marketable?

1. A show called Rajiv Millionaire, where hordes of racist white women vie for the attention of a 5'6" Indian dude who poses as a prince. Watch the winner's reaction as she learns he's a homestay coordinator for Chinese kids in Toronto.

2. Alternatively - and this one is more feasible because the twist is untried - a show called Jew Millionaire. It takes place in, say, South Carolina. And the women are vying for the affection of a real millionaire. At the end of the series he reveals that he's not worth just $1 million, but $100 million. And he's not a white southerner as they believed, he's a Jew. A Canadian Jew.

Posted by: tv on February 21, 2003 07:12 PM .

I've been meaning to tell you, tv, that you should really pitch these.

I think the world is finally ready for you.

Posted by: on March 11, 2004 10:26 AM .


Posted by: on March 11, 2004 10:29 AM .

The United States also has its native Fascists who say that they are
100 percent American...
-- U. S. Army (1945)

Posted by: Party Poker on November 4, 2004 04:43 PM .
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