Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Love is in the Meadows"

That's the English translation of the name of the popular French television program that inspired "Farmer Wants a Wife," which premiers tonight on the CW channel. A story on NPR this evening described the French program, as well as French reaction to it. The program is quite popular in France, where 10% of French people watch it. Farmers there, of which 1 in 5 are single, are not so amused. They object to the stereotypes about rural living, with one commenting on the idea that rural living means getting up at 5 am and always "doing things for the cows." All of the farmers unions in France have condemned the program.

I wonder how the American counterpart will go over here. Looking at the promo on the CW website, I see that it, too, is buying into some unflattering rural stereotypes. Of course, lots of popular U.S. television programs have done that over the years. Recall "Beverly Hillbillies" and "Green Acres." A few years ago, an ad appeared in my hometown paper (Newton County (AR) Times) seeking people interested in participating in a new reality program that would have country bumpkins changing places/interacting with LA types. Don't know if it ever got off the ground, but I was offended by the concept.

Back to "Farmer . . . Wife," the photo is from the CW website. Most of the photos there showed the women looking ridiculous, doing things like chasing and feeding chickens in their $100 sunglasses and skimpy shorts. I opted for this one, which would indicate that Matt the Farmer doesn't even drive his own tractor. (He's in the trailer with the women). How disappointing.

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