Tuesday, February 03, 2009

As I was saying. . . .

Before humans were so progressive and advanced, marriage was a sacred thing -- a sacrament. An outward sign of an internal, sanctifying grace.

Looking at it this way, matrimony was a manner of a man and a woman helping one another to get to Heaven. It was how men and women got to model God -- model the Holy Trinity, with the love of the first two persons producing a third . . . a child.

"We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son."

BUT THAT'S NOT important now. What's important is whether we can entertain the masses with matrimony -- whether there's a buck (or several million) to be made off it.

Marriage: It's not the stuff of love and life anymore. It's a programming concept for reality television. It's a profit center for network bean counters.

On television in this postmodern age, according to The Live Feed,
it's nothing sacred:
The network has ordered a new series from the producers of "Top Chef" that puts lovelorn singles into arranged marriages.
The show introduces four adults age approximately 25-45 who are anxious to get married but have been unsuccessful in their search for a mate. Their friends and family select a spouse for them, and the newly paired couple exchange marital vows. The series follows their marriages.

The rest of the details for the project, whose early working title is "Arranged Marriage," are being kept under wraps.

The series is from Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth of Magical Elves, which launched "Project Runway" on Bravo and produces the network's "Top Chef."

It is the second series greenlighted by CBS' new reality chief Jennifer Bresnan, following the recent order for "Block Party," a competition among neighboring families.

The series order for "Marriage" shows CBS is not shying away from reality projects that might draw a few pointed editorials in the wake of the network's previous envelope-pushing social experiment, the fall 2007 series "Kid Nation."

The marriage series comes on the heels of CBS' success with traditional scripted fare this past fall, led by hit new procedural "The Mentalist."

Although it might seem surprising that CBS would opt for a potentially hot-button series when it's on a roll with tried-and-true concepts, reality TV is unlike scripted. New dramas and comedies can get away with showing merely the slightest twist on a decades-old format. But reality shows are built on taking chances with social experiments and competitions giving viewers something they have not seen before.

I CAN'T WAIT for the sequel. Maybe something involving divorce and firearms.

After all, on "Network," Howard Beale bought the farm on live television. Assassinated because of slumping ratings.


Not a wine critic said...

To be fair, arranged marriages have worked for many centuries along those same lines. But they worked in cultures in which people recognized serious familial obligations that overrode personal preferences. People also recognized that happiness and love are not things that one is guaranteed; you have to work at it.

Of course there were plenty of examples of abusive marriages in such cultures. But were there more than there are in our own, hyperindividualistic, instant-gratification culture? That is something I don't think anyone has seriously tried to find out.

The Mighty Favog said...

I don't dispute that. They have worked -- and can work -- in the context of times and cultures where that's just how things are done.

By the same token, though, horrible abuses are possible in this system as well, as you note.

My overriding objection, however, isn't the possibility of a carefully considered arranged marriage brokered by people with noble motives and sufficient information. It is, instead, that it's all being done for sport . . . for the amusement of the masses.

And the more fireworks, the better, right?

This is a debasement of the entire concept of matrimony, arranged or otherwise. Marriage is a sacred thing, and these TV bastards are manipulating people into arranged ones as some sort of mad-scientist experiment -- not for the end of gaining knowledge (depite the problematic means) but instead for the sake of kicks and giggles.

It's all bread and circuses, and we're starting to run out of the bread.