Thursday, July 09, 2009

Glamour Be Damned

(Photo by Daniel Kovach)

Meaningless awards, urine-soaked fish heads, free t-shirts, the ass-end of a cadaver dog. Work in TV News long enough and you'll experience them ALL. It's not the kind of thing they cover in J-School. (Actually, I haven't the funkiest what they cover in J-School; the closest I came to any hallowed halls was once pretending to be an ECU student after being caught in a woman's dorm after hours.) But ask anyone who's chased news stories for more than a fortnight and they'll tell you: local television is about as glamorous as a really good mail postal route. Sure, I've clamored at a few Hollywood red carpets, dodged sheet-metal as hurricanes slammed on shore and was even yelled at once by that jackhole Rusty Wallace - but those kind of encounters featured far more manure than allure. Don't believe me? Take my American Idol ordeal: Seacrest and Simon may be playing grab-ass over a catered buffet - but I'm usually stuck in the next room with a beefy dude from the mountains who thinks all the world really needs is a rapping lumberjack. Or take the time at the beach: Chad Tucker may have gone LIVE(!) from a hotel balcony while winds lashed his backdrop, but I spent most of my time downstairs, hunched over in a funk as sea-spray and bird spit soaked my granola bar. Yes, it all seemed so glitzier when I simply watched it from my couch...

I'm reminded of the CSI craze of the recent past. On all those awful chows, the crime scene team is usually an attractive couple in chiseled cheekbones, matching trench coats and designer shades (which they inexorably rip from their temples mid-sentence). In real life the mobile crime lab consists of a heavyset dude in a brown jumpsuit who rolls up in a county-owned van and eats his lunch out of the same tackle box he keeps the Luminol. The only time you'll hear Roger Daltrey scream in his presence is when he forgets to eject The Who's Greatest Hits cassette from the dashboard of his Ford Aerostar. You know, the one he sleeps in when there aren't any body fluids to sop up. Yes, like so many bad hour long dramas, the local news appears far more enchanting from the safety of your living room. Rode with me and you'll soon discover that Live, Local and Late Breaking are code words for 'You're gonna be sucking live truck engine fumes all night, no matter WHEN they find that fisherman'. It's just as well, really. Were this business as fabulous as it's portrayed in the movies, this blog would be written by a far more handsome sort who'd insist on appearing on web-cam shirtless. As it is, I'm fully dressed - and not just because I gotta take the dog out for his midnight dump.

Now, where DID I leave that leash?