May 19, 2004


Advertisements. Better than television shows. FYI: Adrants is a great place to view the latest campaigns.

Anyway, I noticed a new campaign for Colonial House, a new reality series by PBS, in Time magazine. The best full page spread was of a pig. Above it: SPAM 1628.

I loved the clever ad, but I couldn't believe that PBS had gone over to the "dark side". Reality series Hell. What ever happened to Bert, Ernie, Big Bird and Mr. Rodgers?

Before I hyperventilated on the extinction of all things puppet and red cardiganish, I decided to give the show a try. I watched it last evening and was surprised, but not impressed.

The show started out well. They all obeyed the rules. However, as the night progressed, the "colonists" began disobeying them; restrictions, such as attending the Sabbath and covering their heads (women), were quickly thrown aside, in rebellion against the governor--the leader of the colony, and the 1628 lifestyle. And then they all got drunk. Instead of offering a harsher punishment the voiceover said what the "would have happened" in a real situation. Isn't this supposed to be real?

I mean, you can't burn someone at the stake for heresy on television when they do not attend church; but you can suspend them from the show. They got away with everything. The big question is "Can 21st century Americans live the 17th century colonist life?" Apparently we cannot.

With this series, there isn't a winner or elimination rounds. If the colonists decide to disagree with their governor, they do it with some small penalty, such as a scarlet letter or standing at a post for a couple of hours. Give me a break. How can this work? It takes them away from work--and they do not experience the same shame colonists in 1628 would have endured. They just laugh it off. "I said the F-word. hehe."

Then the dramatics began. I will not waste the space.

Reasserting my opinion of reality television, this is a fall from grace for public television. My Reading Rainbow heart is weeping.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at May 19, 2004 10:46 PM

Never watched Reading Rainbow. I was too busy wearing scalet letters and sitting in the stockades for reading Shakespeare at that age.

(I never read "little kid" books, as I used to call them at age 7. I flipped right to the hard stuff. I was in a hurry to grow up, I think.)

Posted by: Karissa at May 20, 2004 9:18 AM

Reading Rainbow was my favorite! Though I, too, was reading beyond my years at that age, it was nice to watch a show for little bookworms like myself.

Posted by: Donna at May 20, 2004 9:49 AM

I couldn't disagree more *insert smile*

I have been a "Maine" PBS kid my whole life...It is the one station that never does me wrong.

Funny that you mention colonial house, because my whole family has been addicted to the two 2hour episodes. The idea that a bunch of present day people are run by a Texas baptist minister as their governer makes us all laugh. It isn't so much reality TV or "the darkside as you think...It's nice to learn historical facts that the narrator tells occationally. It's educational and Fun...I think it fits perfectly with PBS goals.

Posted by: Stephan at May 20, 2004 6:18 PM

I think the historical facts are helpful, but the colonists aren't following the rules!

The show concept is entertaining; I will concede that, but the colonists are typical of the reality show genre. When the group that didn't attend the Sabbath went skinnydipping, I couldn't help thinking--How SURVIVOR. Although some of the colonists are human, the stereotyped characters are still there, and are annoyingly creating staged conflict.

Posted by: Amanda at May 20, 2004 6:30 PM

At least this reality series has been around for a while...I think the first installment was when I was in high school. Maybe it was Victorian House? Who knows. I'm too lazy to google on my dial-up. ;)

Posted by: Julie at May 20, 2004 9:16 PM

I did do some research, and I think I would have liked the Regency House much better. The series, in different eras, has been on since 1999.

Posted by: Amanda at May 21, 2004 12:07 AM
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