Digging in the Dirt

If you haven't heard about the new F/X series "Dirt," you clearly haven't been watching "Nip/Tuck." Because for every (and we do mean EVERY) commercial break that was played during the show this season, the first thing you saw was an image of Courtney Cox with Peter Gabriel's "Digging in the Dirt" playing.

Every commercial break, the same commercial with the same music. Over and over and over.

Look, I understand how a teaser promotion works and I understand that someone figured "Dirt" would appeal to the "Nip/Tuck" audience because of its edginess, so they wanted to make sure that they advertised during Nip/Tuck in the hopes that the audience will tune in and watch the new series, but F/X's advertising department CLEARLY went overboard on this.

To quote the song, "This time, you've gone too far."

F/X is betting heavily that the show will be a success, but we're getting a sinking suspicion that they are over-compensating for the fact that the show might not actually be that good.

The synopsis, according to F/X's rather slick website:

Courtney Cox stars as Lucy Spiller, the hard-driving Editor-in-cheif of tabloid "Dirt" and "Now" magazines. lucy has a maniacal dedication to find the truth, for reasons even she has yet to fully fathom. With the help of Don Konkey (Iam Hart), a schizophrenic paparazzo blessed with a genius for getting the money shot, Lucy exposes the hidden thruth behind celebrity lives - and also determines their fate.

According to TVSquad.com, F/X has already ordered a full season run for the show before it even premiers next week. But will this "stories ripped from the headlines" approach to one of the sleaziest jobs in journalism be something that people will want to tune in to and watch every week?

In an article in Variety, creator Matthew Carnahan says he had a hard time writing a show around paparazzi and tabloids. "I couldn't figure out how to crack the paparazzi subject ... without wanting to explode it into a larger context of social apocalypse," he says.

But why the Hell not exploit the social context of what paparazzi do? They are a despised breed of individual that can only barely call themselves journalists: Voyeuristic vultures who watch every step a celebrity takes in the hopes that they capture some little insignificant piece of drama that they can spin into something that will sell magazines.

Its called schadenfreude and loosely translated, it means to take joy in someone else's misfortune. Americans are obsessed with it. More than baseball, football or anything else, it has become a national past time.

But can this fascination with the trivialities of America's pseudo-elite be successfully translated into a weekly drama that people will want to watch with as much passion as the real thing?

I guess we'll find out on January 2nd.

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