June 22, 2003 08:46 PM

You know how "American Idol" just took off, much loved by all, surprise hit of the season? And you know how it spawned all those other horrid shows?

Yeah. So I'm totally in love with Fame. It appeals to my notion of art as work (the contestants start each show with this "I came to work" number, a nod to Fame old school, and you see them in rehearsal sweating and looking strained and fabulous). Maybe it's not art per se, but it feels like a reasonable facsimile. They dance! Well! That, combined with the "judges" firm gentleness and Debbie Allen's crazy fashion mama bird routine, just makes it shockingly pleasant for trompe l'oeil television.

Plus, I am totally in love with the tiny asian office manager and his Janet Jackson fabulousness. I'd pay to see that in concert.

And. The show is a dig at the other "get yr red hot fame here" television, if you look past the formulaic interview-them-till-they-cry confessional bio strategy. I mean, the judging is pointedly pleasant. Everyone is good. Some are great. Which is, looking at the people on stage, true. And a lot of the judging advice given is about practical marketing approaches for people who make stars, making the idea of the music business less of a black box for the audience. You become involved not only in who seems nicest, but who is really working, and the quality of each performance.

I know it's total schlock, but I love it.

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That's one show I haven't watched yet--I should check it out. Instead, I've been trudging through "For Love or Money," which really is quite horrible, but has lately become more entertaining.

these are the thoughts of Ruggles on June 27, 2003 10:42 AM

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