Some people are making a big deal out of a casting memo sent out for ABC’s very popular “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” television show that, in the space of week, demolishes and completely rebuilds and furnishes a home for some needy family.
The Smoking Gun web site has the memo sent out to ABC affiliates and lists certain specific family situations the production company is looking to highlight next season.
Not content with humdrum stories of poverty, heartache, and distress, the producers of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” have compiled a creepy wish list of woe for the next season of the hit ABC television series, The Smoking Gun has learned.
The whole SG article, and the newspaper articles I’ve seen based on it, drip with derision and condescension for the show because it is “maudlin, tug-on-your-heartstrings television” and for it’s tendency to evoke pathos and empathy for the family featured each week.
Does the show go a little over-the-top sometimes? Yes. Does it use a few too many gimmicks and product placements? Yep. But don’t discount how much the prevailing cynicism of our age dislikes anything that smacks of altruism or faith. Skeptics always suspect the worst motives, especially when the helping hand originates in Hollywood. Probably with good reason. On the other hand, what if there are some people who really are trying to change the culture and revamp the wasteland that TV has become?
So we’re back to the original question. Why would ABC and the producers put out such a specific list of pitiable illnesses and tragedies it wants to feature? Because tears make good ratings?
What would be a good reason for that memo?