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Author Topic: MTV Becoming
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 10 August 2003 03:07 AM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Has there been a thread on this before? I know it's four years old already, but I just saw my first episode a while ago -- as it happens, a repeat of the very first episode. I love it! It is so powerfully deconstructive and subversive, it's fantastic. Except I don't know how many of its viewers will see it as such. Surely some of the producers understand it this way. The magic is that it doesn't matter! You can explain the trick and the audience still thinks the rabbit came out of the hat, or whatever.

The premise of the show is that two "nobodies" are selected to "become" their favourite pop star or group and remake a video of that artist. The first show, Amy and Wyatt, two young white Americans, are selected to become Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey. Two people I have never heard of becoming two other people I have never heard of.

Anyhow, when Wyatt is approached at the Krispy Kreme where he works, and told that he has won, he's like this frizzy haired goof who wouldn't have stood out at all in a crowd, no double-take, no head-turning.

Over the course of the show, both of them are styled, groomed, clothed, and then given training in how to act on the video. Of course, this training lasts only a few hours, and for the real video, probably goes on for days, but nonetheless, by the end of the show, these people are considerably more attractive -- much more attractive, actually -- poised, etc. than they were before. Of course, the video isn't as "good" as the original, but neither does it have the budget or the time. It's close enough though, that with the transformation of the "nobodies" and the inside view of the emotive coaching and so on, it offers two lessons:

1. Most people can become as attractive as celebrities, if they have a staff of people dedicated to doing this, and spend most of their time working on it.

2. At some level, someone is consciously manipulating you with every look, affect, and so on that you see in famous people when they appear in videos, on TV, and so on. It's almost all a controlled effect. We're to believe these people have some attributes we don't, which we then desire -- and feeling inadequate as a result, transfer our desire to things we can acquire (beer, CDs, clothes).

Now of course most of us know this intellectually, but to see it exposed is really something. A lesson in maya.

The participants, however, didn't find it educational in the same way. They gushed orgasmically about the brand-name freebies they were given, they were breathless at the fancy hotel they were in, and so on. Both of them said it was a highlight in their life. Then back to the Krispy Kreme or whatever to get donut grease all over those new Guess jeans. Kind of depressing, huh?


From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mycroft_
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2230

posted 10 August 2003 03:19 AM      Profile for Mycroft_     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I saw "MTV Becoming Pink" yesterday and, all I have to say is, like, really liked the way they made her look just like her, you know, and they showed all the work you have to put into, like, making a video and stuff?

[ 10 August 2003: Message edited by: Mycroft ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 10 August 2003 03:20 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Get me a videotape of that. Sounds fascinating, rasmus. Really does. It almost makes me want to watch television again.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
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Babbler # 2

posted 10 August 2003 03:48 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've seen the show a few times. It's pretty weird.
From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Dr. Mr. Ben
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3265

posted 10 August 2003 03:59 PM      Profile for Dr. Mr. Ben   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I dunno, it buys into the whole celebrity system way more than I am comfortable with.
From: Mechaslovakia | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
'lance
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1064

posted 10 August 2003 04:13 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've seen only a couple of episodes myself. But one that stuck in my mind was the buncha goofs who wanted to "become" O-Town -- O-Town being the boy band that came off the production line/TV show "Making The Band."

In short, they didn't even want to "become" a "real" band, but a simulacrum of a real band (scare quotes 'cos we're probably deep into Baudrillard/Matrix territory at this point, and I find that scarier than I probably should).

I'd never looked the show quite the way you analyze it, rasmus, but obviously you're quite right. Still, this "becoming" O-Town business seems to take it to another level -- it all seems, I don't know, delightfully meta, or something.


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1064

posted 10 August 2003 04:13 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
[mysterious doppelganger post, though appropriate to the subject, edited out]

[ 10 August 2003: Message edited by: 'lance ]


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 10 August 2003 07:50 PM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
'lance. That episode you mention -- I want to see it. It's genial. Don't you think the people who made it thought so?

I want a t-shirt that says,

"Powered by

MAYA

Creating illusion for billions of years"

Or something like that. Maybe when my chest fills out more.


From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hawkins
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Babbler # 3306

posted 11 August 2003 11:50 PM      Profile for Hawkins     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Its dribble that Much Music could be filling out with Canadian indy artists during prime time. They have a nice vault of video fact videos that could do well with some play time.

But that would lose the teeny bopper crowd and play more to the confusing later highschool, and university crowd. And no one pays to see a band like The Shrews or the Dears of Kathleen Edwards on tv. (I know they aren't good examples of indy artists because they are all signed to a "major label" but still smaller Canadian bands with the potential to go far).

I am sick of MM trying to be MTV. They should stick to their home country roots a bit more. I know they try, but I say try harder .


From: Burlington Ont | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 12 August 2003 05:20 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I know of the show and have seen bits and pieces of it here and there. Short bits and pieces.

I never thought of Rasmus' take, how it kind of exposes the idea that people look the way they do on music videos when they get out of bed in the morning.

But, what I was seeing was kids being shown it wasn't cool or important being themselves.


I guess it all depends on the state of the mind of the participants. There's nothing wrong with pretend or make believe, as long as context is maintained.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 13 August 2003 01:30 AM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I never thought of Rasmus' take, how it kind of exposes the idea that people look the way they do on music videos when they get out of bed in the morning.

Japanese gossip columns like to print pictures of celebrities in poor shape -- "Cameron Diaz the morning after a night of partying", for example. Here the mainstream media tends to do the opposite -- only to print flattering photos, in effect to operate as part of the confectionery/marketing machine, promoting an image of inaccessible, unattainable glam. Now, why do they do that?

Of course, there are the supermarket tabloids that will run with anything -- "Martha Stewart hits 250 lbs!!!" While the captions are usually exaggerated (Martha may have looked a bit frumpy one day, but not 250 lbs), I bet the images are mostly real.


From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1064

posted 13 August 2003 11:24 AM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Here the mainstream media tends to do the opposite -- only to print flattering photos, in effect to operate as part of the confectionery/marketing machine, promoting an image of inaccessible, unattainable glam. Now, why do they do that?

I think the answer's fairly straightforward. The media are convinced that producing flattering photos -- and playing along with those "frank" (publicist-engineered and -controlled) interviews -- increases ratings and sales. Why exactly they're popular is harder to say, but everyday people, like media people, want to imagine they have some sort of access to the stars. Which the media do, being a part of the star system, though not quite in the way they imagine.

Conversely, any publication that publishes unflattering photos, like any reporter on one of those junket group-interview thingies who asks questions the publicist has already ruled out of order, will find itself blacklisted, its access to whatever star or stars the publicist manages cut off, at least temporarily. And surely loss of access, for a glossy movie celebrity mag or "Inside Hollywood" type TV show, must be sales/ratings death.


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged

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