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Marianne Paskowski



Thumbs Down for 'Without Prejudice?'

July 3, 2007 10:04 AM

Just viewed a rough cut of a new GSN series, “Without Prejudice?,” a new hour series that debuted in the United Kingdom and won an International Emmy. The series is a hybrid: game show, reality show and sociology experiment, which will debut on cable net GSN July 17

Sounds intriguing, until you actually watch it. While many British imports like “Survivor” make it big on this side of the pond, I don’t see that being the fate for the American version of “Without Prejudice?.” Contestants are vying to win $25,000 based on their comments to panelists who judge whether they are exhibiting prejudice. The viewing experience is flat, even though the show’s intent is to get viewers thinking about prejudice in a productive way.

For example a Filipino man who is one of the judges declares at the onset that he doesn’t like black people. Magically, by the show’s end, he winds up voting for a young black male contestant just like that.

Sorry, but the topic of prejudice, to me, is too important to be trivialized in a game show format. Hey, what do I know? I predicted that “Survivor” would be a flop.


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Comments (36)

Jeff Mulligan:

Marianne,

I've got to see the premier episode of this program, if only to understand what you're describing.

A game show built around prejudice? I guess it won an Emmy because it's on the side of the angels (the anti-Black racist votes for the Black guy anyway). But on the Game Show Network?

PBS sounds more like it, with tapes distributed to every high school class in America for deep discussion. Or maybe nothing. Gotta see if this off-the-wall idea has some true redeeming social value.

Jeff

Cruiser:

Yo, Blondie --

A program about prejudice? What could be more all-American, or more all-Brit? No wonder it won an International Emmy. Pejudice is where it's at' ask your local jihadist or Bush supporter.

Cruisin not bruisin

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Jeff,

It's different. I love the concept of TV tackling prejudice, but don't demean the topic, like GSN is, by giving it a game show forum.

Marianne

Marianne Paskowski:

Cruisin,

This might be above your head, but after touring the Ann Frank museum in Amsterdam, and staying for footage about prejudice and what it wreaks, I say, like Jeff said earlier this show deserves a more serious platform, like PBS.

Happy 4th,
Blondie

Mr. Abernathy:

Dear Ms. Paskowski:

Statistical analysis of audience ratings over the last 25 years proves conclusively that, at as much as the 5-sigma level of significance, liberal issues such as anti-prejudice, fail to win voter allegiance. Maybe Britain is different, but the instrincts aroused by reality TV, American Idol, WWFand their ratings-busting ilk suggest that bleeding-heart TV doesn't cut it--unless the heart is bleeding because of some criminal foul play.

Sincerely,
Mr Abernathy

Marianne Paskowski:

Dear Mr. Abernathy,

I know you're probably holed up in some research tower, frankly, I don't understand half of what you say. Maybe you're right about liberal issues falling upon deaf ears here. I doubt Michael Moore's movie "Sicko" will change a single thing.

Sincerely,
Ms. Paskowski

Cruiser:

PBS-scan all you want, Blondie.

But take a careful look at this country, from its history through to its current government. Don't dismiss realistic viewpoints as "over your head."

Look at what happens on the street. Any TV attempt to portray "racists" who change their viewpoints 180-degrees in the course of an hour program smacks of manipulation: actors faking it for the cameras.

Cruisin not bruisin

Marianne Paskowski:

Cruiser,

You make a point. I often wonder if any of these so called reality shows are really real.

Happy 4th,
Marianne

Gonzoguy:

Making a game show out of prejudice? Might as well make a show about breathing or urination--something so intrinsic to human existence that it hardly bears mention.

Fact is, prejudice is what makes most religions 'go round: groups justifying their own existence by fanning prejudicial flames against people who are "different." Look at how far Hitler and Goebbels got with that--and lots of Americans sympathized!

You can win an International Emmy award from liberals for exposing prejudice for what it is. But it won't fly commercially. It's far too commonplace.

Marianne Paskowski:

Gonzoguy,

Well prejudice is no laughing matter, as all of you have pointed out in your own ways. I just don't see making a game show out of it, not with everything that is going on with Iraq, illegal immigrants, you name it. It just isn't funny. Maybe after watching Lou Dobbs persistant diatribes on CNN about illegal immigrants, possibly, this might be a breath of fresh air. That's the best I can say. The press kit, BTW, tends to tack illegal immigrants in a future segment.

Marianne

West Coast Dave:

I believe? that Einstein said it best in a book he wrote before WWII called I think? Facts & Opinions where he said and I shall paraphrase for Mr. Abernathy..."WE shall always have prejudice in the races of one type or another but to give up on trying to stop it would be worse than having it".... great show yeah sure...not even in Kalifornia......
WCD

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Dave,

The should could be revealing, but making a game out of racial stereotypes is just dumb.

