by Lindsay McAuliffe
As I’m sure many of you have seen, Fox has come out with a new show that involves strapping daring (dumb) individuals to a lie detector and asking them invasive, controversial, personal questions, many of which have the very real potential to ruin lives. Commercials for the show include a daughter, with her father standing by, being asked if she would give up her kidney to save her father if he were dying; then flash to a very overweight woman asking a skinny man if fat people disgust him; and next, my personal favorite, the host asking a man if he would cheat on his wife if he knew he would not get caught. The commercials show anxious, distraught, and downright enraged family members and friends, horrified at the lie-detector induced responses of their loved ones.
With the writer’s strike stretching on into oblivion, it can only be expected that trashy reality TV will inundate network television. The incredible degree of trashiness, however, has taken even me, the most cynical of TV viewers, by surprise. What has become of American values that we are willing to sacrifice our most important relationships for money? Have none of these contestants heard that money doesn’t buy happiness? Clearly, the incredible emphasis placed on materialism that is so quintessentially American has reached the point where we would rather have half a million dollars (not even, after taxes) than fulfillment through something so trivial and unimportant as ‘interpersonal relationships’. Who needs friends and family when you’ve got five hundred thousand dollars? Ebeneezer Scrooge, that’s who. And he probably had way more money that that.
As despicable and disturbing as the concept of this show is, it is almost guaranteed to get great ratings. We have turned into a ‘too much information’ society, and this show’s premise of full disclosure, no matter how shocking, humiliating, or offensive, is sure to draw a crowd. It’s like every other dorm room drinking game, except these people are full grown adults (and therefore should have outgrown this embarassing propensity) and there’s a lie detector strapped to your body to ensure you absolutely can’t weasel your way out of an embarassing, awkward question.