Join 3,497 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Ruptured?
June 21, 2004 7:20 PM   Subscribe

Any experts out there? Have you been asked to do a show, called "The Debate Show" on "an MTV network"? Well look out: IT'S A TRAP! "The Debate Show" is actually a new Comedy Central program called Crossballs, a "smart, comedic spoof of programs such as Crossfire, Hardball with Chris Matthews, and the entire Fox News Network..." A second amendment activist emerged from a taping with extremely twisted knickers, whilst a privacy advocate barely escaped (this account via bOINGbOING). I'm torn: part of me wants to see the show, and part of me wants to see if enough attention on the web can ruin it...
posted by PinkStainlessTail (62 comments total)

 
Jim March is also a voting rights activist, in addition to being a 2nd amendment activist.

Part of me feels horrible that they would do something like this to him :(
posted by yeoz at 7:33 PM on June 21, 2004


I don't like it. I think there is a definite distinction between shows like this and say, joe schmo. In JS, they know they're on a reality show, which is not what they normally do in their day-to-day lives, it is not their job. Asking experts on to talk about their area of expertise and then tricking them is different and wrong. It could have ramifications for their career.

It's a jerky stupid thing to do, but lately comedy central seems to be showing more and more that unlike the happy accidents of the daily show, and southpark, they can't make a good show to save their lives.
posted by rhyax at 7:35 PM on June 21, 2004


lawsuit waiting to happen
posted by bob sarabia at 7:42 PM on June 21, 2004


Any show with Matt Besser is comedic gold imo.

Here's a lot of good info from fans of the comedians involved.

The talent behind the show is rock-solid. UCB, Mr. Show...it's gonna be good.
posted by jbrjake at 7:52 PM on June 21, 2004


The talent may be solid, but the ethics leaves an awful lot to be desired. If you can't get laughs without ambushing and abusing strangers who never agreed to it, you should really hang it up. Here's hoping those involved can find honest work, and soon.
posted by Zonker at 7:55 PM on June 21, 2004


The bad thing is the apparent intent to tarnish the reputation of the guests. There's a long history of prank shows that mess a bit with people's heads, and we're all amused and then the punch line hits and even the victim can laugh a little at their own expense and move on. When you're essentially setting up someone to perform a hatchet job, though, that's not cool.
posted by weston at 7:56 PM on June 21, 2004


I just saw a promo on Cmedy Central. Hard to judge in 20 seconds, but it didn't look terribly promising. Maybe Brass Eye spoiled me.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:57 PM on June 21, 2004


The bad thing is the apparent intent to tarnish the reputation of the guests.

Seeing how the show began as an improv comedy show without any actual expert guests, I think you're misrepresenting their intentions. The idea is to satirize shows like Crossfire, not to tarnish the reputation of the guests. The experts are there to offer contrast with the ridiculous ideas forwarded by the cast. Sort of like how the stars of Daily Show interviews are the interviewers, not the guests.
posted by jbrjake at 8:01 PM on June 21, 2004


PinkStainlessTail gets it: this sort of thing has a long and noble tradition in the UK, where shows will get celebrities on with the most spurious of pretexts, give them enough rope to hang themselves and then watch the fun.

Like when Brass Eye got Noel Edmonds (one-time 1960s DJ cum-jumper-wearing light entertainment stalwart) to warn kids about the dangers of a new drug called "cake". And every interview Ali G did on the 11 o'clock show ("would you marry a cathlic girl if she was really really fit?" he asked of a north irish protestant politician). And Daisy Donovan on the same show - "would you give Margaret Thatcher a pearl necklace?" she asked of a Tory politican.

The point is that celebrities can be so desperate to get airtime to hawk their cause or themselves that they are just asking to be taken the piss out of. The sort of thing described in the link is no big deal over here and makes some of the best comedy/satire TV I've ever seen.
posted by bonaldi at 8:06 PM on June 21, 2004


jbrjake, that certainly isn't how it was seen by one person who was nearly lured into appearing on the show. From Lauren Weinstein's report, linked above ("privacy advocate"):
[I]ts sole purpose is the embarrassment and humiliation of the expert guests who are brought on expecting a legitimate discussion program. . . .

