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What the Hell Are We Doing Here, America?

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 29, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 29, 2019 |


masked-singer.jpg

Fox’s new reality competition, The Masked Singer, is the biggest new hit of the television season. It not only dominates Wednesday nights, but it’s the highest-rated new series of the year and tied with This is Us for the top-rated show on all of network television after three days of DVR viewership.

But why?

When The Masked Singer debuted a few weeks ago, and all the reviews suggested it was “fun garbage,” I decided to give it a go. I made the mistake of watching the first episode with my six-year-old daughters. Now I can’t stop watching it, not because I enjoy it (because I do not), but because my daughters love watching elaborately dressed unicorns and bulls and aliens and rabbits perform on stage, and now they insist upon me watching with them because they have no idea who these celebrities are and they want me to guess, and also because they — like the staff here — take great joy in my misery. Little leaves me more miserable than watching The Masked Singer.

There is nothing to this show. It’s garbage, and it’s not even fun garbage. Each week, 12 masked “celebrities” perform on stage — usually weakly — while underneath a mask (are their performances lip synced or do they actually sing through those masks?) After each performance, the judges — who don’t actually judge anything — try and guess who the celebrity in question is. “Is he Hugh Jackman? Is she Meghan Markle? Is she Mariah Carey? Cardi B? Peyton Manning?”

No! Hell no! Here’s a good rule of thumb for any celebrity reality competition: No one performing on stage is more famous than the judges, otherwise they would have been hired to be a judge. And the judges? Jenny McCarthy, Robin Thicke, Ken Jeong, and Nicole Scherzinger. That’s your baseline. No one performing is going to be more famous — at least in 2019 — than they are.

Anyway, at the end of each episode, the masked performer with the lowest number of votes from the studio audience is unmasked and sent home (at least we don’t have to wait until the next night and suffer through a results show).

This horrible show might be slightly more interesting if I actually cared anything about the celebrities under the masks. Admittedly, I was a little excited to see Antonio Brown — whose Pittsburgh Steelers had been eliminated from the playoffs three days before his performance — show up as the first “mystery” celebrity eliminated, if only because I thought it might explain why he basically abandoned the Steelers (the show is pre-taped, so it may have been recorded last summer, for all I know) and because — at least in my mind — Antonio Brown is super famous, because he fetches $70 in fantasy football auctions. But after the second “celebrity” was revealed to be Tommy (f**king) Chong, I was basically done with The Masked Singer … except that my daughters were like, “Hell no, you’re not done. You’re going to sit here and you’re going to make guesses, and when you are wrong, we are going to laugh at you. You’re not going anywhere.” God, they learn so young, don’t they?

And so I suffered through another Terry Bradshaw performance, somewhat hoping that it would be Peyton Manning under the mask because it would make the show more interesting, and also praying against it, because I would lose complete respect for Peyton Manning. (Also, the clue was “horses”. WTF do horses have to do with Terry Bradshaw and the Steelers?)

I will grant The Masked Singer this much: Joel McHale was added as a judge for the last two episodes (I don’t know if he’s sticking around or not), and he at least takes nothing seriously and mocks not just the show and its ridiculous format but the guesses of the other judges. “Hugh Jackman? What are you, high?!” Though, seeing McHale on The Masked Singer is almost as embarrassing as not seeing him on that quickly canceled CBS sitcom, The Great Indoors. What happened, McHale?

I’ll also say this: The last reveal was … cool, in part because of how excited Dr. K was. She is not particularly well known anymore, but she is a comedy icon.

Whatever. It’s still a terrible show, and I hate it.

Also, the unicorn is definitely Tori Spelling. Go f**k yourselves.



Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.


Header Image Source: Fox


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