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Thursday, August 05, 2004

I [Heart] American Candidate
I put off watching American Candidate for a couple of days—it seemed like the kind of show that you record because it sounds worthy and then don’t watch because you’re too busy taking in the ancient episodes of The Simpsons and Law & Order that TiVo has gathered in its suggestions folder. I’m glad I hit play before its place was taken by English soaps and Olympic documentaries.

Man, that’s some good television! The first episode had it all—candidates you can't dislike, even when you disagree with them on just about every issue, aggravating SOBs who you know you’re going to love to hate so you hope they won’t be eliminated too quickly, weird ciphers, freaky ciphers, and interesting, cool peeps.

Poor Chrissy Gephardt—she turned out to be a sacrificial lamb. Being the first person eliminated is the reality show equivalent of finishing fourth in the Olympic trials: “the worst place in the world,” as they liked to tell us on NBC. First her dad drops out after he’s expected to do well (wasn’t he the first candidate eliminated during the primaries?), then the pretend candidate with the real-world political pedigree gets sent home the first week. 2004 hasn’t been kind to the Gephardts’ electoral ambitions. The triumphalism of the other candidates was a little hard to take—weird LA guy Bob had a ridiculous speech in the voting booth in which he said he’d been looking forward to making change with her, but then after watching her in action, he was disappointed to find “she couldn’t joust.” Joust? Well, he had just gotten medieval on her ass in the booth.

It’s clear that the most important element to the game is a good campaign manager. Chrissy chose a pal, which is nice—John was a sweet, loving guy who gave her great support when she got the ax—but he wasted too much time at the beginning, pratting about waiting to find out if Patrick Kennedy was going to make it to the rally (and I guess that was a no—never trust a Kennedy, Chrissy!). And in the end, press releases just didn’t matter—it was all about getting bums on seats in the rally venue. With Chrissy’s contacts, she should’ve been working the phones, lining up people to pack her rally. It didn’t matter who they were—you don’t get more points for one of the attendees being a Kennedy or a former majority leader. Hell, Joyce didn’t even have a venue for her rally until a few hours before the event, and she got the third-largest tally. (She also has a very tall, pale shadow for a campaign manager. He’s about as much use as a plastic poker.)

Chrissy and her campaign manager disparaged Keith’s decision to have his boyfriend be his campaign manager (“there’s a breakup [waiting to happen]”), but Keith was fierce, voting with his heart rather than tactically to remove the other gay candidate, even though his partner recommended otherwise. I love Bruce’s CM, transsexual Kayla, though she seems a strange choice for the job, since she doesn’t seem to have any experience, nor does she seem to feel particularly comfortable with people, which would seem to be requirement of retail politics. I usually don’t care for animal-rights activists (they tend not to support a woman’s right to enjoy bullfighting), but Bruce sure seemed like a cool Christian.

Park is going down—or I sure hope so. He’s the front-runner because he’s from Hicksville and could turn out a lot of folks to his rally. It gave him a lot of power in the tied first elimination event, but his heavy-handed attempts teach Chrissy Gephardt a lesson about the evils of abortion weren’t very tactful. I guess I shouldn’t be so harsh on a guy who’s done relief work in Africa, but he is one unbearable Bob Jones U. graduate.

The ultimate reality show: Fijase en ese!