The “Don’t bother to Travel” Channel
I was watching a program and saw a commercial for a brand new show set to start on the Travel Channel (don’t know the launch date or time, and in all honesty wouldn’t share it if I did). It’s called When Vacations Attack. Premise? ‘You spend years planning for your dream vacation, and then it turns into something you’ll never forget,’ i.e. you fall off the cliff where you were hiking, your leg gets bitten off while you’re snorkeling, your hot air balloon drifts into electrical lines, etc. You get the picture. It’s a “reality show” featuring people’s home videos about their vacations gone catastrophic. It’s similar to another shock programming show I don’t watch, Monsters Inside Me, (a show I talked about on my blog a while back HERE) which is about parasites ruining people’s lives, except in this show, the vacations do the dirty work.
Please don’t misunderstand me; I’m an extremely positive and upbeat person. I would simply like tv to be a little more positive and upbeat too. There are three programs on the Travel Channel that I think are well worth watching: No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, and Samantha Brown’s different shows. The first two are food-centric (the pleasant and brilliant Andrew Zimmern being my favorite of the two, as Bourdain’s too-cool-for-school attitude gets in the way sometimes) and Samantha’s show has a traditional format–she goes to various places around the globe and engages in plenty of activities both on and off the beaten path. These three are great travelers–great personalities, good humor, no stupid stunts, and they communicate a real sense of the place they’re visiting.
The rest of the shows on the Travel Channel are repackaged programming about hotdog-eating contests, fancy bathrooms across America, and other such nonsense. It’s kind of pathetic that on an entire network devoted to travel, there is very little travel-centric programming of quality. The following titles are actual shows that air over and over on the Travel Channel: Extreme Truckstops, Extreme Bathrooms, Extreme Fast Food, Extreme Pig-outs, 101 Chowdown Countdowns Pizza Wars, Barbecue Wars, Hamburger Wars, Ghost Stories, Steak Paradise: A Second Helping, Hotdog Paradise, Breakfast Paradise, Sandwich Paradise, Deep-fried Paradise, Doughnut Paradise, Bacon Paradise. All silly shows about people over-indulging in this and that.
Where are the non-sensationalistic programs that inspire viewers to check out different places, whether closeby or far away? Give me travel programming that highlights the different peoples, cultures, and beauty of the world. Give me programming that shows different sorts of travel. Lose the “angle.” Lose the extreme “edge.” I don’t need you to dumb down the world to get me interested in it.
So thanks, Travel Channel. You saw that you had a time slot available in your schedule and instead of using that time to show us places around the US and the world, and different manners of travel, you’ll be using it for shock programming. This one’s sure to inspire viewers to venture out their front doors.
The following is an ad for the show, taken from Youtube. The only bit of advertising for the show you’ll see from me.