Mark Terry

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Grew Up On A Chicken Farm

August 3, 2010
A while back I was channel-surfing and got caught up in some stupid reality TV show. I think it was on MTV and it had a bunch of couples who were basically going through counseling. Some of the couples just needed pointers on communication, one needed to be sent to different parts of the planet where they will never see each other again. One of the couples had a problem that I thought was interesting, but I'm not sure was solvable. (I'm also not sure just how much people on these reality shows play up their traits for TV or how much is scripted or how much is the TV producers just showing the nastiest, stupidest moments).

Anyway, one of the challenges of the show was the women were to get all dressed and made up as the "woman of your dreams" of the men. (There's much ugly to be said about that, but that's not my point today). Many of the men's reactions were seemingly appropriate. (One, again, I thought needed to be protected from himself, possibly by having an anchor tied to his ankles and thrown into the deepest part of the ocean). I personally thought a smart guy before the women got all dressed up, etc., might have said, "You're the woman of my dreams no matter how you are dressed and made up," but that kind of thinking was rather too sophisticated for TV, this group of chowderheads, and probably doesn't make for great TV, and besides, one of my wedding dance songs was Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are."

One of the guys, whose main problem was he was unable to change what came out of his mouth for different audiences (i.e., he spoke to his girlfriend the way he would talk to his buds while drinking beer and playing poker at a bachelor party), said when he saw his gorgeous girlfriend all made up, said, "You must have grown up on a chicken farm." The host of the show interrupted him ... tried desperately to interrupt him, repeatedly, to shut him off from inserting both feet up to his knees in his mouth, to, in point of fact, to save him from himself. But alas, this is reality TV, and the guy finished his sentence, "because you sure know how to raise a cock."

Well, I sort of like the joke in all its raw inappropriateness, but time and place, time and place... and audience.

And I thought about in the movie "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are talking (in between trying to kill each other) and he asks her (or vice versa, I don't remember) what she/he thought when they first saw each other. She says something about, "I thought, what a perfect mark." He said he thought, "You looked like Christmas morning."

Compare "you looked like Christmas morning" to "you look like you were raised on a chicken farm."

Both are pretty good, really, and I think you could use either one in a work of fiction (of which I tend to classify so-called Reality TV), but it would depend a tremendous amount on what you were trying to achieve, how you were trying to characterize the character in question, and your audience.



Blogger Aimless Writer said...

As soon as I heard the chicken farm remark I would have thought sleezeball. How to turn a girl off in one sentence.
But that's just me. I'd like to know how many women would take that as the compliment it was meant to be and how many would be replused. We need a survey here!
However I think I have a clear view of the character. Maybe a man who tried to hard to be cool? Anxious to impress?
Am I hitting any marks here?

8:58 AM  
Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

Did they have an episode where the man dressed up as the "man of your dreams?"

I got invited to a slaughter at a chicken farm yesterday. I declined, but I half-wish I'd gone. I would have cried rivers, but I still wish I'd gone. Could've made a short story some day. :D I did get to see and have explained to me how the slaughter takes place, as they're as humane as you can get at it.

(Yes, I fully realize this is off topic. Sorry.)

9:22 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I didn't watch it long enough to know, but he seemed like one of those guys who always had a dirty joke at the ready. I suspect that, in a lot of ways, his girlfriend liked that aspect of him, he was a good ol' boy with a sense of humor. The problem--at least as far as I could tell--was that sometimes she wanted him to say, "You're beautiful," NOT "you're totally fuckable."

And I have few problems with her POV on that.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I think they did do it both ways, although it seemed to be significantly less incendiary for the men.

In Paul Levine's "Illegal" he has a lengthy section in a slaughterhouse in southern California where a lot of illegals apparently work and it was disturbing.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Jon VanZile said...

Ha ha! I think I went to college with that guy.

6:48 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Jon, in a different age group, I'm pretty sure I worked with him in college. I spent one summer washing dishes full-time (or almost) at North Campus Commons at U of M (even though I was going to MSU) and the full-time janitor was just like that, too.

6:50 AM  

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