‘Wheel’ Offers a Different Take on America
October 22, 2008 10:27 AM
Do you live in Real America or Fake America? It’s a question that Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart asked this week on his cable parody news program.
But you can also get answers to a similar question in the Web show “A Year at the Wheel,” which I’ll be reviewing today as part of my current slate of Twitter-Facebook Web show reviews.
The premise of the show, according to the Web site, is this: "A married couple sets out on the road for an entire year with their dog and turtle to cover the election from the underside of America—the underground, the underpaid and the under-reported on ZIP codes. The filmmaking duo put humanity to the test, starting out with less than $200 in their pockets, no credit cards, no bank account or safety net. They make their way from town to town, working odd jobs, depending on the kindness of strangers, and looking for a reason to cast a vote come Election Day."
It’s kind of similar in ethos to “Amtrekker,” but the biggest difference is the specific focus on the election in “A Year at the Wheel.”
In a recent episode of “A Year at the Wheel,” the filmmakers posed this question to men and women on the street: “What do you think is the best and the worst thing about America?” The answers ranged from drugs to the free market of ideas to ignorance to the land to the people.
When I think about the range of sources we can and should get our election news from, it occurs to me that it can’t hurt to have “A Year at the Wheel” in the mix, alongside The New York Times, CNN, ABCNews.com, Politico, etc.
Why? Because the show delivers on its promise—it gives a real sense of what real people are thinking. And not the two-second sound bites from “real people” that get dropped into network news.