I really wanted this issue to be Charlie Sheen-free. Honestly.
However, I couldn’t help but be flummoxed by the media frenzy surrounding the exploits of the former Two and a Half Men star. During the height of the hype, when the actor’s pronouncements of having “tiger blood” and of his apparent “winning warlock” status were flying fast and furiously, it wasn’t uncommon to see entertainment trades being completely dominated by Sheen’s outbursts. At one point, I counted 11 Sheen-related stories on the home page of one U.S.-based trade’s site. One could chalk this up to a slow news day (hell, a slow news week?) but unfortunately, it probably speaks more to our society’s fascination with bad behavior, and our morbid desire to watch the trainwreck – any trainwreck – as it unfolds. But still, is “Charlie Sheen sends first tweet” really that newsworthy?
I don’t know what it reveals when a running gag on blogs was guessing which cable network would be the first to offer Sheen a show. Indeed, on FunnyorDie, the actor even “hosted” a mock cooking show.
While TLC was among the first to line up a quick-turnaround documentary on the subject of Sheen, when reports circulated that HDNet had indeed been talking to Sheen about a reality series, my worst fears seemed to have been confirmed. However, that story has faded from view and hopefully it was just conjecture. Personally, I think Spike TV’s treatment of the whole fracas, Charlie Sheen’s Winningest Moments, using the animations of a Taiwanese production company to set the whole shebang into a cartoonish spoof, is the most appropriate treatment of the affair I’ve heard of thus far, especially of the media coverage. There are undoubtedly deeper issues at play here in this situation, but they’re more or less ignored in favor of the assorted erraticisms.
I know there’s a place for entertainment, and that our love of trainwreck TV may not be going anywhere soon, but surely there are more important stories to be told. In our MIPTV Picks, found in this issue beginning on pg. 49, you’ll learn of several of them. Do check them out.
IN OTHER NEWS: Beginning this issue, I’m thrilled to introduce a new name to the realscreen masthead. Many of you who attended the Realscreen Summit met our new associate editor, Adam Benzine, doggedly chasing stories and braving the swirl of activity that characterizes Summit time. Adam joins us from the UK, where he was most recently factual editor and senior reporter at C21. I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome Adam to the fold, and for those of you who would like to do the same, please drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.