Hit or Miss

Murder in Small Town X

Murder in Small Town X. It shouldn’t really surprise me that FOX, the network of Cops and When Animals Attack, has brewed up the first snuff reality show. But it does shock me that I found it so compelling I can’t wait to see next week’s episode.

The concept of 10 contestants investigating a murder really is pretty cool, but the use of film stock to record the contestants (instead of TV cameras) lends a too-realistic “documentary” feel to the proceedings. And the “death” of the the first contestant was needlessly acted out, unlike the metaphoric assassinations on The Mole (and of course, in the tradition of other reality shows, the Black person was the first to go).

4 responses so far (Respond)

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You’re not alone, Matt–I missed episode 1 last Tuesday and I couldn’t TiVo last night’s rerun because it would conflict with “Sex and the City”/”Six Feet Under.” So what did I do? Fired up the VCR for the first time in God knows when and actually TAPED it. I hope my TiVo forgives me.

Max | 30 Jul 2001
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Matt, why am I not surprised that you are addicted to another bawdy, tacky, TERRIBLE show?! After all, you are the same person who actually considered not taking a job in Kirksville, MO because the local cable operator doesn’t carry the WB and you didn’t know if you could miss your weekly “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fix!! You are too much!! It is good to know that somethings are dependable and don’t change! 😉

Bertie | 30 Jul 2001
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I was really surprised at the booting — the woman hadn’t done anything to piss anyone off other than be black and female, and there were plenty of people who were getting on others’ nerves.

Beyond that depressing fact, I enjoyed the show. It’s silly to watch people pretend to be taken in by the equivalent of a mystery weekend, but the scenario is clever enough and has the potential to be addictive.

Mike B | 31 Jul 2001
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Oh come on come *on!* It’s not supposed to be high drama, it’s a reality game show. The key words here are “game show.” Is Bob Barker some kind of thespian? Did the Press Your Luck Whammies go to Juliard? C’mon. The most gripping I’ve ever found a game show was when I was four years old and scared of the dragon on Tic-Tac-Dough.

Except for maybe this show. I disagree about the elimination of contestants being “needlessly” acted out. The producers of the show are going out of their way to make the experience as real (or at least as much as a simulation) for the contestants as possible, and they’ve concocted a neat way of letting them know when they’re out of the game. I was totally engaged by the end of the show and how Kristen and Shirley had to investigate different locations, by themselves, in the dark, with the murderer waiting for one of them. If I were running a police investigation, I would never send my people out without back-up, sure, but it’s a game show, so I’m willing to make certain concessions. Plus, it’s so much better than “the tribe has spoken, now go walk over there in the most anticlimactic of manners.”

You’re right though, Matt… it’s so typical that the one black contestant got the boot first. (And as typical for the American Survivor series, it was a woman.) And I agree with you, Mike… what did Shirley do to appear weak? I mean, she stopped everyone from guessing wrong on the killer’s question by bringing up the bed linens.

So, as you can see, I’m totally into this show and am going to leave work in time to catch it tonight. My only worry is that they lead the contestants around the investigation by their noses instead of letting them track down leads once the game has started. If they keep getting told where they need to go, then they’re just performing stunts.

Jason | 31 Jul 2001