The stories I read from persons recently on the show included descriptions of crude, sexually-oriented verbal attacks (and worse, like being handed various sexual "apparatus") and concerns that their reputations would be ruined once the shows aired.
Not many good intentions to be seen from that point of view.
posted by Zonker at 8:08 PM on June 21, 2004


... and if they're stupid enough to handle the "apparatus" or do things that will ruin their reputations, so be it.

Do TV companies have a responsibility to only cast interviewees in a positive light? Or to protect their careers? To coddle their subjects, so that they don't have to do anything taxing, like think on their feet in a recorded environment.

"Excuse me, you're clearly taking the piss, I'm off"
posted by bonaldi at 8:15 PM on June 21, 2004


jbrjake, the problem with the Dailyshow comparison, is folks coming onto the Dailyshow Know what its about, and understand they may be ridiculed and hava a laugh, they are in know way ambushed, I think an appropriate analogy would be CrankYankers.... Which itself is a good metaphor for masturbating to the tune of The schadenfreude Suite.

Sad that people find humor in others pain and discomfort, but as Rush said, lets the bois blow off steam... (snarkyness intended). Lack of Compassion does this to a peoples..
posted by Elim at 8:18 PM on June 21, 2004


jbrjake, the problem with the Dailyshow comparison, is folks coming onto the Dailyshow Know what its about, and understand they may be ridiculed and hava a laugh, they are in know way ambushed

I'm talking about the interviews with people like Steve Colbert, not the celebrity guest spot with Jon. Of course the guests in the studio know about the show; someone booked them on it. I mean the people interviewed in the taped segments.
posted by jbrjake at 8:22 PM on June 21, 2004


Bonaldi, they have a obligation to be honest about why there on the show in the first place, Cept Fox, which seems to have won the right to lie and/or sue those who report it.
posted by Elim at 8:22 PM on June 21, 2004


yea, there's nothing funnier than making fun of people that believe in something. voting rights activists are so desperate for attention it's really their fault when they are professionally destroyed.

There's a difference between casting in a positive light, and lying. I'm sure these people are more than willing to think on their feet regarding the topic they were asked to discuss when they agreed to come. I don't like the idea of mocking people who believe in things because their belief makes them an easier target. If that's common in UK television I'm sorry, but just because it's common doesn't mean it's something everyone else should aspire to.
posted by rhyax at 8:23 PM on June 21, 2004


No, it should be aspired to because it makes better comedy television.

Is only because these are worthy causes that everyone's upset? Would you mind if they'd made a programme mocking the beliefs of right-wing nutters or religious zealots?
posted by bonaldi at 8:25 PM on June 21, 2004


The daily show tells its guest they are on 'the Dailyshow" a self admitted Fake news and satire show... it is a known thing, if I get asked to do the show I know I'm getting made fun of.... the Mic Says Dailyshow on it....
posted by Elim at 8:26 PM on June 21, 2004


Not many good intentions to be seen from that point of view.

Zonker, I didn't say the show had good intentions. It's comedy. If we did it your way and humor had to follow ethics entertainment would be damned boring. I just totally disagree with your characterization of the show--and for Weinstein's for that matter--as being solely concerned with insulting the experts. It's not. It's making fun of stupid debate shows and people like Ann Coulter who go on with outrageous opinions just to stoke controversy. The guests are there to be the straight guy who the jokes are bounced off of, just like in any other form of comedy. The cast are there to be Sean Hannity; the guests are there to be Alan Colmes.
posted by jbrjake at 8:27 PM on June 21, 2004


and Elim: does the end justify the means? Would you mind a presenter claiming he was an arms-dealer to expose the corruption of government-sponsored arms agents? A British comedy show did that (the Mark Thomas Comedy Project, IIRC).

