Reality Bites: Is 'Stars Earn Stripes' Really Where TV Is Headed?
I'm really not a TV snob. Nobody loves reality TV more than I do. I mean, put me in front of a Hoarders marathon with a bag of vinegar chips and a two liter of Coke and I'm in heaven. I can rattle off the names of the entire casts of Real Housewives of Any City, quicker than I can recall my kid's birth dates, and I never miss an episode of Millionaire Matchmaker, even though Patti Stanger's lips and voice make me cringe. But this time, they've gone too far, even for me. I am talking about the new NBC reality series Stars Earn Stripes; set to premier on August 13th, with your host, GENERAL WESLEY CLARK. If the name is unfamiliar to you, you may remember him as the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, of NATO. SUPREME! That of course was after a decorated military career in Vietnam, The Balkans and the Gulf War..the big one. Yes, that guy. He will now be holding the same title as Bob Barker.
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From what I gather, the basic premise of the Supreme Commander's show, is that a group of barely celebrities, get paired up with a former military person or police officer and compete against each other to win a cash prize for military veterans and first responder based charities. General Clark once led men into battle, hoping they wouldn't get their heads blown off. Now his biggest missions will include preventing Nick Lachey from chipping a tooth while pretending to be a Green Beret, and Sarah Palin's husband Todd, (YES! This is what I'm telling you!) from addressing the cameras, at all, for any reason.
In an interview Supreme Commander Clark says "The show is designed to honor everyone who ever served in uniform and protected our country." I don't buy it. Not only do I not buy it and will I not watch it, it infuriates me. My ex husband went to the Gulf War, and came home a different man. He left full of life and inner fire. When he returned, the fire was out. He is haunted by images only he can see, and lives daily with the guilt of being "one of the lucky ones," who made it home. Alive? Yes. Whole? No. Somehow I do not think he will find honor in Eve Torres, female dancer, model, wrestler, being lowered from a helicopter, looking ready to go to the MTV Movie Awards.
I'm terrified, America. 50 Shades of Grey is the 1 2 and 3 bestseller in the states with the sharpest sentence being "My legs are suddenly the consistency of jello" and now, one of our most famous patriots is teaming up with Samantha Harris of Dancing with the Stars. The star of Surviving Gilligan's Island will be teaming up with a Presidential Medal of Honor holder for sport.
I think it's great that the money will be going to military and first response charities, but surely there is a more dignified way of doing this. Start a foundation, become a spokesman for these people, bring their plight into the American focus, with honor and dignity, but this... Really?
It takes a lot to get me mad in regard to television; sure, I am distraught about Thirty Rock being cancelled, however, that is more of a deep, lingering sadness as opposed to anger. I assume, the General has given up ever running for President again, unless maybe it's of a floundering television network. I guess we need to accept the fact that we live in a country where the need to be seen and become famous at any cost, apparently reigns SUPREME.
What do you think? One man's odd career choice, or the state of the Nation?