I've been watching this show for this a second year now. And it's not that I don't have an admiration, a genuine like, for this sort of show. Candid Camera was one of my all time favorite shows...ever. Of course Candid Camera captured people as they got caught up in humorous but very orchestrated situations. How could I ever forget the infamous talking mailbox? Some poor schmoe would drop an envelope down the slot of one of those blue boxes that sits on street corners across the fruited plains. The mailbox would suddenly begin talking, asking the fellow trying to mail the letter if he put on the correct postage, was the return address properly placed. Caught up in the moment, the letter sender would respond to all questions proffered by the talking mailbox as the audience roared with delight.
There's something refreshing about human kind at its unrehearsed, a lack of guile that amuses.
What Would You Do?, however, is set up to capture mankind at its worst and that's strike one against the series.
Strike two is the ominous rumble in my mind that this show is an instrument of the Obama administration, probably the Michelle wing, to teach me political correctness, how I should feel and act in certain unpopular or unusual circumstances.
I joke, please, I joke.
Strike three, and by me this show is now out of the viewing ballgame, is that the scenarios as set up by whatever twit is coming up with the socially unusual situations to teach us, the blind and the stupid how to be politically correct, are totally unbelievable as to be laughable.
One show of my memory had a person who did not speak English enter into a restaurant to order some carryout. The ostensible owner of the restaurant (an actor as host John Quiniones informs us), acts like a real asshole, shouting at the non-English speaking customer, saying if he can't speak English he needs to go home, that you only get food if you ask for it in English.
Now obviously there's a problem if someone is trying to order a product and the person taking the order cannot understand a word of the request. But the boobs who come up with these scenes know that if the restaurant owner were to simply shake his head sadly and indicate that he cannot understand what the customer is asking for, well that wouldn't do for the televised drama. Which is what most of us would do if confronted with this situation as I'd argue.
At some point in time we've all had some encounter with someone in this great melting pot of a country who couldn't speak English. Maybe it was in the course of conducting business we've had to deal with, most often probably in casual encounters in public spaces, on the street, perhaps in church. I'd place double or nothing bets that we seldom shout and scream with horrible rudeness that the person has to speak English, continuing on to a very nasty mockery and disdain that is totally unnecessary, accomplishing nothing. More likely we all do our best to try to understand what's being attempted to be said. At worst we might turn away in despair that we cannot help the person with whatever aid is requested.
Just a hunch.
These What Would You Do? Producers need drama for one thing. For another, there's the need to teach us all a lesson. In this case the lesson is that we need to be nice to those who don't speak the country's native language, that to not do everything possible to overcome the language barrier makes us look like this actor guy and we should be horrified at the thought.
No one would dare suggest that it's a big audacious for one who does not speak the country's language to go into a restaurant and expect that the person dishing up customer orders should understand whatever language the person ordering happens to speak. I mean, come on, they call Americans who do this thing in other countries Ugly Americans yet here we have an American TV show teaching us boobs all that of course we should speak Lithuania well enough to understand the guy just wants a cheese steak with pickles and fried onions.
There's something to be said for respecting a country's values, language and traditions. Instead ABC wants to make US the bad guys.
It's how it's done on this show. Take an unlikely situation and pair it with an unlikely result and somehow we all should learn something from it.
Below is a short snippet from the show, as example.
Other rather absurd scenarios this show has offered has a homosexual proposing marriage to his partner….IN A DELICATESSIN! Now how likely is this? Of course it was required to have the proposal be very public and very loud. And of course people in the surround are all taken aback at such a situation, including the actor hired to be rude and arrogant about same sex marriages. None of us want to be like this actor guy, right? Said actor who got up from his pastrami on rye and sat down across from the proposed to homosexual as his partner excused himself to go to the rest room. We all stop our wedding proposals to go to the rest room, don't we now? And of course a complete and very ignorant stranger than sits across from us, berating us for this silly proposal, the absurdity of it, the damnation against God that it is.
It's not that the artificiality of the situation being enacted doesn't make for some odd situations, I get that. But that same oddity adds proportionally to the artificiality of how the presented politically incorrect action occurs.
It makes it unbelievable and I'm not convinced there's any lessons learned as the producers would have us students grasping. We have no right to jump into an empty chair and berate a fellow just proposed to, so we learn, and especially objecting to the same sex, the bigger point of it all, is really in bad taste. Well they lost me with anyone rude enough to insinuate his or her self into such a private matter and even earlier my eyes glazed at the prospect that a lifetime of adoration and love would be pledged in a delicatessen and very loudly, dear Lord.
Other situations had a mother "watching" her baby via nursery intercom, a nasty guy loudly tries to get young girls to model for him, a couple shop for dogs and don't even try to whisper during the phone call to colleagues discussing the dogs being considered for purchase and their fighting prowess.
Americans, God bless, don't take any kind of mistreatment, be it to a baby left alone, a dog possibly being condemned to a life of brutal cuts and tears or a pair of tenderly loving homosexuals seeking a lifetime commitment while derided by others. Thus the show entertains, in a fashion. Because folks come out of the live viewing audiences to chastise the mother who left her baby alone, to set an alarm to the dog merchants that the pooch might be in danger, to shut up the nimrod who felt it was his job to inform a partnered pair of homosexuals that their love was ill-conceived.
We meet the good guys and the bad guys. The "good" guys are those who step forward and try to stop the "crime" then in progress. The "bad" guys are those who witness the actions then upon but do nothing to intercede.
The host of the show does often interview these folks, who, the viewing audience is supposed to deduce, were somehow lacking a developed sense of humanity for failing to step up like the "good" guys.
Way I figure, maybe they thought the whole thing was just too improbable as scripted and staged to be real. But if any of the "bad" observers ever said this, for sure ABC would never put it on the air.
By me, this show is a waste of time.
What Would You Do? airs on ABC, Friday nights, at 8pm.