The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Monday, November 30, 2009 - 7A
. Like a failing Stone
How Rolling Stone
sold out and
broke my heart
By JEFF SANFORD
I'm not certain what the final
straw was, exactly. It could
have been this summer's Adam
Lambert (that asinine "Ameri-
can Idol" runner-up) issue. Or
maybe it was the utterly useless
Megan Fox cover that did me in
(although she was pretty hot,
if I may say). Or perhaps it was
the special, Tiger Beat-ish Jonas
Brothers edition ("72 pages of
intimate photos OMG!") released
Yep. Come to think of it, that
was probably it.
After 10 tumultuous years as a
RollingStone magazine subscrib-
er, I finally ended my subscrip-
tion via an angry, exclamation
point-filled e-mail. While some
(read: most) serious music lovers
wrote off Rolling Stone a long,
long time ago, it took me until
quite recently to finally relieve
myself of the head-pounding, bi-
monthly migraine that accompa-
nied each issue's arrival.
You see, as infuriating as it
was at times, I held the maga-
By ERIC CHIU
Pathos is usually a hard thing to
get right. Good drama and pathos
often go hand in
hand, but if a show
goes too far in one
direction, it risksnR My
dropping into the 7
pitfall of standard- Family
grade schmaltz. Mondays at
"Find My 9:30 p.m.
Family," the lat-
est reality- show ABC
from ABC, makes
no bones about where it falls on
this spectrum. The show revolves
around hosts Tim Green and Lisa
Joyner reuniting adopted children
with their birth parents, recount-
ing the backstory of how and why
the parents originally gave up their
Coming from the production
team behind the "Extreme Make-
over" series, the levels of unadulter-
ated schmaltz at work here make
Thomas Kinkade look like Salvador
Dali. The show stages the reunions
under a literal tree - appropriately
and cheesily dubbed the "Fam-
ily Tree" - and it's all scored by
an absurd overly dramatic score,
complete with swelling strings and
The show makes frequent use of
staged moments, which wouldn't be
a problem if they weren't so ineptly
executed. In the pilot, when Joyner
passed a letter to Jennie Jones (the
child given up for adoption), the
show cut to her biological parents
writing the letter. It's not necessar-
ily a horrible idea, but it was done in
such a brazenly emotionally manip-
ulative fashion - the parents nar-
rated themselves reading the letter,
complete with camera zoom on the
letter itself - that it can't help but
Hosts Joyner and Green also
barely pass the ABC show host
requirement of being able to form
complete sentences. And on two
separate and particularly cringe-
worthy occasions, Joyner told Jones
that she knew "... exactly how you're
feeling," which, given the circum-
stances of Jones and Joyner being
surrounded by a camera crew docu-
menting Jones's personal trauma to
be broadcast on ABC, can't help but
come off a bit tone deaf.
In spite of all this, "Find My Fam-
ily" is surprisingly less of a train
wreck than its premise might have
suggested. The show makes a judi-
cious effort to tell the stories in each
episode, with Green's narration
documenting the show's search for
the adopted child and the pressure
as each side of the family prepares
Talking head segments and
old photos also illustrate what
drew the original family to put
up their child for adoption. The
show's insistence on weighing all
of this down with its clich6 narra-
tive is somewhat distracting, but
the inherent drama of its premise
keeps it compelling.
For the most part, the show isn't
leery of backing away from the less
photogenic aspects of each fam-
ily's story. Jennie was born out of
wedlock, and the premiere episode
spent ample time going over how
that affected her original family.
It's a shame though, that similar
attention wasn't paid to the'adopted
child's side of the story. The show
mentioned Jennie's adopted mother
is a single mom, but relative to the
focus on her original parents, that's
paid lip service.
For what it is, "Find My Fam-
ily" manages to achieve most of its
admittedly low-hanging goals. It's
.unabashed schlock, packed from
start to finish with lots of tearful
embraces, group hugs and other
stuff that's all but scientifically
proven to pull at your heartstrings.
But to the show's credit, it does this
well enough to keep things heart-
warming, if not much else.
Joe's v-neck wasn't enough to quench Kevin's desire.
zine close to my heart for nearly Rolling Stone as a naive, prepu-
a decade. It started when my bescent boy was my first brush
sister subscribed on a whim one with music journalism. And the
day at the checkout of Best Buy. emphatic way in which they
But as I became more and more wrote about music reflected my
passionate about music and my own budding enthusiasm for the
sister became smart enough to medium.
stop reading, the magazine fell Even now, I can feel the influ-
squarely into my hands. Reading See ROLLING STONE, Page 8A
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