In 1999, viewers laughed as Matthew McConaughey (“The
Wedding Planner”) starred in “EdTV,” a comedic
film that explored the boundless realms of reality television when
video store clerk Ed had his entire life filmed. Five years later,
FX network has stolen this once inconceivable concept and turned it
into a reality with “Todd TV.”

Mira Levitan
I do look wiser with a beard. (Courtesy of FX)

The premise and appeal of “Todd TV” is its basic
theme. A 30-year-old slacker signs his life away to the public for
seven weeks. All of his actions are videotaped and, unlike other
reality television shows, he must act according to viewer
voting.

FX made sure to choose a world-class loafer to fulfill this
role. Though Todd holds a communications degree from a New England
college, he lives in southern California chasing his music career
while sluggishly working as a waiter. His irritable temperament is
easily provoked by his overprotective mother, even though Todd,
like many other reality stars, is a fairly attractive one night
stand.

Because this is the first fully filmed life of a single person
for a “reality show,” FX has a lot of learning to do.
The first episode seemed like a rough draft of a possibly more
polished show, although portraying the raw and uncut version of
this mess of a man may have been the purpose. One disadvantage to
creating a live show about a single man is that the camera must
focus on him even when he’s boring. The producers will need
to find a way to keep Todd interesting for the whole hour in future
episodes.

Each week viewers have the opportunity to make a life-altering
decision for Todd. Last week a viewer called in and asked Todd to
quit his waiting job. In compliance with viewers, Todd quit and
fulfilled another request by becoming a paperboy. Whether the show
and the viewing audience is concerned about the success of
Todd’s life is to be determined.

This week viewers can select Todd’s new roommate and job
by voting on the FX website. Viewers can choose for him to live
with his mom or therapist, and for him to work as a telegram singer
or personal assistant to Poison frontman Bret Michaels.

“Todd TV” will be humorous to those interested in
watching America possibly screw up or fix up a man’s life.
Reality TV has reached a new extreme. