Thursday, January 10, 2008

You must be very proud

I pretty much live for Wheel of Fortune anymore. Every day at 6:30, I'm there, guessing the puzzles, appreciating how Vanna White's sole job was to turn around the letters and she doesn't even have to do that anymore, laughing along as Pat Sajak pretends he's just a harmless buffoon rather than the frothing patron saint of the black-helicopter crowd, and, what I find most enjoyable, passing judgment on the contestants.

Every night, after the first toss-up puzzle, Sajak interviews the players. Each player introduces him- or herself, then Pat asks them to "tell us a little something about yourself." That's suposed to be a cue to say something interesting. "I like to skydive," maybe, or "I'm a black belt in aikido, or "I lost a leg in the Panama invasion." Or even, "I'm studying to be a (fill-in-the-blank)." But nine times out of ten, they lead with the fact that they're married -- to a spouse they invariably describe as "wonderful." Big fucking deal. I'm married, too. And she really is wonderful. And our kid is so wonderful that if he happens to crap all over your furniture, I'm just going to laugh it off -- Isn't he CUTE? -- but none of that is interesting in the least. These people are boring and stupid.

But some are even more boring and stupid than the usual, which brings us to the pathetic critter who crawled up onto the set on Tuesday. When the time came to introduce herself, this is what she offered:

"I'm from Oxford, Mississippi, I work for my church, and I love reality television."

And that was it.

Hey, I love reality TV, too. Live for it, even. I watched every season of The Apprentice, including the Martha Stewart version. Survivor, Project Runway, Project Greenlight, Property Ladder, Iron Chef -- they've all been in heavy rotation at our house. And don't get me started on MTV. I've like totally been a little bitch for The Hills, Making the Band and, at one time, The Real World.

But the difference between me and the Wheel contestant is this: I understand that loving reality television is nothing to be proud of. It's something to be ashamed of. They call such things "guilty pleasures" because you're supposed to feel bad for liking them. When you go on Wheel of Fortune (itself a guilty pleasure) and proclaim without even a touch of hipster irony that you like this garbage? Oh, that's just sad.

Needless to say, she wasn't a winner. And she didn't do very well on the show, either.