This is a bit of a perennial question for me; the Oscars last night brought it back to mind. For televised events, I can’t imagine much that could be less interesting than an awards show. You’ve got stale patter from the host. You’ve got an endless stream of famous people giving the rote acceptance speech, thanking god, the Academy, and their parents. You’ve got dreadful big spectacle musical numbers and (to borrow a phrase from NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour) “A Tribute to The MOVIES!” routines. You have several hundred reaction shots.
You’ve got, in other words, like four hours of concentrated non-entertainment. At least, that’s how it seems to me. Ratings remain decent enough to keep them on the air, though, so there must be something to it for somebody. About the only thing I can see is the casual NASCAR fan appeal of live tv–you always might get “lucky” and see a wreck. But that can’t explain it all. My best guess, such as it is, is that it has something to do with that “caring about celebrities” gene that I plainly lack. But even then, you can read People or whatever. So, folks, what’s the appeal?