What is it about game shows and reality shows and their need to create catchy phrases such as ?is that your final answer, ?voted off the island? and ?you are the weakest link, goodbye??
Does it ever stop? Probably not, because that is what our culture has become. Instead of looking for substance in our entertainment, we tend to go for quick and mindless attraction. We want instant gratification and we find it in these polished, annoying catchphrases that stick in our heads and we just can?t help ourselves when we repeat them endlessly.
And thus, we have become slaves to the catchphrase.
Granted, this is a good thing for the advertising executive or writer who came up with the slogan, but it just goes to show you how easily people today can be manipulated.
I will admit, I have fallen prey to the catchphrase before.
I looked endlessly for a way to use the phrase ?gets his groove on.? It got to the point where I would use it in every other sentence that I uttered. For example, I tried to have the headline ?The senate gets its groove on? for one of my stories, but then I realized it sounded ridiculous, and I stopped using it in hopes of finding something new.
The thought of not using a catchphrase did not occur to me.
But there is more to it than just using the phrase. There is the way in which the phrase is used as a tool to attract viewers to these less than spectacular entries in the primetime lineup.
We are inundated day in and day out by the phrases and when the shows come on, we watch to get our fix of the sayings and to hear them used on hapless participants.
Take for instance the new NBC show ?The Weakest Link.?
Besides the snippy catchphrase, there is the equally snippy host. She is British, which only adds to the dominatrix fantasy she satisfies.
The show is set up so that the contestants have to answer a number of questions in a row to make money. If one of them gets a question wrong, then the team of contestants lose all of the money they have earned and at the end of each round, one of the contestants is voted off.
?Sounds interesting,? I thought when I sat down to watch it during the second night it was on the air. As I watched, I thought to myself that the questions were relatively easy and that when the contestants got a question wrong, it was probably a result of the pressure of exhibiting your knowledge on TV.
That was not the rationale of the host, however. After each round, she would spout venom, insulting any and all of the contestants who got a question wrong.
But the eeriest part, and what really got me, was that the audience laughed at her sinister remarks.
When it comes right down to it, such a show would not exist if people were not interested in seeing and hearing other people being put down. That says something about our society.
It says we take heart in the fact that others are weaker than we are in some way. It says that we will not take a stand for people who are being victimized, and instead, we will help the victimizer. It says that all of us who fall into the trap of these catchphrases, and the shows they come from, are the weakest link. All of us need to change this tendency before we get voted off the island.
And that is my final answer.