Do you hate anyone enough to post a vicious YouTube video rant against them? (Please say no, even if you’re lying to me. It’s already been a traumatic month.)
In our strident, express-yourself-even-if-you’re-being-a-jerk culture, there are plenty of people who do. Repeatedly. Especially when they dislike celebrities. And it seems The CW believes that giving such “haters” a televised platform with which to spew more venom is a good plan. (Of course, they also think Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries are other winning ideas …)
This fall Mario Lopez is slated to host H8R, a new reality “hate show” scheduled to air this fall in which the common man vents his revulsion toward the über-infamous Kim Kardashian, LeBron James, Paris Hilton and Snooki types of the world.
The show works something like this: Haters send in their video tirades against a certain star. The celebrity watches them and then decides which contestant to visit personally in an attempt to win the person’s love—or at least their civility. And because it wouldn’t be reality TV without as much uproar as possible, the louder, more vociferous a rant is, the better chance that contestant has of being noticed and visited.
Star “lovers” will participate as well, though it’s unclear what role they will play. In any case, the show bothers me. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous might have kicked off celebrity mania in the last century, but shows like Cribs and I Want a Famous Face have helped to stir a new level of obsession. This show turns all that celebrity obsession on its ear and instead taps into a totally different sort of celebrity obsession, giving us a show designed to turn celebrity haters into … celebrities.
What’s the attraction for a show like this? Is it that so many average Joes and Janes feel insecure in their own skin and long to live vicariously through others? Is it because people somehow feel better about themselves when hating on others?
Probably both. Screenrant.com has a point:
“H8R’s producers have found a way to continue making the cheap, mass-market programming that much of the country loves—while simultaneously attracting the demographics that despise them. If it works, The CW may very well have its cake and eat it too.”
Obviously, we’ve not seen the show. But from what I can tell right now, I’m hoping would-be fans will skip this cake and reach for a carrot instead.