9/10/2004 Add a comment

I love this story about the rise of reality TV in Iraq. One of the most popular shows? "Labor and Materials," a home-improvement show for those unlucky enough to have been bombed. The story also notes an upcoming scripted drama, called "The Looters," about Iraqis who got rich by looting during the Iraq campaign. And how do you come up with the concept for this one? "Another show, called 'Iraq's Most Melancholy Home Videos,' will capture the reactions of Iraqis watching footage of former neighbors now living abroad."

And finally, this show, which reminds me of an SNL skit called "Who Wants to Eat?" featuring Darryl Hammond as Regis Philbin and Christina Ricci as a poor refugee:

"Ration Card," a series that has an only-in-Iraq feel to it, is one example. In the first episode, a curly-haired redhead in a shimmering green blouse reaches a hand into a swirl of Ping-Pong balls and pulls out one marked No. 8. She dipped her hand into the rotating bucket four more times until she had strung together No. 80497.

The digits turned out to be the national ration card number for Hwaidi Aliya Falah, a poor villager near Kut, in the southern province of Wasit. Falah was the first $1,000 winner on the show, which picks card numbers randomly by lottery and shows footage of producers appearing on the winners' doorsteps to tell them of their windfall. Think Ed McMahon and the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes, minus the balloons and the big guy in a suit.



  1. Anonymous Anonymous: Let me set the record straight: the Onion article on "Who Wants to Eat a Meal?" came first. "Hosted by popular Russian TV personality Anatoly Ivaskevich, 'Who Wants To Eat A Meal?' gives hungry contestants the chance to answer general-knowledge questions to win food items. ... Bayonet-wielding members of the Russian army then move in to protect the table from rioting audience members, who often storm the set with crude handmade weapons in a desperate attempt to seize a beet."