In her post, "American Idolatry," Ann Handley talks about how her family's American Idol experience was ruined when her DVR box jumped ahead to Live TV at a critical moment. I had a similar experience. Before I rant, some caveats...
1) I hate American Idol. I hate the concept. It's as if Simon Cowell was too lazy to get out and see independent artists, so he created this shitty show so he could be the world's biggest A&R guy without having to get up off his doughy ass. I hate Paula Abdul and that look she always has on her face as if she's stepping into the sunlight for the first time after an all-night coke binge. I hate Randy Jackson and how he's always calling people "Dog." I hate how I can feel the sensation of IQ points leeching out of my left ear and dissipating into the atmosphere when I watch it.
2) I watch this crappy excuse for a television show only because my wife is addicted to it. If you're married you understand. If you're not, I don't want to hear about it in comments.
3) Most of the time I spend watching American Idol, I'm heckling the TV and generally making a pain in the ass out of myself so that my wife will shut it off. I root for Sanjaya when I know he's not even on the show anymore. I compare Jason Castro to a stoner I knew in high school who lived in the woods behind a 7-Eleven. I complain loudly about how I'd rather jam a fork in my ear than listen to Kristy Lee Cook's rendition of Journey's "Faithfully." This is my coping mechanism.
Now, on to my rant.
My wife was kind enough to pick me up at the airport Wednesday night during the finale, so when we got home, she started watching the DVR recording. I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth when Ryan Seacrest starting doing his schtick, and I poked my head out so I could see the TV. The winner of the 2008 American Idol (long pause) is (long pause) David (carrier lost....)
That's right. The recording ended at exactly the point at which we'd find out who the winner was.
Now, even I was pissed. I didn't spend all these nights NOT playing my guitar or Grand Theft Auto IV so I could NOT find out which marginally-talented emo kid would win this ugly fiasco.
And if I'm expected to believe that the timing of the recording cutoff wasn't something engineered by Fox, they need to understand that while I can usually feel myself getting dumber while I'm watching their crappy talent show, I'm not that dumb yet.
The joke's on Fox, though. We skipped all the crummy commercials, and when we were deprived of our winner, my wife jumped on her computer and went right to the Internet. Turns out the emo dweeb I was sort of rooting for won, rather than the emo dweeb my wife was rooting for. (Hey, I didn't think that rendition of "Billie Jean" was that bad... Plus, he sang an Our Lady Peace song at one point.)
Normally, I'd be really tweaked at the networks for doing stuff like this. Such stunts are not uncommon. In fact, I'd venture that they're getting stale. Fortunately for me, I was too elated that we'll have to wait for a whole new TV season before American Idol gets a chance to siphon off any more IQ points.