Monday, March 7, 2011
Tacky Torture or Good TV?
After a studying marathon with Spouse (see previous post) I needed a break and turned on the TV. It happened to land on a Lifetime channel show called "Coming Home." It features military members reuniting with their families after service overseas. As many others have, I've enjoyed seeing home videos of this sort of thing on YouTube, etc. Sometimes there are ecstatic dogs involved and more often stunned and thrilled children being surprised at school by a returning parent. Lifetime channel's show takes it a few steps over the line, if you ask me. Maybe it's good that I caught only the second half of last night's episode. The host of the program is likable enough and seems sensitive, but some of the gimmicks the show uses to surprise unsuspecting family members didn't work for me. The worst offender was a manufactured scene in which knights (in shining armor, of course) fought on horseback and on foot. The soldier's wife had already reunited with her husband, introducing him to another son born while he was away. No one clued-in the 8 year old son who thought he was just going to a cool jousting match. He and his mother sat in a special viewing area above the action. When it came time for the father/soldier to come out, he was dressed in chainmail and armor, wearing a shiny helmet to conceal his identity. Waiting for his moment to enter the ring, he was standing directly below where his son and wife were seated. He kept looking up, realizing he was this close to hugging his son, but had to follow through with the charade. I was screaming in my head for him to dump the costume and go grab his son and wife. Instead, torturous moments passed with the son kneeling in front of the knight/father while the host commented on the moment. AAAARGH!! FINALLY, the father took off the shiny helmet, revealing himself to his overjoyed little boy. Lots of hugging, kissing and "I love you" and "I missed you" made me weep with happiness through my anger. I was disgusted and embarrassed at how much the show was milking this intimate moment. Now I like a happy ending as much as anyone else and I'm sentimental to a fault. However, dragging out a homecoming with stupid gimmicks is disrespectful and cheapens the moment - or - am I missing something important here?