8.24.2008

The Soup


You can always tell how successful a show is by it's audience members. Not the national sitcoms filled by tourists, but the smaller, invite-only shows. Take for instance The Soup on E! A couple of years ago, a quick phone call could slip you into a Thursday night taping. A few rows of metal chairs would await you and you sat back with shaggy-haired basement dwellers in flip flops and shorts. Inside jokes abounded and everyone sat back for a quick, hilarious taping.

A few months ago, a friend and I tried to snag seats for a show only to be told it was booked for a month in advance. An entire month? What had happened? Did everyone suddenly catch on to the wonder that is Joel McHale? Shame on them for taking so long. I don't even watch television and I acknowledged long ago that he is a near perfect human.

And then the day of the show arrived. As usual, I showed up in flip flops (I walk there) and a ponytail only to be dwarfed by girls in pumps and bubble dresses. They eyed one another tensely and swooped the hair off their shoulders in dramatic flips. In the bathroom as I washed my hands, I could hear the clicking heels of an approaching girl. I smiled and said "Hi" to her through the mirror as soon as we made eye contact. She nervously turned her head and pretended it didn't happen as if I were the poster child for the Ebola virus. Was that necessary? Perhaps she couldn't see me through the inch-thick pancake make-up that must have been labeled "Orange Peel" in the department store, but I'm pretty sure she saw me.

When we were let in to the studio, there were twice as many rows of metal chairs; the first two being roped off with "Reserved" signs. The E! lawyer always sits in the front row to ensure nothing is said that could be held against them, but now he was flanked by Joel's buff stylist, sitting anxiously to ensure Joel's tie doesn't twist. High school girls made seductive faces into their compact mirrors, out-of-towners sat excitedly and breasts were pushed high to the collarbones.

The shaggy-haired basement dwellers were disappearing, the easy production-type guys who all seem to smoke a joint before entering were gone and I wondered, is this the sign of success? Joel was charming, the footage and writing hilarious and I still had a good time. I applaud The Soup for their growing success, but how can a show that laughs at vapid people who take themselves too seriously suddenly appeal to vapid people who themselves take themselves too seriously? Oh the irony.

1 comment:

Writing: By D said...

Hey Fayeruz, this is D from AV. I'd love to keep in contact with you. You disappeared so suddenly! My email is writingbyd@aol.com. Best!