Friday, July 09, 2004
Being that it’s a slow time of year, I’m actually working on launching a new show instead of the dating show I usually write for.
My company is producing a new talk show with a moderately known personality, and while it’s nothing groundbreaking, it at least has the surface appearance of trying to help people rather than exploit and humiliate them.
We were working on a few ideas where the host would be talking about personal responsibility, about realizing your potential and about dealing with internal issues as a path to improving your life. More specifically, the thought was how things like plastic surgery can often be just another excuse for not dealing with real problems, problems on the inside. Sure, maybe it’s a bit contrived, but food for thought, nonetheless.
Then we had a meeting with THE MAN. THE HEAD HONCHO. THE BIG BOSS.
He wasn’t buying it. He told us that people—or more specifically, women who would be watching this show—did want all those things, and who were we to be telling them that these things might be bad?
We had written about nose jobs, boob jobs, tummy tucks, chin lifts, liposuction and Botox.
He was telling me all these things are part of Middle America’s dream.
I thought about the great responsibility that comes—or at least should be considered—when writing for a mass audience.
He was saying that people eat what they’re fed.
This may be true. People often do eat what they’re fed and believe what they hear, but I had to wonder: Why can’t we put out a positive message?
If I had asked this out loud, he’d tell me that good ratings pay my salary, but positive messages don’t equal good ratings.
And then I’d wonder: When will I become that cynical?