Shooting Stars: Bristol Gets A 12-Gauge Salute

  • by , Featured Contributor, November 23, 2010
Who knew the Palins invoked such wrath from gun owners?

The very night after the recent premiere of "Sarah Palin's Alaska" attracted a TLC record, 5 million nonviolent viewers, one of the 18.9 million to watch "Dancing with the Stars" shot out his TV due to Bristol Palin's participation. He then pointed the shotgun at his wife, who suddenly realized they were dangerously low on nacho cheese dip and went to call 911 to for an emergency delivery.

During his 15-hour standoff with police, he calmly was able to elucidate that he was disappointed with the show's decidedly political agenda, as he rapidly ran out of cans of beer.

Two things struck me about this situation:

1. Finally, ABC has some solid evidence that men do watch "Dancing with the Stars." Even better, there's a high concentration of family co-viewing, although Nielsen shortsightedly doesn't measure the "angry shotgun enthusiast" and "cowering spouse" demographics, so we'll never know the true potential target audience.



2.People tend to get very, very emotional over their television and their politics, particularly when the Palins are involved.

Hopefully, this wasn't a Nielsen household. That would totally blow the in-tab for all of Dane County for quite some time.

The irony here is that of the two shows, "Sarah Palin's Alaska" comes across as a long-form candidate video, while Bristol's extended stay on "Dancing" is more likely a version of "American Idol's William Hung or Sanjaya -- riveting yet improbably bad performers. Americans love to watch reality TV train wrecks, and Bristol's reign is probably a function of that rather than due to some right-wing conspiracy.

By the way, don't look now, but during episode 2 of "Sarah Palin's Alaska," Momma Bear went shooting. Bristol tagged along for some target practice too -- so watch out, Wisconsin. They don't hunt HDTVs up in Alaska.

(We should mention that episode lost about 40% of its initial sampling from its premiere, so perhaps America's more interested in rhetoric about gun ownership than actually exercising those rights.)

It bears noting that Vermont, Wisconsin (where the TVcide took place) is solidly Blue State. President Obama carried 73% of the county in the 2008 election. But when someone who watches television with a shotgun at his side and takes action against the "political entitlement" of preferential casting -- wouldn't he probably self-identify as a Teabagger? Then you'd expect that he'd have a soft spot for poor uncoordinated Bristol, no?

Besides, according to a recent Experian report, "Dancing with the Stars" tends to have more of a Republican audience. So much for targeting! (That is, the viewing target audience, not the viewer's target television. Sorry for the mix-up.)

Seriously, most people pick up the remote, not the 12-gauge. The most obvious result from this event will be the congressional hearings over a Constitutional amendment regarding "remote control control."

At the very least, the FCC needs to mandate a new attachment for all firearms, for the good of all our viewing citizenry: a pause button.

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