Marianne

Sheree:

Hi Mrs. Paskowski. I have to agree with you; making a show about the negative sides of human beings for a profit is just tacky. I live in TN where racism doesn't happen very often; mostly because people are smart enough to keep their ideas to themselves. I wonder if the people who go on this show realize that they will be watched by other's who may hold these viewpoints against them later in life; making it difficult for themselves to get/keep a job, buy a house etc. I know some people who are racists may feel justified by the viewpoints on tv and that's what scares me the most. I got the same feeling when Survivor decided to split the groups up by race instead of something more valuable, like gender or age or even Northerner's vs. Southerner's. I won't watch this show, just like I never watch Ice Cube's "Black&White" or Survivor. Quite Frankly, I don't have time for this sort of crap.
Take care and thanks for your opinion.
sheree

Sheree:

Hi Mrs. Paskowski. I have to agree with you; making a show about the negative sides of human beings for a profit is just tacky. I live in TN where racism doesn't happen very often; mostly because people are smart enough to keep their ideas to themselves. I wonder if the people who go on this show realize that they will be watched by other's who may hold these viewpoints against them later in life; making it difficult for themselves to get/keep a job, buy a house etc. I know some people who are racists may feel justified by the viewpoints on tv and that's what scares me the most. I got the same feeling when Survivor decided to split the groups up by race instead of something more valuable, like gender or age or even Northerner's vs. Southerner's. I won't watch this show, just like I never watch Ice Cube's "Black&White" or Survivor. Quite Frankly, I don't have time for this sort of crap.
Take care and thanks for your opinion.
sheree

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Sheree,

Know how you feel, I had the very same feeling when Survivor decided to split the groups by race. Somebody much older than me once said, "why can't we live together like a Crayola box," 48 colors with odd names in harmony?"

Marianne

GG:

I think the panel of judges were more disappointing than the contestants....the philipino man was totally obnoxious talking abt the older lady having one foot in the grave & then not liking african americans...he is totally an idiot and should never have been on the air...and over eager Ms Christie is also an embarrassing blemish - maybe she was to busy trying to impress the Marine...the Mariane and older black gentlemen were the only 2 that seem to have any common sense...but I must admit after abt 30 minutes, I changed the channel as I thought - what a waste....

Marianne Paskowski:

Been thinking about this show. It's supposed to reveal the prejudices of the judges and not the contestants. That it did. I think it's upside down, should be the other way around.

Marianne

Sandra:

I think it may be a weird setting for an issue like this to be on a gameshow, but I think w/ all the chaos that's going on in the world tv is one of the best outlets for info. People don't have time to read papers or search the web for news. People come home and watch tv to relax. If they sit down to watch a gameshow and somehow learn a little something at the same time, good job.

Marianne Paskowski:

Sandra,

Thanks for the post. This is not game show trivia, it's about life.

Marianne

Davis:

The podcast for this show just came out on itunes, but you've been able to find videos for a while on youtube. Check it out: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=260233972

Lucy:

Haven't seen a full episode yet, just clips online. Thanks for the podcast link. I'll check it out.

Dave:

I don't plan on watching another episode of "Without Prejudice". Done properly, prejudicial viewpoints can be showcased on a game show. But "WP"
which is advertised as groundbreaking, is simply boring.

There is no enlightening discussion on prejudice. Prejudicial remarks simply lie there to gawk at, reminding me more a Jerry Springer show than an honest attempt to heal the nation of prejudice.

Contestants are also obviously screened, so a cross section of the American population is not represented, similar to Jerry Springer.

In fact, I never thought I would say this, but I like the Jerry Springer show more. At least it doesn't pretend to be anything other than lightweight TV.

Marianne Paskowski:

Well Dave

The whole concept of making a game show out of racial stereotypes to me is not curative but negative. I rest my case.
Marianne

Kamai:

I agree Marianne. I'm not sure this is good for TV. There's a time and place for these kinds of discussions. I don't think as a TV show where someone wins money is it.

Sandra:

I keep missing the show :( Is there a way for me to watch past episodes, like on their website or something?

Marianne Paskowski:

Sandra,

Someone earlier posted up here how you can find clips on line. I could care less. Hate the show.
Marianne

Dave:

Well Marianne,

I largely agreed with your review and am glad you called the show as you did...thumbs down, flat and trivializing an important issue.

The point I disagreed with is that I am not pre-judging the game show format as inappropriate to deal with prejudice, in the off-chance that a show does air that has curative elements.

Before Phil Donahue and Oprah Winfrey, it seemed unlikely that talk shows could have ever advanced social dialogue. However, both have some success in doing so.

Maybe some day that will happen with a game show. "Without Prejudice", however, is not it.

Marianne Paskowski:

Dave,
I doubt it here,
Regards,
Marianne

Sandra:

I like it, simply for the fact you might realize the fact that you yourself do tend to judge people just by looks. I think people can and hopefully will see themselves and change it.

Carrie:

Looking forward to tonight's episode. Looks like it could get heavy, especially when dealing with religion.

Marianne Paskowski:

Sandra,

Good for you. It could be great if it weren't a cheap game show.

Marianne

Marianne Paskowski:

Yeah, right Carrie, nothing like making a game show out of religious differences.

Sandra:

It is just a new platform to get the information out there. They are usind this television show to try to educate, unfortunately the society we live in watches tv it does not read.

kerri:

I think this show can be overwhelming but I think it can be really good also. I wonder if it is going to be picked up for another season??

Sandra:

Yeah I applied to be a panelist on the show for season 2. It was on the GSN website so I'm supposing it got picked up for another season.

Marianne Paskowski:

Wow,
You guys are fans if you drilled down this far into the archive to continue the thread.

Have fun talking amongst yourselves,
mp

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