Sunday, September 12, 2010

America's Funniest? Home Videos

I hate to be a wet blanket, really.
But I have to say I'm disappointed with tonight's winning submission on "America's Funniest Home Videos."
First, let me state clearly that if I can avoid this show I usually do. I'd rather watch football, frankly, and that's saying a lot, since I despise football.

Tonight's $10,000 grand prize went to a family from Waite Park MN (a suburb near here). The hilarity offered up and preferred by hundreds of Americans? A video of a 6 year old with stomach flu sitting on the toilet crying "Why do I have to do this? I'll never be able to get off the toilet!? This is terrible!!" That's right folks, a woman with a crying, sick, pooping child had the presence of mind to grab a video camera and film him. Why? "Some of things coming out of his mouth were just really funny," she says. No pun intended I suppose. And then she watched it enough times to think Hey, I should send this in to AFV!


Almost as bad is the fact that my husband laughed through the whole thing. Funny to an adult, maybe, once you've lived through the experience a bunch of times and understand that in America, stomach flu generally won't kill you. Not funny to me as a Mom though.

I am a wet blanket, I admit it.

Honestly, these videos of rotten things happening to kids and old people are the primary reason I hate that show. God help those poor souls who have to pre-screen the submissions -- I'm sure they see some truly sick shit. Probably not "Faces of Death," or at least I hope not. But still.

Meanwhile, every Sunday night (and several other times a week I'm sure), we can sit in our livingrooms and yuk it up while little kids crash their bicycles, jump off broken diving boards and get scared witless by siblings or parents leaping out at them in frightening costumes. We can watch drunken senior citizens fall off folding chairs at wedding receptions, and see our idiotic neighbors attempt strange stunts like cutting the cord on a plugged-in TV set with a pair of scissors, or tricking the dog into growling savagely and biting at its own hind foot.

Videos will be judged for inclusion in shows and for prizes on the basis of their humor and/or uniqueness. Examples of videos that have been considered include those showing silly blunders at social occasions; unexpected foul-ups involving children; animal antics; slip-ups during sports or vacation activities; bloopers during plays, recitals, parades or speeches; celebrity impersonations; home music videos; natural phenomena; life's annoyances and oddball news events.

Apparently that last one was admitted under the category "animal antics." I admit, occasionally I do watch more than five minutes of the show, and sometimes I laugh at something genuinely funny, the rare video depicting only gentle humor. Sometimes, the good ones even win. Because my husband watches the show, I too have watched it, and it isn't all garbage.

But I can't figure out why we as a nation got so upset when a family bucking for reality-show fame faked their child's accidental launching in a homemade balloon; after all, if it had actually happened, and they'd rescued the scared crying kid after a couple minutes of him being stuck in a tree in his balloon, we might very well have voted them America's funniest family and awarded them ten grand.

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