I have no doubt that when historians look back at us from two thousand years in the future, they will sneer and express shock at reality television in the way that we sneer and express shock at the Roman spectacles of throwing Christians to the lions. Reality TV simply is that barbaric. And now, it gets worse! Via Cinematical comes the news of a new series inspired by The Hurt Locker… as well as, presumably, by the fact that people in lots of places are kindly asking us to vacate their countries with strategically placed IEDs:
Bomb Patrol: Afghanistan will follow a US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit through basic training and tag along for a several month deployment to Afghanistan. For some reason I don’t think there’ll be any over-the-top Jeremy Renner types on this program.
Oh, I’m sure Cinematical’s Alison Nastasi is completely wrong: Where would the entertainment value of this show be without a fucked-up Jeremy Renner type?
G4 President Neal Tiles explained the rationale behind the decision: “There is simply no way to comprehend the incredible amount of pressure and split-second decision making these individuals must undertake in the worst possible physical conditions without riding along with them as our cameras will do. This is a rare opportunity to showcase the work of the courageous men and women on the front lines and share with our viewers all the real-life drama, teamwork, danger and triumph that goes along with this specialized job.”
See? It’s a public service. It’s supporting the troops. And the only way it can be done is through the magic and the wonder of television. It’s noble.
Imagine what the Roman emperors could have done with TV. There’d be a moving fictional drama about soldiers stationed along Hadrian’s Wall. There’d be news reports about the insurgency among the Germanic tribes who didn’t appreciate the Roman legions bringing civilization to them. And there’d be a reality show about the trials of being a gladiator in the Coliseum.
And today’s historians would write theses about how propagandistic it all was.
But hey, when we do it, it’s a rare opportunity to blah blah blah. So enjoy!