Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Breaking the spell

Two recent Oprah shows -- on autism and addictions -- have disappointed me. Both borrowed heavily from cable-television documentaries, which is a cheap way to find your subjects. Both spent a great deal of time on a number of individual subjects but didn't necessarily give varied experiences. That was obvious to me with the autism show, since I know something about the subject. The spectrum of autism disorders -- and it is a spectrum -- wasn't represented; there was nothing about Asperger's syndrome. On the addiction show, it bothered me a lot that Oprah kept asking questions and cutting people off at a certain point in their answers. Sure, she's not Bill O'Reilly, but I wasn't feeling the love. I was feeling the lecture as she quizzed five case studies.