Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Bar Can Always Be Set Lower.

I've been seeing promos and reading things about Fox's The Moment of Truth. This is the show where the contestant gets hooked up to a lie detector and then, in front of an audience, friends and family, they ask you questions you can't possibly answer truthfully without fucking up your entire life. Last week, some woman sat there and admitted, in front of her NYC policeman husband of two years, that she a.) had cheated on him since they'd been married and b.) she'd leave her husband for an ex-boyfriend if he asked her to. Then, she went on to lie about something else, thereby losing the money and leaving with less than squat.

The promos I saw last night show a.) the host saying they wouldn't have aired that bit if he'd had a vote, b.) some woman being asked if she's a better mother to her kids than her mother had been to her (cut to mother looking horrified), and c.) the voice over saying, "don't miss the question that brought on a nervous breakdown", or something to that effect.

I haven't seen this show and I have no plans to watch it. I feel filthy enough just seeing the commercial. What on earth are these idiots thinking to go on to the show in the fist place. Granted, the show is in its first season and producers are certainly not above soft selling how personal the questions will be, but c'mon. Just imagine yourself contemplating applying to be on this show. You know they're going to hook you up to a lie detector. You know that you only win by answering honestly. Geez, ya think they'll ask you if you like vanilla? Maybe they'll ask if you ever lied to your parents when you were a kid? Or maybe they're gonna ask things like, "Does your boss smell like a swamp and have the intellect of a soapdish?" or maybe, "Do you regularly take money out of the collection plate when it comes by in church?"


Bear baiting was high entertainment once. Ditto throwing Christians to the lions. Stoning someone to death is still a real crowd pleaser in some parts of the world. And just when you start thinking we're any better than they are (or were), along comes something like The Moment of Truth. On the one hand, its gotten really crappy ratings, which have fallen off every week, but I'll be interested in seeing how it scores tonight. After all, they've gotten a lot of attention from last week's train wreck and they're promising more tonight. I'm betting they get a boost tonight what with all the idjits cheering for the lions.


Random Michelle K said...

That's just plain vile.

Americans have a high enough divorce rate as it is. Not like we need any more help in that area.


Thanks for reminding me why I don't watch TV except when it comes out on DVD.

Nathan said...

To be fair, I can't imagine that the moron in question actually needed the TV show to fuck up her marriage. She'd already done that herself. But going on National TV to seal the deal really does take the prize.

Janiece said...

Nathan, I am proud to say I had never even heard of this show until I read your entry.

Because, like Michelle says - vile.

Reality T.V. is BARRED from our household. If I want to watch people behaving badly, I only have to watch the news...

Nathan said...

That's the thing, though. I like some reality TV. I still like Survivor. Sure its got some jaw-drop moments and people lie and cheat, but its all harmless. And it also, more or less, happens on its own because the participants decide that's what they want to do.

The Moment of Truth couldn't possibly be anything other than a life killing abomination. Its set up that way.

Vile might be too nice a word.

vince said...

As H. L. Mencken said, "No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people."

That, of course, does not apply to any of the people that post on this great blog.

neurondoc said...

Yipes, I hadn't even heard of this show until now. I think I'd rather watch reruns of Joanie Loves Chachi than this show. To be honest, I'd rather watch 48 hours straight of golf on TV than this bilge.

Tania said...

I'll watch American Idol. But not this show. I've changed stations when we come across it.

Eric said...

You know what pisses me off about this show, which I've never seen and can't watch because I don't have cable and don't want to set up rabbit ears? What pisses me off is there's no fucking such thing as a 'lie detector'. It's called a fucking polygraph. It measures respiration, skin conductivity, heart rate. The notion that it can detect honesty is based on the scientifically unverified notion that lying causes stress which can be measured through simple physiological changes; well maybe it does and maybe it doesn't.

It was more-or-less invented by the guy who created Wonder Woman. When most other psychologists and J. Edgar Hoover's FBI told him he was full of shit, he started using it to sell Gillette razor blades. No shit. I'm not making that up.

I already have a hard enough time explaining to some of my clients that there's no such thing as a lie detector, and that the test results aren't admissible in court and even if they were my clients could flunk it just by getting scared during the test. And now, thanks to those asstards at Fox, it's only a matter of time before I explain to a client that it's not a lie detector, it's a polygraph and its pseudoscientific bunk, and the client's going to say, "Nuh-uh, I saw it on television."

That's if I'm lucky. If I'm not lucky, my client and I will be having this conversation after he's signed a "confession" that was wrung out of him when a law-enforcement officer has claimed the client flunked. Because, you see, the polygraph is good for one thing as a law enforcement tool. The way it works, is you get the guy to agree to the polygraph, and then--regardless of his actual reactions, you tell him he's "flunked" and the "lie detector" proves it. You give a good enough performance, really sell it, you can get a confession pretty easily--hell, it might even be a true confession, but it doesn't matter. A false confession will usually close a case up just as neatly as a real one.

I'm sorry, what was that? Why would someone confess to something that wasn't true even if confronted with their alleged failure on a polygraph examination? Maybe you never heard of Asch's experiments on conformity?

Yet another example of a damn TV show making people stupider. Thanks, Fox. You're definitely not part of the damn solution.

Nathan said...

Thanks Eric, didn't mean to push that button. In the interests of full disclosure, I don't know if they use the term "lie detector" vs. "polygragh" not that it makes much difference. I'm the one guilty of saying lie detector.

I'm furious at this show because it makes my industry look like a bunch of trash hauling, opportunistic, let everyone fucking die to get one more mouth-breather to watch the show conspiracy. Most of us would rather do something worth watching.

No high-horse here. I'm just looking for my next job and hoping that its entertaining. Some people make national policy; some mop the bathrooms at the rest stops on interstates. I find the perfect place for Steven Seagal to beat the crap out of a bunch of nameless Chinese guys.

When you bring me a script that I'm fairly certain will result in actual suicides, murders or both, I draw the line. Just me, I guess.

It never occurred to me the impact this POS would have on what you do. Guess, I just didn't think in that direction. You're right, of course.

Eric said...

Sorry if I got too ranty. I'm under the impression that they bill it as a lie detector. Well, hell, the name of the show is The Moment Of Truth and not The Moment When The Sympathetic Nervous System Undergoes Spontaneous Changes As A Possible Unconscious Reaction To Stress Induced By Questioning.

The bottom line is that the show is morally indefensible for a lot of reasons: the ones you've mentioned, the ones I raved about, and probably for other reasons, too. It's shit.

Random Michelle K said...

the polygraph is good for one thing as a law enforcement tool. The way it works, is you get the guy to agree to the polygraph, and then--regardless of his actual reactions, you tell him he's "flunked" and the "lie detector" proves it. You give a good enough performance, really sell it, you can get a confession pretty easily--hell, it might even be a true confession, but it doesn't matter. A false confession will usually close a case up just as neatly as a real one.

That happened to a friend's husband. Unfortunately it involved the feds, who did exactly that to him. He didn't confess to anything, and he wasn't guilty of what they were after, but he's not too bright, and was an easy mark, and so ended up pleading to "lying to the FBI" (who knows what that meant?) lost his federal job, and so he still lost. And with that plea, they closed the case and never figured out what really happened.

So yeah. Lie detectors. Bullshit.

Tania said...

Eric, I really liked your rant. All your points were good, but it needed more swearing and less well reasoned defensible/provable positions to really go over the top into crazy rant land.