When Fox premiered the dating-deception show I Wanna Marry “Harry” last month, it raised the question of whether there was yet a reality-show concept so insulting, cynical, sexist and shameless that TV viewers would refuse to watch.
There was, and they did. The show, in which an English working stiff passed himself off as Prince Harry to a dozen American women, premiered to staggeringly low ratings in May, and they only got worse–bad enough to get Fox to pull the show off the schedule even in the low-ratings months of summer. Barely 2 million people watched the first showing; by this week, that number dipped just below a million. Ultimately, one assumes, it would be watched only by the losers of bets and people who had just died in front of their television sets.
This is a contentious time in a polarized nation. We can’t agree on politics or cultural norms. But it is often said that Americans’ divisions stop at the water’s edge. That we may be divided and squabble among ourselves at home, but when a threat to our being arises from without our borders, we unite. And so we did this time, America. Faced with an assault against our sensibilities by a gross, misogynist reality show fronted by a usurper British prince (OK, and produced by Ryan Seacrest), we hoisted our remotes like Minutemen, like the flag-bearers on Iwo Jima, and as one, changed the channel. This will not stand.
Harry is dead as a broadcast TV show, but it’s not gone altogether: Fox will make the rest of the episodes available through video-on-demand and online–including Fox.com and Hulu–where space is endless and it need never be cancelled. But never say never, fellow countrymen! We’ve got Harry on the run–we need to get out there and not-watch the show even harder than before.
Thank you… and God bless America.