Why is it worse to lie to prick pomposity? Catching people off-guard is a staple of comedy.
posted by bonaldi at 8:28 PM on June 21, 2004


We've passed "reality" show as the trend and have now entered "forced scenario" which isn't real, just staged against someone's knowledge. I've personally never been able to watch shows like this, or Crank Yankers, or the Jerky Boys, or Punk'd, or half of what Tom Green did, simply because the idea of watching people be humiliated makes me sad and angry before it makes me want to laugh.

Whenever I watched Michael Moore's old show on Bravo, I would laugh at the PR flaks weaseling their way out of their canned press statements: it's their job to get on camera and lie their ass off and hope they're not called on it. But I never got a giggle out of that first scene in each segment as he enters so-and-so, Inc. corporate headquarters, where the secretary can clearly be seen realizing her day's about to be ruined.

I think it really comes down to seeing it as the guy with the camera gloating over how much power they have over some random bystander. It's like an emotional mugging. I feel sympathy for the violated.

Say what you want about Jessica Simpson, the Osbournes, those mechanic guys, and the dipshits on Jackass but at least they hurt and mock themselves instead of laughing at how they're making other people suffer.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:29 PM on June 21, 2004


Is only because these are worthy causes that everyone's upset? Would you mind if they'd made a programme mocking the beliefs of right-wing nutters or religious zealots?

My examples above actually take one from the left (I think) and one from the right (definitely).

The thing about Chris "hello, I'm a fucking genius of comedy and the world is damned lucky to have me" Morris that seems to be missing here is the "give them enough rope to hang themselves" bit. There's a difference between getting an animal rights activist to come out against weasel fighting in midlands pubs and making lame viagra jokes at the expense of a gun rights supporter.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:36 PM on June 21, 2004


What XQ said.
posted by namespan at 8:39 PM on June 21, 2004


I say reserve judgement until we actually see the show. It's impossible to say anything at all right now.
posted by Tlogmer at 8:41 PM on June 21, 2004


and no... the ends NEVER justify the means., There in lies the excuse for torture, and sadism and god knows what not, which this show is a short step too, Remember the show Scare Tactics on the Scifi Channel that led to a real and much deserved lawsuit?

Or the ambush tactics in the Jenny Jones talkshow?. This CRAP is SICK... Laughing at people in pain is SICK... humor even staged slapstick os okay as a release, and a There but fir the grace of god go I?
posted by Elim at 8:42 PM on June 21, 2004


PinkStainlessTail: That's what I never understand about US TV. It makes some astoundingly smart and funny shows that blow almost everything British TV does off the screen, and then it makes half-assed pale imitation like this one that make me unutterbly proud that we have Chris Morris and they have Tom Green.

I guess I need to be clear that I'm defending the principle of lying to get people on to shows to be made fools of, not this particular, apparently pointlessly crass, implementation.

Elim: The ends of torture don't justify their means because you cant trust what you learned. The ends of lying justify their means because you can reveal truth.
posted by bonaldi at 8:45 PM on June 21, 2004


Dammit, if they're going to fake a talk show, then go all the way and bring back Night Stand with Dick Dietrick.
posted by calwatch at 8:47 PM on June 21, 2004


and no... the ends NEVER justify the means., There in lies the excuse for torture, and sadism and god knows what not, which this show is a short step too

Oh come on. Are you serious? Did you really just say Crossballs is a short step on the road to torture? I'm no philosopher, but isn't that a pretty basic logical fallacy?

