The Huffington Post ran a story yesterday with the headline “14 Americans Outraged That Boston Memorial Service Interrupted ‘The Price Is Right’.” My first thought was that this sounded like something from The Onion. My second thought was that among all the people who were pissed off about their show being preempted, only 14 of them were smart enough to use a computer.
The aggrieved viewers took to Twitter and vented their frustrations with such finely phrased Tweets as this:
– I know damned well CBS did not interrupt Price Is Right for Obama… he’s taking our guns, now he’s taking my shows
– Idc about cbs’s stupid news report put price is right back on! #livid #stupidnews #IDC
– you gotta be kiddin me… got damn boston prayer service interruped the #priceisright
At issue was the outcome of the Showcase Showdown. How can these people be expected to go on with their lives without knowing if Katrina was the winner?
If the Internet had been around back in 1981, my father may very well have fired up his computer to share similar sentiments. One evening he had just settled into the recliner to watch The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo when suddenly NBC broke into programming to cover the American hostages’ return from Iran. My father was livid.
My dad isn’t a heartless bastard at all. I’m sure he was relieved that the hostages were finally back on U.S. soil. But to preempt Lobo. . .well, that was going just a bit too far. He was particularly upset that such a hero’s welcome was not given to American soldiers returning home from Vietnam just a few years before.
As much as he hated missing how that episode of Lobo turned out, I think the real reason for his anger was that interrupting what amounted to mindless entertainment at its best (or maybe worst–did you ever see that show?) forced the sad, scary realities of the world into our living room. I think the same thing happened to those 14 The Price Is Right fans. Reality punctured their little bubble of safety, where everything goes according to plan: Excited folks play Plinko, spin a gigantic wheel, and try to win a car or a dining room set. There are no bombs, no deaths, no chaos, no surprises.
I hate to break it to those devoted TPIR viewers, but given the insanity that is happening right now in Boston, your show will probably be preempted again today. So take a deep breath and say a prayer to that little yodeling mountain climber. There will always be another Showcase Showdown.