Don't Trust Entertainment Tonight!
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When "Entertainment Tonight" started broadcasting in 1981, it tried to be the "MacNeil-Lehrer Hour" of entertainment journalism. In some respect, during those early years, it succeeded. The shows were packed with interesting tales of filmmaking, reports on new music and television and good stories about the backside of Hollywood.
Somewhere between year five and seven the producers decided to drop the "journalism stuff" and turn into a shill for the film studios. America tuned in by the millions.
Despite the change of direction, like a movie-junkie moth to the projector's flame I am still drawn to the program. I know Leni Riefenstahl is working there, feeding me studio propaganda as quickly as I can lap it up. I know that all of the stories are "sanitized for my protection". I understand the aesthetic level is lower than the current value of my juicebox.com Internet start-up stock. It doesn't matter. I've found a new way to use the program; I reverse every story 180 degrees to truly understand its meaning.
ET reports, "Spider Wars Episode 8" is GREAT!" You know the studios are desperate. They have a dog on their hands and they need to pump blood into this howler, quickly. No mention of the new Pedro Almodovar movie? Run; don't walk to the theatre. Mary Hart blabbers that, Tom Hanks is the nicest guy in Hollywood. We now understand he is a calculating, cold-hearted bastard and the only reason there's a story is because he's got dirt on Julie Moran. Debra Winger is "difficult" on the set. Don't be fooled, she's a lamb. You learn that, emaciated, cokehead, Whitney Houston is coming out with a new CD produced by husband/pusher Bobbie Brown. The warning shot has been sounded. Keep the radio tuned to AM. It's going to be an unpleasant few months. When Koko Taylor released her latest Blues album, not a word was mention by Bob Goen. Great News! Koko's got another winning album on her hands.
This may seem simplistic. ET never tells the truth? Perhaps I've simplified too much, until you examine the inordinate amount time spent by "Entertainment Tonight" "reporting" on the life and movement of fashion models. Models provide no value to life (or fashion, for that matter.) If all models were beamed to a pie-eating contest in Arkansas where they ate themselves to the size of Calista Flockhart, who would care? Designers would still create fashion. You could still go to Target and buy a push-up bra. Thongs would still look stupid on men. The girl next-door would still wear that god-awful dress to the prom (at least until after dinner.) There is no reason to pay a lick of attention to models, yet ET continues to treat them with the reverence usually afforded to Mother Teresa and the Pope.
The plot and the reason for their reporting bias now become much clearer.
Most Americans can't spell Britney Spears, let alone admit that her eyes are so far apart she looks inbred. They need to be told she's a good singer and what to enjoy. As studios and recording labels stoop to reach the ever-shrinking, lowest-common denominator, they need a way to convince people that, "this is as good as it gets"..."get accustomed to it"..."you should not expect more."
While they are trying to convince the masses of the worth, you can thwart their plan and use it to your advantage. You know better, Christina Aguilera can't sing! George Lucas made three great movies and none of them were in the 21st century. Matt Damon is not going to make us forget the acting chops of Spencer Tracy. Name three retired models. One can't have a mole on her face. The faster you start to take advantage of the valuable service provided by Entertainment Tonight, the sooner you will be a part of the tiny portion of Americans responsible for maintaining some level of intelligence. After all, did you ever hear Steven Hawkins humming the ET theme song, "da de da da da da...."? I didn't think so.
Jeffrey R. Dross can spell Britney Spears.