Laughing at people in pain is SICK

Um okay that has nothing to do with this show
posted by jbrjake at 8:48 PM on June 21, 2004


I'm with XQUZYPHYR. Attempting to make humor out of someone else's discomfort just sucks. It also sucks that it seems most people don't mind and do find it funny.
posted by whatnotever at 8:53 PM on June 21, 2004


I'm a huge Daily Show fan, but I generally have to turn off the segments where they are interviewing unsuspecting knuckledraggers. It just feels like shooting fish in a barrel and gives me hives.
Then again, I laughed my ass off when the Ali G show gathered a bunch of pompous "experts" to argue creationism vs evolution.
"We're all homo sapiens." "You sure you wanna admit that on TV?"
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:10 PM on June 21, 2004


Color me with XQUZYPHYR as well. I really hate that whole genre of "attack reality". If that's what this show is, then I'll ignore it just like I ignore the rest of them.

That said, the people behind the show are really funny people, so I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt until I've actually it.
posted by dejah420 at 9:11 PM on June 21, 2004


"I'm with XQUZYPHYR. Attempting to make humor out of someone else's discomfort just sucks. It also sucks that it seems most people don't mind and do find it funny.—whatnotever
Damn straight. I find no humor in someone being humiliated, even when I think they deserve it. To answer bonaldi's question, no, it's not okay with me when it's a right-wing not or wacko. In a way, it's worse.

I've never been able to listen to radio-show prank calls and the like. I've never attempted to watch one of the equivalent TV shows. Hell, I cringe and even hide my eyes during fictional situations of this nature. And I don't cringe or look away from pretty much anything else.

That said, there are exceptions. The "ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh" grape stomping woman amused me greatly. Star Wars Kid amused me. Both I felt quilty about, more in the case of the latter. My closest friend is exquisitely sensitive to these types of things, including animal hijinks in which our enjoyment might arguably be mean-spirited. The penguin knocking over the other penguin video is hilarity to me—he finds it disturbing. We've sort of agreed to disagree on this and I can't send him these links. On the other hand, he thought the evil car killling cat was funny and acceptable, because it was obviously fictional. Go figure.

Maybe it's time for a rereading of Poetics. Who's up for a MeFi community seminar? Anyone?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:17 PM on June 21, 2004


SO you think panic and humiliation aren't painful?
well then neither is striping naked and pointing at genitals or taping to a flagpole as a child.. and yes humiliation leads to more and more extreme, hell look at southpark, (a show I love) pushing further and further.

Regular TV, First was RoadRules Then Fear Fatcor, The Swan then Kids Fear factor and supemodel fearfactor, next Special olympic fearfactor or another Midgets vs horse in tug of war? (Oh wait THAT actually happened) , next COPS, (and we all love when the police beat criminals after all they beat them for justice, and the American way and we can laugh at them too the its a bonus,) then Max X so we can laugh at the non-criminal getting beat up, (save a few special shows) Now lets get to Direct to video/pay per view, Wrestling, (Okay faked and scripted but still watching people beat others for fun) then Extreme fighting, (now its not fake and a few deaths, still it all right cause they are athletes) then Bumfights now were are in the realm of Sickness... see that was easy.

Now talk shows, First 60 mins, okay news show for a purpose not for humor so understandable, this IS investigative Journalism, and true some ambushed, then we have Maury Pulvitch and the like howard Stren, some good some crap alot tasteless, and shock galore, to the point of getting a start on tv/radio to makefun of their lovelife and personal life, okay for some at least you know what the show is like before you come on it. then the next thing you get Limbaugh and O'Rielly factor where your 'promised" a fair show but no one in their right minds ever expects bill or rush to be fair or even let the other rube finish a statement, but OKAY EVEN THEN the rube knows he's going into the mouth of madness. next logical step is this new show and the like, LIE to them about the show even the name of the show or the real purpose which is humiliation, next will be a fake death or kidnapping, OH WAIT SCIFI DID that? next a fake threat of personal harm or death, OH WAIT SCIFI DID that too? what next? gee what cn we get away with? lets find out, ala southpark... we can afford the lawsuits...


none of this crap I made up...
and yes its crap.
Bread and Circuses, history repeats (didn't we allready have a show called American Gladiators?)

