Thursday, May 29, 2008

Scott Baio is 46 ... and a mess.

Reality TV has become the dominate programing in our society, flooding homes with "real" versions of cultural normalities. Having a reality TV show based on the life of one person, has allowed some celebrities to legitimize their place in Hollywood and a forum to portray how they deal with life. Often the impression left behind is not taken seriously, and the celebrities are manipulated through editing and scripting to enact in a way the media needs them to be.

The celebrity reality TV show "Scott Baio is 46 and pregnant" follows star Scott Baio through his trials and tribulations of marriage, pregnancy and responsibility. The season prior examined Baio's hesitation toward commitment with the help of a life coach, and after successfully coming to terms with settling down, after accepting Baio's proposal, his fiance Renee tells him she is pregnant. These are all but happy days for Baio.

This episode is the first of the second season, entitled "Emergency Meeting", shows Baio running away to be alone after finding out the life changing news, in his attempt to get away he has a panic attack in the parking lot, freaks out on the valet, and breaks into his country club. Once settle among the golf carts, Scott asks his trusted friends to come meet him for an emergency meeting, where he continues to freak out with friends, and is warned to make sure Renee just was not trying to "trap" him.

When watching the episode many areas for analysis become present. As mentioned previously Baio acted out violently as an expression of excitement, fear and anguish. These actions show that Baio is acting in a "masculine" way. Baio relates to his gender category and celebrity lifestyle that socially permits him to act as a
nonrelating, fast paced playboy, a lifestlye that he was socialized into as a child star (Newman). With women chasing him his entire life, he does not understand the concept of stopping or chasing a woman himself. He displays violent reactions to situations, and is always worry about who he is without all the "skirt chasing".
Baio expresses his hegemonic norms of affirming his concerns with friends who reinforce his gender dominant tendencies. There is the idea that the women is going to trap him in a commitment of marriage and children. The reactions from the friends are ideas that have been created through social and cultural impact, what the author Newman refers to as contructionality which is how humans define and categorizes situations through life experience and humanities interpretations.

The shows entertainment value is based upon watching Baio react irrationally to the struggles of life. This would represent the idea of as "governing at a distance", which examines the relationship of reality TV and governmental ideals in everyday life, "how reality TV diffuses and amplifies the government of everyday life, utilizing the cultural power of asses and guide ethics..." (Ouellette and Hay, p2) The views enjoy watching Baio have more anxiety then his pregnant fiance, she tries to govern him behaviors, the psychiatrist tries to guide him, and his friends try too, all while he himself is analyzing his own behavior. This brings up the thought, is what he showing to be his feelings real? If they are, who says that he should be forced to act a certain way? Or are his actions simply created by the media company in order to draw viewers in to help Baio deal too?

This brings us to the idea of power in the media, not just how the media has on society as a whole but rather how the media affects our own rationale. Again this brings back up the idea that Baio's behaviors should not be his fixed way of being. When interpreting the issues of power, Baio battles with the ability of self governance, to chose to fix "abnormal behaviors" through a false sense of freedom and the pursuit of becoming the ideal member of society, or in this case in terms of commitment and fatherhood. That struggle is really what the whole show is based around, how is Baio suppose to be acting and dealing with life.

In conclusion, there is little certainty that Scott Baio took into consideration his audience when reacting to life, or if he at least considered the thought of social responsibility when lashing out. It is highly doubtful, but one thing is certain, Scott Baio is pregnant, and his actions and interpretations of life are not only being filtered to television viewers, but also the next generation of Baios'.

-Ouellette, Laurie. Hay, James. Better Living Through Reality TV. Blackwell Publishing. 2008.
-Newman, Chapter 2 & Chapter 4.
-Scott is 46 and Pregnant. VH1. Season 2: Episode 1. Video

(From top to bottom)
#1. "Scott is 46 and pregnant.

#2. Scott and friends.

#3. Scott and Renee.