Ox Notes: September 20, 2007

TV Guide posted a Dancing with the Stars interview with Melanie Brown. It should come as no surprise that she and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy are already yelling at each other.

It turns out that Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has even more on his plate that simultaneously training for DwtS and a boxing match. Starting November 18 — less than a week after DwtS 5 wraps up — Floyd will star in an HBO reality series that will follow him day and night as he prepares for his December 8 fight.

Anthony Bourdain’s blog entry about last night’s episode of Top Chef is up at Bravo’s website. And after seeing how Casey and Sara got frazzled by the dudes in the Le Cirque kitchen staring at them as they worked, Gail Simmons wrote about her own experience working there straight out of culinary school. Apparently, things haven’t changed much.

After bailing on iTunes, NBC is offering free downloads of its shows for the week following each episode’s premiere, through a service called NBC Direct.

Slate has an interesting piece about big budget network shows run amok.

I tuned in for a couple of series premieres last night: Kid Nation and Gossip Girl. Gossip Girl was exactly the kind of catty teenage drama I was hoping for. As a fan of Whit Stillman’s films, I was bound to love this sleazefest set in the world of preppy New York socialites. Gossip Girl is a show I’m planning on watching each week.

Kid Nation, on the other hand, is not. It’s not terrible, but instead of focusing on the cool premise of kids building their own society, producers interjected totally unnecessary elements of competition into the show.

After the four producer-chosen leaders were ordered to divide their comrades into teams, the adult host of the show arrived to have the kids take part in some challenge to determine which jobs each team would get, and how much money they would earn to spend at the town store. The winning team became The Upper Class, earning more money than the others without having to do any work. Just the value kids need to learn: class over community.

The show’s real drama occurred before the adults started meddling in things. The junior pioneers had to figure out how to cook a meal for 40 people, and how to run a meeting of 40 noisy, rambunctious kids. Now they know how their teachers feel every day.

But, instead of just letting the story unfold on its own, Kid Nation ultimately looked and felt like any other Mark Burnett-produced reality game show. Though not scripted, the producers have made it too crafted and structured to be a legitimate experiment. Some of the kids are sweet, but eventually they will all have some not-so-sweet moments that I’d rather not see. I’d be mortified if half of the stupid crap I said as a kid was captured on film.

Even after all of the controversy surrounding the show, Kid Nation didn’t even win its time slot. And if other viewers had the same reaction as me or TV Guide’s Matt Roush, things will only get worse.

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