Well that was a refreshing rant.....
posted by Elim at 9:17 PM on June 21, 2004


I wonder if the outrage over this is a cultural thing - Americans are far more PC than the British and their (former or current) colonies. Americans apparently only like to laugh at other people's pain or discomfort when they send videos to a TV station willingly.

This show seems similar to the interviews that Ali G does with people who have obviously been booked onto the show without any real idea of what is going to happen. If you put yourself into a situation like this without either knowing what the show is about or checking on it first, you pretty much deserve what you get. It seems that there are people so keen to get their head on TV that they will accept any old invitation without a thought. It looks like the producers of this show are pushing the line a bit, however, by being coy about the name of the show while stopping just short of actually lying. if you accept a guest spot on the Ali G show, you have no legitimate complaint when you are made to look like a fool, but if you were booked to appear on one show then ended up on something completely different, that would be over the line.
posted by dg at 9:24 PM on June 21, 2004


Do TV companies have a responsibility to only cast interviewees in a positive light?

They have a responsibilty not to lie to people about what show they're appearing on. That's flat-out, deceitful, no-better-than-a-swindler fraud. That's fooling people into giving their consent to something that they don't actually consent to do, which is deeply immoral.

And I don't particularly give a damn if there's fine print in a contract somewhere that obfuscates around the truth. If a representative of the show tells you that you're going to be on The Debate Show, a serious show, and you're actually going to be on Crossballs, that should be actionable.

At an absolute, bare minimum, they owe it to their victims to fully disclose what happened at the end of their taping and give them an opportunity to have their footage destroyed.

It's one thing to say that you're from the Daily Show, and hope that people don't know what that is. It's quite a different thing to actively lie about what show someone is going to be on.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:29 PM on June 21, 2004


I'll have to see it to judge. Pranks can run the gamut of bad taste to quality satire.

In general I don't think there's much harm being done. So the conversation they're in isn't serious. Their reputation will suffer no damage if they know how to handle themselves.
posted by destro at 9:31 PM on June 21, 2004


Penn and Teller must be doing something similar to get some of the people they have on "Bullshit." But at least they're not embarrassing their guests -- they let the guests do that themselves.
posted by kindall at 9:33 PM on June 21, 2004


Dammit, if they're going to fake a talk show, then go all the way and bring back Night Stand with Dick Dietrick.

Night Stand was... OK, but our nation turns its lonely eyes to Martin Mull and Fred Willard and the "2 Night" franchise. Fresh, unpredictable... and nobody got hurt.

Well, except for Barth's brother Garth, of course, what with the Christmas Tree in his back. But aside from that.
posted by soyjoy at 9:58 PM on June 21, 2004


snip--and by snipping, Elim, I don't mean to slight all of what you wrote, most of which I agree with, I'm just saving some lines in a thread where I've already taken up too much space
history repeats
I'd just add that this goes back a lot further, with shows like Candid Camera.

I totally agree that television is devolving. I am not a reality tv fan (except for fake reality tv like Reno 911) just for that reason. I am aware that American culture is near degeneration into a situation reminiscent of ancient Rome, with a proletariat distracted by Jerry Springer and Jackass and beer commercials. I read 1984 for the first time in late 2001, and Orwell's description of dystopic television struck me as prescient and very telling about television today. However, I think it's arguable that shows like Hardball and Crossfire are more significant elements in that devolution, and that Crossballs overtly seeks to criticize such programming. Satire's goal is to mock, but with the kind of talent behind Crossballs, I'm hoping they're using satire in its truest sense, where the mockery serves to point out real flaws and work to change them. Maybe I'm being idealistic, and maybe the same thing could be said for my thinking that the experts are there for comic juxtaposition--to act as straight men for the wacky improv antics of Matt Besser and Jerry Minor. I'll find out when I catch an episode of the show in a few weeks.

SO you think panic and humiliation aren't painful?

