A MinD in MoTown

This relationship may have to end.
September 15, 2009, 6:22 pm
Filed under: 1th, A TV show review (of sorts), I watch too much TV

Warning: If you don’t care about “One Tree Hill” or you have yet to watch the season seven premiere, leave now. This post will not interest you whatsoever. But, as a fan, it had to be written. You have been appropriately warned. Read on at your own risk.

Six years ago, the former Warner Bros. TV-station and I formed a strong bond thanks to “One Tree Hill.” With that series premiere, I was quickly engulfed in the lives of the Scott brothers – Nathan and Lucas – as well as the ever-changing love triangles that often arose. It didn’t take long before my ass was firmly planted in front of the television for one hour each week as a new episode aired. And that tradition has continued on, throughout all four of my college years even, ’til this moment.tumblr_kpzy5ixUfQ1qzzbp2o1_400

Today, less than 24 hours after the season seven premiere, I’m feeling a strong disconnect from the love I once possessed for this teenage-esque drama.

Not only have my two favorite characters seemingly disappeared with little to no explanation – au revoir Peyton et Lucas* – but a few new faces have taken their places, also without adequate reasoning thus far. This disappoints me to the core. Likewise, the season has progressed 14 months ahead into the future – after a four year jump heading into season five – and much has changed in the mean time aside from the character lineup. I’m simply hoping the next several episodes will swiftly bring us loyal followers up to speed.

And need I mention the lackluster premiere as a whole? I hate to say this, especially as a six-year fan, but ::yawwwwwn:: I truly expected much more. These writers – if they are the same, as I assume – set the bar pretty damn high with some of the seasons past, and the onset of number seven has clearly not risen to the same heights yet. I see a long way to go before they even come close.

Sadly, before this premiere, I foresaw a very brief future for my favorite television show. Not only was its time slot (here on the East Coast) changed, nudged back an hour to 8 p.m., but two of its original and most popular actors reported their departure months ago, prior to the last season’s finale. I saw the demise coming, but fervently hoped the powers-that-be behind One Tree Hill – or 1th, as I affectionately call it – would step up their game and prove me wrong. I unfortunately have a strong feeling that they simply won’t be able to and this season may be the last for my beloved Monday-night venture.

— As a side note, my best friend ironically just texted me (she must be watching last night’s premiere now) with, “This is crap beyond crap.” She is also a loyal viewer and another left disappointed. —

So what did the rest of you 1th fans – you must be if you kept reading to this point – think of last night’s premiere? Did it meet your expectations? Or did it fall quite a bit short, as it did for myself? What kind of future do you predict for the now-CW show? How do you feel about the complete and utter removal of Lucas and Peyton**? Let me know. I’m dying to find out the reaction of others.

* I was trying to keep the post both broad and somewhat vague, rather than specific, but I have to mention this one key point (which I thought about after reading my post in its entirety): Can a show that was created surrounding the relationship of two half-brothers, Lucas and Nathan Scott, exist on the same premises if one of those brothers departs? Perhaps. But as someone who has regularly and repeatedly watched every episode, that brotherly bond, or lack thereof in the early seasons, remained a key factor in the show. Now that it’s gone, can One Tree Hill truly be the same? I’m sorry, but I think not.
** Another note, after the fact of writing, but the relationship between Lucas and Peyton and its formation has always been central to the plot of the show as a whole. Whether it was a love triangle between Peyton, Lucas and Brooke or simply the discovery of feelings for one another – or hell, the several times Lucas saved Peyton from disaster, such as the school shooting – that blossoming love was a vital element. Now it seems that they are trying to push viewers onto a new love between Brooke and Julian. I, for one, am resistant to this change and don’t think the same kind of dazzle will happen with “Brulian” or “Jooke” (who knows what it is) as did with “Leyton.”

“Love is blind”? I’m not so sure about that.

From an early age, we are told by our mothers, grandmothers, teachers and countless others that “it’s what’s inside that counts” and “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well, one new dating reality show on ABC is pushing those idealistic concepts one step further by proving that looks truly do matter regardless of what people may want to believe.

dating-in-the-dark-show-logo“Dating in the Dark” premiered two weeks ago on Monday nights and, if you’ve yet to see it, I suggest tuning in for at least one episode* if you have an hour of your life to spare for non-thought-provoking television.

So what’s the general gist** here? Three male and three female contestants move into opposite wings of a house for several days, never having a single opportunity to see each other until the very last moments of the dating scenario. Rather, they meet in “the dark room” on one group date then single dates to decide if chemistry exists sans appearance.

Through the use of infrared/night-vision cameras, viewers are able to watch each awkward moment the contestants experience in the darkness. Yep, we see everything from the sad attempts to eat food in the pitch black room to the ass grabbing and haphazard kissing they engage in. Personally, I find this both amusing and somewhat intrusive, all which keep my eyes glued to the television.

Outwardly, one might think the reality show proves that you can fall for someone without having a clue what he or she looks like. Whether the contestants discover that through fun activities – eating an assortment of fruits or dancing, for example – conversation or simply making out, they are able to judge each other based on personality alone.

This is what we see, thanks to the infrared cameras. They, however, see complete blackness. Creeeeeeeepy.

This is what we see, thanks to the infrared cameras. They, however, see complete blackness. Creeeeeeeepy.

… That is, until the big moment where each individual’s appearance is revealed to their “match” and both persons have to decide whether or not to continuing dating now that physical attraction is a factor.

The final ten minutes of each episode I’ve watched – three total, in case you were curious – have been more superficial than anything I’ve yet to see in my life***.

The majority of these men and women seriously grapple with the decision to “stay with the person they fell for in the dark, or leave them behind,” as the ABC Web site states. The viewer actually witnesses people experiencing a strange yet real struggle to decide how important the other individual’s appearance is. Some daters choose to depart while others stick around because the connection formed in the blackness prevailed. But did it?

I haven’t exactly watched enough episodes to completely judge, but, thus far, it seems as though the men and women who claim not to be entirely attracted to their date (yet choose to “meet them on the balcony” and continue dating) have this self-righteous attitude that they, unlike others, were able to put personality above appearance. As if they are doing their dates this huge favor by sticking around, and that part certainly disgusts me a bit****.

Either way, I find it all quite intriguing because the show, to some extent, does ask the “is love blind?” question, forcing us all to somewhat think about how important appearance is to a relationship. If in their shoes, would we be able to continue seeing someone we aren’t exactly lusting for just because of an emotional connection? Or would we, too, depart the house, never to see that person again? It’s something viewers likely cannot help but consider while watching.

If you’ve seen “Dating in the Dark,” I’d love to hear your thoughts about it, good or bad. And if you haven’t watched yet, do you think it’s something worth checking out? Lastly, what do you guys think about a reality show trying to answer relatively deep questions about the role of physical attraction?

* Unless you hate reality TV and/or dating shows. Then go watch CSI.
** Until this very moment, I thought “gist” was spelled with a J. Oops.
*** That’s likely a bit hyperbolic, but it fit well into my sentence.
**** Although, perhaps I’m simply reading into this television program a bit more than necessary, which is always a possibility.