More New Year Resolutions
I have embarrassment phobia. I don't get too embarrassed myself, but I do get embarrassed for others--to the point of looking away. Karaoke taken too seriously, someone pronouncing "supposedly" "supposebly", dresses stuck in butt cracks and people tripping along sidewalks.
I am trying to break myself of this, much as smokers who go to clinics and sit in nicotine-laden rooms until they throw up. So...I am trying to watch 5 minutes of the Tyra Banks show once a month. I hope to build up to 10.
I first came across the show when she was talking about her beauty secrets. She's Tyra--I'll listen. Well, not only did she squeeze some guy's zit, but she got WAY too excited about her big beauty secret. Vaseline. She had psyched up the audience by saying she had a big secret at the end of the show and you could see the audience members whispering, "Well, we didn't get into Oprah; maybe we'll score some La Prairie." But then out comes the Vaseline jar and Tyra starts jumping up and down screaming, trying to make it as exciting as possible while the people in the audience are laughing nervously. The kicker was supposed to be that she was giving the whole audience a rhinestone covered bottle of the stuff. It looked ridiculous and as she began to run into the audience and then flail on the floor, I had to change the channel to the Wiggles.
It is Tyra's earnestness and her desire to be the next Oprah that is so embarrassing. Her show on racial stereotypes made me change after 3 minutes. Not only did Tyra try to be as intelligent as Jesse Jackson (coming a bit short) but her everyday people "panel" was made up of one of the girls that was on Flava of Love on VH1. Tyra was hugging her and telling her to get over her racism and I just thought--who does the background checks on your guests? Last month that girl was putting a full-nelson on another candidate for Flav's affection.
I tried Tyra again this week. As I surfed the channels I saw her sitting with some random women putting sticks in their mouths. I stopped and watched to figure it out and watched as Tyra talked the whole time this stick was between her well-insured lips. Seems "Itws thwiss eassy to see ifw I hawe HIV? I cwan't bewlive I nevew knew thiss." Then she gave the teaser that she would reveal the diagnosis--if she and the others had HIV--"Live."
Again, I had to stay and watch. As she stuck in another segment about drunk driving and the dangers, I realized what the deal is with this show. Not only is Tyra no Oprah, but she just doesn't have the capacity to think and experience at the same time. She repeats things over and over and even tells the audience what she is doing after she does it. "I just walked from that audience member back to my chair.” “I will soon be telling you if I have HIV. It is scary for me to think I might. Scary for anyone. But HIV is a serious thing. We must take it seriously. We…” She fills up space just as we did in speech class in high school when we had to get up and talk for 5 minutes but were done in 3.
On her little modeling show, Top Model, there is little improvisation. She can get away with looking intelligent and somewhat of an “expert”. On Tyra, she is revealed as knowing nothing except that her boobs are real and that she is really upset when people call her fat (not that anything is wrong with that).
This week Tyra is going inside a weight-problem clinic. It is this kind of save-the-world hurtling that makes me embarrassed for her. She takes on such big issues. I listened to her promo for the show—“Today we are going to step inside a weight CLINIC.” Her emphasis on what is scientific, intelligent; world newsy—and is said with such emphasis that I can’t tell if she is trying to make it sound dramatic or just trying to get the pronunciation right.
I am not saying that the girl needs to just talk about fashion and nail polish, but she is going to have to put her money where her mouth is if I am going to take her seriously. Open an African girl’s school, become a Scientologist, write a thriller, come out of the closet or enter rehab. I need to see something that matches this earnestness. Maybe she can shave her head “Live.”