Panic? Panic isn't painful, panic released adrenaline. It feels good, unfortunately. That's why people like roller coasters, right? Panic paired with humiliation, or humiliation alone, of course those are painful. What I'm objecting to is your slippery slope argument that Crossballs is a step on the way to Abu Ghraib. I don't think that's logically sound. That's all. In an extremely narrow sense it's like Santorum's odious argument that gay marriage leads to man-on-dog sex. I do not think dealing with cartoony improvised characters for an hour on a television set (did they get paid? I dunno) causes the same kind of panic and humiliation that well...let me see what you had to say

well then neither is striping naked and pointing at genitals or taping to a flagpole as a child.. and yes humiliation leads to more and more extreme, hell look at southpark, (a show I love) pushing further and further.

Okay all I'm saying is that appearing on Crossballs is not anything like being stripped naked and having one's genitals pointed at or being taped to a flagpole as a child. Compare it to Candid Camera. Compare it to stupid morning FM dj pranks. Compare it to Ali G. But that stuff? I just don't see how they're related. And I also disagree with the idea that these people's careers are in jeopardy. Anyone *watching* the show is going to know these people aren't in on the joke, and they aren't going to be blamed for it.

I'm a South Park fan too. I'm intrigued that you think each season is getting more and more extreme. IMO, the worst they got was that intense Cartman-centric episode from season 4 where he fed that kid his parents. It's seemed to me that the show's gotten a bit of a soul, more recently. Maybe it was just Norman Lear's influence, but I think he taught Matt and Trey some valuable lessons about making characters "pay the price" for actions and other television grammar--stuff Matt and Trey probably thought were tv conventions since they were sappy, but which really are because they increase the dramatic effect.
posted by jbrjake at 10:02 PM on June 21, 2004


The daily show tells its guest they are on 'the Dailyshow" a self admitted Fake news and satire show... it is a known thing, if I get asked to do the show I know I'm getting made fun of.... the Mic Says Dailyshow on it....


The Daily Show says who they are, but not everyone they interview knows...Like last week when they spoke about voting in California: "Now, can you take that long-ass answer and put it in a nutshell like I asked you?"
posted by birdherder at 11:03 PM on June 21, 2004



Ali G, Schmali G.

Norman Gunston, The Little Aussie Bleeder, was doing that shit before Ali G was even born. Truly the father of the genre.

Maybe (?).

...the hapless reporter tackled the big names in show biz, including a laughing Ray Charles and an unamused Rudolph Nureyev. Gunston's hysterical interviews with the likes of Frank Zappa, Paul and Linda McCartney, Sally Struthers (from US sitcom All In The Family), Keith Moon (who responded by pouring champagne over Norman's head) and later, Kiss, are the stuff of legend.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:18 PM on June 21, 2004


The Hollywood Left is apparently so angry, so hateful and so committed to foisting their political views on the American public, that they are ignoring these people in America -

• the people who just spent $109 million in 5 days to go see "Shrek 2"


To derail a bit, did anyone else catch this in the second link? Is there something in Shrek 2, which I found hilarious, that makes it somehow a conservative thing?
posted by TungstenChef at 1:49 AM on June 22, 2004


As previously stated, this has been done by Ali-G in the UK. I'm not sure what the segment was called, but it was very funny. There's an assumption that the guests (who had no idea what was going on) were embarrasingly ridiculed, but I think a more accurate term would be "made fun of. Slightly".

They were asked inane questions, which they couldn't hope to answer, but the overall impression I got was that it was the concept ("Bringing Politiks to da Kidds") which was being parodied. They were made to look a bit stupid, but for the most part, they just came over as slightly confused & well meaning people.

