Crotchety Old Man Alert! Apparently, Jerry Lewis is fed up with reality television and decided to hop up on the old soapbox to rant about it while promoting his new documentary.
Referring to American Idol contestants as “McDonald’s wipe-outs” and saying that he doesn’t “give a (expletive) about The Biggest Loser, Lewis went on an extended diatribe while claiming that the television industry has lost its soul.
According to Lewis, part of the problem is ability to view movies and television on their mobile phones. (“They put all of their product on the stupid phone. You’re gonna put Lawrence of Arabia on that stupid (expletive)?” He even attacks the abbreviation TV itself: “I don’t allow people in my family to use the term ‘TV.’ It’s ‘television,’ it’s a miracle, and deserves respect.” Gotcha, Jerry. It’s totally okay to use gay slurs, but we should draw the line at calling television “TV.”
I don’t wish to diminish the career or the humanity of Jerry Lewis (we have all seen the MDA telethons). He has accomplished a lot in his life. That being said, when it comes to reality TV, Jerry Lewis, and people like him, just don’t get it. They don’t understand why we watch reality TV.
We watch American Idol not to discover the next big thing, but to watch a group of average people pursue their dream. People will always watch something like that whether it is scripted or reality TV.
We watch shows like The Biggest Loser because people can draw inspiration from people fighting lifelong issues and achieving success. These people are fighting to better themselves, which something we should all strive to do.
Shows like American Idol, The Biggest Loser, etc. can be both inspiring and compelling. These shows are not eroding the soul of the television industry, they are adding to it.
Mr. Lewis, I am sorry that our phones, reality TV shows, and general soullessness have made you upset. To make you feel better, I’ll send you some butterscotch candies, and you can tell me about how you and Dean used to blow the roof off of every nightclub in America.