To watch TV is to machete your way through the weeds of reality TV shows where bad people behave badly, cops chase criminals through a labyrinth of alleys, and animal rangers rescue sick and dying animals from those charged with caring for them. Apprentices cut throat each other in the name of charity. Good cooks out cook each other, bad cooks out cook themselves, bakers bake ludicrous edifices out of cake (who wants a Christmas tree made out of cake?), storage unit bidders bid, house flippers flip, house stagers stage, realtors groom house buyers to buy with all kinds of shameless tricks, large southern men (who appear to be the flavor d’jour) discover America or repossess vehicles.
I don’t know who started this but I do recall Mike Rose as one of the first. Now he is my favorite. I will not hold his show responsible for the devil’s spawn it released, if spawn them it did. But he does seem to have opened our voyeuristic appetite for gargantuan men, in tank tops, sweating and grunting as they wield their power tools. But I digress, night after night bounty hunters hunt, motor bike riders ride and build motor bikes, junk kings build cars out of junk (now that is impressive), top shooters competing to be the top shot, and who could forget those sordid bachelor and bachelorette “let me sleep with every one left on the team, night after rose petal filled night and I will tell you who I really love” shows? Into this slovenly and confusing march of the ordinary and the less than ordinary comes Secret Millionaire. Impossible to watch without crying. I challenge you to try it. ABC’s The Secret Millionaire, where Danni Johnson finds unsung heroes in Knoxville, Tennessee. She stumbled upon The Love Kitchen, begun and staffed by 83 year old twins Ellen and Helen. Their hot soup kitchen is groaning under the weight of a 60% increase in demand for their services; the Joy of Music academy offers underfunded children the opportunity to enjoy, learn and excel at music, the teams of painters and cleaners, the seamstress who sewed quilts and the carpenter donating his time in Special Spaces building bedrooms for desperately ill children. And all this human kindness and excellence made possible by volunteers.
Danni concludes her trip into the extraordinary with “Give a smile, give a hug, give what yah got”.
Now do not write this down. Between us. Strictly ‘off the record’. As hard as it is for this ½ Scot to admit it - I may have been wrong. I may just have to cancel my chagrin at reality TV. Wait. Nope, next show is about pampered, desperate housewives, chagrin is back.
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