Boring TV: Don't Turn It Off---Ever

It’s a TV show that isn’t supposed to be turned off--and there should be a law.

Something called “Our Prisoner” is a program that follows all the neuroses of a man 24/7. It’ll do this for six months; true to Internet calling, viewers will vote to determine what the man, one Kieran Vogel, will do--including what he eats, who he dates, and the people he talks to, among other things.

For six months, he won’t leave the show’s family house in New Jersey. It’s the Internet as prison warden--telling the inmates what they can and can’t do. Oh yeah, there’s one big difference. If Vogel make it through the six months, he gets $500,000.  If he goes crazy and leaves, he gets nothing. “The Truman Show,” starring Jim Carrey, played to the same concept--with his character eventually breaking out.

The notion of having viewers control content isn’t new. The concept of being voted off an island--or a TV show--also isn’t new. Finally, the concept of people doing anything for money isn’t new.



But the concept of such a TV show, which will no doubt offer up plenty of boring segments of a person’s life--is new.  Popular entertainment--TV, film, radio, and other venues--has a model that typically picks out the most exciting and interesting parts, whether scripted or non-scripted.

The Internet’s core belief has always been that it doesn’t necessarily need to do that kind of editing--viewers can make the call. And, if viewers want to be bored watching a 35-year-old man walk around in his pajamas or gaze into space, that’s their business.

But that’s the wrong approach. Such a show will also foster more laziness, and less productive lives. If there are TV pressure groups who want to force their views on what is appropriate and decent for families to watch, why aren’t there pressure groups for boring TV--shows that waste viewers’ time?

Indecency TV bills are currently working their way in Congress. There should be anti-boring TV legislation as well.

Oh, you say there’s an easier way? That’s right. You can just turn it off.


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