Chuck Barris, the creator of The Gong Show, has died at the age of 87.
As an early Gen Xer, I remember watching The Gong Show on television when I come home for lunch from school. But, as readers of Writers Without Money know from Daniel Levine’s great appreciation of The Gong Show last year, Chuck Barris also touched the millennial generation.
RIP Chuck. I won’t use that silly “Rest in Power” sendoff the left uses whenever a beloved celebrity dies, but I will say “rest with a paper bag over your head.” We all know you were really the Unknown Comic.
As the time spent with the screen approaches or surpasses the time spent outside it, so the parables, overt or otherwise, of men trapped in their own creations or those of others, of individuals trapped in the television pile up in increasing quantities. They pile up without our noticing and the more obvious examples of this phenomena like The Truman Show become less interesting. The Truman Show bores me because its coming at the realization that TV has impacted social relations from the tired and, at the present moment, irrelevant parable of the person seeing their life was a lie and coming to the truth. Ho hum. Very reassuring because it dodges the real issue at hand-there is no escape.
The art that best explores the horror and glee of being trapped in the reflection of the screen is not that which consciously approaches the question as such; as the…
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