The stuff where Brass Eye interviews celebrities is much, much nastier.
posted by seanyboy at 2:17 AM on June 22, 2004


Is there something in Shrek 2, which I found hilarious, that makes it somehow a conservative thing?

there's a talking ass in it
posted by mr.marx at 2:37 AM on June 22, 2004


*zing!*
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:02 AM on June 22, 2004


Following on from what uncanny hengeman and seanyboy have said, the antics of Norman Gunston and Ali G have allowed people to make fools of themselves. Those who aren't so far up their own backsides that they can't see daylight tend to come out of the experience without looking at all bad. The quoted Norman Gunston interview with Ray Charles and the classic Tony Benn interview (you don't get Tony Benn's amusement in the transcript) showed both of them in a good light. In fact, I think that the previously quoted interview with George Paton (Orange Lodge Grandmaster in N Ireland) shows him in a good light (in reference to their marching band):

  • Ali : Is you knocking out a drum and bass sound or is it more speed garage?

  • George : *pause* Er, different drummers have different styles.


  • Classic ...

    When pressed on whether he would marry a Catholic he calmly repeated that he wouldn't and Ali G ended up saying "So you really believe this stuff then!"

    Those who do badly in these kind of situations are those who aren't prepared to debate, but just want to force others to accept their point of view.
    posted by daveg at 3:30 AM on June 22, 2004


    Note to those outraged here: do you really think that these kinds of debate pieces on legitimate news programmes are more than carefully-contrived artifices? Quite often, they're not. Just as 'representative samples' of opinion in print pieces, especially for foreign reporting, are friends-of-friends of the stringer who are asked to the pub for free drinks.
    posted by riviera at 4:21 AM on June 22, 2004


    Riviera, among the outraged comments here, I don't recall seeing outrage targeted at poor standards for journalism. Poor standards for human decency, yes. Journalistic standards, not so much.
    posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:32 AM on June 22, 2004


    It's one thing to say that you're from the Daily Show, and hope that people don't know what that is. It's quite a different thing to actively lie about what show someone is going to be on.
    posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:29 PM CST on June 21


    This is the crux, I think.
    posted by Ynoxas at 6:40 AM on June 22, 2004


    I'm amazed it's taken this long for anyone to mention this (and on preview, riviera has), but debate shows like Crossfire and Hardball are already a farce. Most of the time an effort is made to find the two talking heads with the most polarized views. Any supposed "debate" consists of them yelling at each other within five minutes. No middle ground is found. No points are conceded.

    Anyone who can actually debate shouldn't lose standing by being on this show unless it's aimed at outright character bashing. Encountering the ridiculous shouldn't derail your point -- if it does, then maybe you need to go back to the drawing board.
    posted by mikeh at 6:52 AM on June 22, 2004


    Is there something in Shrek 2, which I found hilarious, that makes it somehow a conservative thing?

    there's a talking ass in it
    posted by mr.marx at 2:37 AM PST on June 22


    [Ooh, snaps!]
    posted by nofundy at 7:11 AM on June 22, 2004


    This thread wasn't really worth reading until 2:37AM PST.
    posted by snarfodox at 7:33 AM on June 22, 2004


    Clicking on the links in the post, I discovered extremely shrill screeds by two people, neither of whom actually appeared on the show! I couldn't locate the account by James March, which was supposedly "attached" to the GOPUSA article.

    Can anybody locate first-hand accounts of guests who've been "ambushed?" This is nothing but hearsay and innuendo so far.
    posted by junkbox at 7:54 AM on June 22, 2004


    we have Chris Morris and they have Tom Green

    Woah! Woah! Woah! WOAH! ... *We* do not have Tom Green. Tom Green is Canadian. You can saddle the US with plenty of unfunny shows, but don't blame us for that idiot.
    posted by Bonzai at 8:17 AM on June 22, 2004


    Wahhh... it's about time someone took the talking heads down a peg. These are people who willingly go on shows to spout their views. Were it not for their own self-aggrandizement, the pundits wouldn't be there at all.
    posted by ph00dz at 8:20 AM on June 22, 2004


    To build on what mikeh said, The Daily Show has the occasional Great Moments in Punditry segment, wherein children read transcripts from talk shows. Wrap up temper tantrums and bullying in the guise of a public affairs discussion show, and it'll still be temper tantrums and bullying.

