Lest you still harbor any doubts that we are living in a Philip K. Dick-esque dystopia: According to The Hollywood Reporter, G4 has ordered a new reality show called Bomb Patrol: Afghanistan, which will follow an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit in Afghanistan. This same territory was covered in last year’s The Hurt Locker, although Bomb Patrol will presumably not include an existential inquisition into the addictive emptiness of modern warfare. It’s foolish to judge anything this early (Bomb Patrol is set to air next spring), but it’s hard for me to picture how a show about soldiers engaged in a life-or-death activity – in the midst of a highly controversial conflict – will manage to not be incredible offensive to every single human being who has ever lived.
Now, perhaps I’m a pessimist, and I shouldn’t worry about a future where the different branches of the armed forces all compete for ratings with their own reality shows. (Possible titles: Marine Madness, Air Force: Explosions in the Sky, In The Army Now, and Submarines: We Still Use ‘Em!) If I can play Devil’s Advocate for a moment, more than a few people pointed out that Hurt Locker was unrealistic at best. (At worst, it was a science fiction movie.) And maybe, as debased as reality shows tend to be, this is exactly the kind of ridiculata that America needs in order to get re-invested in the war in Afghanistan.
But I dunno, PopWatchers, something about this makes me feel queasy. But maybe this is a tentative step forward in the reality-show genre? Maybe the makers of Bomb Patrol will give the material the respect it deserves, and not drown the proceedings in rap-rock muzak and hyperkinetic editing? Maybe there is gold at the end of the rainbow? Sound off below?