Why Am I Watching This: “Whodunnit?”
Hello and welcome to “Why Am Am I Watching This?”, a recurring series where a 31 one year old heterosexual professional male examines his bizarre, but mostly satisfying television and movie choices. Next up, the summer reality show “Whodunnit?”
The summer on network television is one part experiment, one part attic cleaning. Networks need to come up with some type of programming while their major series’ are on vacation. They can’t just give up entirely, or if they do, they need to at least maintain the outward illusion that they are making a serious effort to entertain you. So they do one of two things : They throw out programs that are new or different in some way, or they throw out whatever they havent yet figured out what to do with. Well you know how sometimes when you are cleaning out the attic, you find something awesome” Not really awesome like a gold bar or the complete set of “Saved By the Bell” DVDS, but something kinda awesome, like the VHS version of “Clue?” Well that’s “Whodunnit?” and I’m watching. Why? I was hoping you’d ask that.
1) What is it?
Its really entertaining. Seriously. Stop snickering. I am not kidding. I will turn this column right around! That’s better. OK, the premise sounds ridiculous, even for summer reality television. A group of strangers are brought to a mansion. In the mansion is a butler, because of course there is. They are informed by the butler upon arrival that the host just so happens to be a murderer, and is also one of them. Please don’t be confused, that previous sentence makes no sense. It is, howeve,r what happens. Though this is in theory reality television, no one makes any effort to either leave said mansion or contact a slew of locale authorities to halt an impending mass murder. They are further informed that that murderer will shortly begin murdering them, and the only way to save themselves is to solve the murders of their less fortunate colleagues. Relatedly, i just broke my personal record for most usage of variations of the word murder in one sentence. The person who is least successful at solving the homicides of their now deceased former cast murders will be the next person offed. The killer seems to be Dexter, except intent on culling the herd of the stupid, as oppossed to other homicidal maniacs. Both noble goals, of course.
2) Why am I watching it?
I don’t like mystery shows. I hate the fact that network television forces between 5 and 67 news magazine programs down my throat a week. I’d rather spend three hours plucking out my eye lashes, one by one, than watch Id discovery. I also am basically over reality television, short of occasionally watching the first episode of a new “Bachlorette” season to make fun of the entrances, the genre has gotten old for me. This was different though, it was… dare i say … interesting.
But Kip this sounds ridiculously stupid, not interesting you might rightfully say. Well it’s both. Stupid is interesting. Years and years of reality tv have proven that. The more ridiculous the premise, the more potential for entertaining television. There is one former detective on the show, one attorney, and an insurance adjuster who was burned alive in the first episode. No one else has any noticeable ability to solves mysteries beyond child proof pill containers or self service gas stations. Additionally the detective is incapable of even convincing people he isn’t a detective, which he has attempted to do repeatedly, and the attorney consistently wears skinny ties. Everyone knows you can’t solve crime in skinny ties.
Furthermore, the show is in on the joke. I am always a sucker for shows that get how stupid they are. It’s the guy holding the “I need money for beer” sign as opposed to your standard panhandler. Let’s do away with the pretense. The deaths take place at the end of each episode, and over the first two episodes they have included an ideal mix of horrific special effects, elaborate overacting, and plain stupidity. The butler is so completely absurd that it’s difficult not to chuckle at his mere on screen presence. The cast is your standard mish mash of reality tv show tropes: cool black dude, non-offensively attractive bubbly brunette, attractive blonde with a mean streak, older white guy with moustache, over the top southern woman, ethnically ambigious vest wearing guy – all the go to’s are here. The cast is so clearly a product of a casting call, the show but is all but winking at the viewer. Come on, we both know this is ridiculous; have a beer, relax, and we can laugh together. I won’t tell anyone about it if you don’t.
Overall, Sunday nights at 9 are a whole lot less interesting now that “Game of the Thrones” is over and “Dexter” continues to urinate over all the positive work of its first four seasons. If you are bored, go check out the attic, you might just find something that’s worth laughing at.