    I get uncomfortable watching people hang themselves during Daily Show interviews, but if the talking heads' handlers aren't taking the time to find out what kind of show it is before booking the interview, that's their problem. Only once have I seen an interviewee realize that the whole thing's a put-on and tell off the correspondent. That the tables were turned only made the segment that much funnier. I do worry that the show's reputation will keep people from appearing, and Jon Stewart's interview last night (did someone give him a little extra coffee? I've never seen him on the attack like that) will start to scare people off. Hey, no good ride goes on forever.

    Having said that, I think our national discourse would be much improved by putting the nation's pundits in the middle of Shea Stadium, giving the crowd firearms and letting the cameras roll. Put it on pay-per-view, and we'd wipe out the national debt.
    posted by RakDaddy at 9:44 AM on June 22, 2004


    I just don't see how they're related.

    They're related because they both depend on not seeing the other person as a human being like yourself. If you can identify with a person being stripped and humiliated, you're less likely to do it to someone; the same goes for someone being ambushed on TV and humiliated. Of course they're not on anywhere near the same level of violation, but they are related. "Oh, that's just a
    [towelhead/talking head} -- who cares what happens to him?" I despise that attitude. And if you can't see the difference between knowingly putting yourself in a position where humiliating things may happen ("Sure, I'll be on 'Who Wants to Marrry a Jackass'!") and being the victim of misrepresentation, you're not real good at analysis. But hey, if anyone takes ideas seriously enough to want to debate them, they're suckers who deserve it, right?
    posted by languagehat at 9:57 AM on June 22, 2004


    (First [bracket] should be an
    {angle bracket}, like the second. Grr.)
    posted by languagehat at 10:04 AM on June 22, 2004


    jbrjake: Anyone *watching* the show is going to know these people aren't in on the joke, and they aren't going to be blamed for it.

    I have a lot less faith in the TV viewing public. How many viewers would have got a first impression of Lauren from this show? I'd bet the vast majority. And I wouldn't give a producer who lied up front any trust to not edit the show in an unflattery and deceptive way to make it "funnier". Lauren's activism requires people to trust him and not to think he is some tin foil hat nut job.
    posted by Mitheral at 10:43 AM on June 22, 2004


    Oh, nononono. Canada has properly disposed of Tom Green. Just because Drew Barrymore found him wanting doesn't matter.

    The warranty has expired. You broke him, you bought him.
    posted by chicobangs at 11:28 AM on June 22, 2004


    Jon Stewart's interview last night (did someone give him a little extra coffee? I've never seen him on the attack like that) will start to scare people off.

    Yeah, that was odd. Although I think he knew the other guy was up for some relatively vigorous debate. It certainly didn't seem like he minded all that much.

    Personally I'm gratefull that the filmed segments appear to be growing a pair. They were getting past painfully dull, and if you are going to occasionally go for it, it's probably best to save it for a year that counts. Like this one.
    posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:48 PM on June 22, 2004


    Any supposed "debate" consists of them yelling at each other within five minutes. No middle ground is found. No points are conceded.

    And they're both laughing it up over complimentary drinks in the bar, five minutes after the cameras are turned off. Because anyone who doesn't buy into that chum-nity thing isn't invited back.
    posted by riviera at 12:57 PM on June 22, 2004



    Oh, nononono. Canada has properly disposed of Tom Green. Just because Drew Barrymore found him wanting doesn't matter.

    The warranty has expired. You broke him, you bought him.


    *fumes*

    Maybe we can trick the Australians into taking him. They still owe us for Yahoo Serious.
    posted by Bonzai at 2:06 PM on June 22, 2004


    « Older Rowland resigns....  |  (FPA: First Post Alert) A cent... Newer »


    This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments