Star Academy vs. The Simpsons

Saturday, October 02, 2004

One of the moments I most remember from the Simpsons was during a certain Valentine’s day episode. Lisa sends a Valentine to Ralph, out of pity, and this sparks a whole series of false hopes in him, out of which he asks her out on a date. She accepts his proposal, mainly out fear of hurting his feelings. However, when the camera is on them, and Ralph professes his undying love for her, Lisa rejects him absolutely, telling him that she only dated him out of pity. Then we see Ralph do a double choke and his whole body and face crumples in pain. This rewinds, and we see it in slow motion and while hearing Bart say « you can actually see the moment where his heart breaks, over and over and over….» (rewind-play slo mo-rewind-freeze frame).

The genius of this moment is in how we can actually see the moment of deep and irremovable pain in Ralph, his whole body convulsing in gruesome emotional trauma. It’s spectator sport at its most obscene.

Last night, while watching Star Academy, I witnessed something similar.

The biggest shit to go down on that show, because this year it seems to be quite boring, is, as usual, the love affairs between the students. There are several hopeful couples, but the couple which seemed to have the most potential, the most real life love, was Karima and Harlem. He’s like a children-friendly french Eminem, and she’s just his cute little Arabian princess. While Karima can sing and dance passably, she winces and minges about a little too much to be actually charming.

They’re relationship has gone from friendly tussling, to flirting in the jacuzzi, giggling together during rehearsals, prancing around each other, getting hot and oily, and finally, sleeping in the same bed (though it’s all PG-13 stuff). It’s obvious he digs her. It’s seems kind of probable she likes him too.

Which makes last night’s voting the big surprise. When the students were asked to pick between Morgan and Karima, the vote was tight and decided by one. Harlem picked Morgan. Here’s what he said :

« Last night I spent the night with Karima, to comfort her. And that’s why maybe my decision will come as a bit of a surprise… I pick Morgan. »

(camera on Karima) Karima’s face crumples slightly, her smile still plastered dead on, but she stops swinging her hips and her eyes go completely flat. Hi Ralph.

Why ? There are four possible solutions. Either he really likes Karima, but he thinks she’s a really shit artist. OR…in the midst of comforting her, he tries something, and she rejects him. OR…he realizes in that moment that she’s a really silly pathetic girl and he can’t support her anymore…OR she tells him she doesn’t want to be there anymore.

I don’t think it’s the first one, because people don’t vote like that with their loved ones. I don’t think it’s the third one because it’s obvious he still likes her. I think it’s number two and four combined…she whines about how maybe she’s really bad and maybe it’s time for her to go home because she can’t take the pressure anymore, then, while crying into his armpit she realizes he has a mega boner which cannot be ignored, and a funny reaction, a slight rejection, and that’s all.

Whichever one it is, it just comes down to one thing…I’m sad I didn’t tape this episode because I’d like to rewind and see the reactions all over again. And…I don’t know why in the hell I have any reason to keep watching this show since romance and bitty booty are what makes it watcheable. Unless it’s to watch the ever-bad dancer Francesca get down with Kamel (who I always thought was gay, like all professional dancers.)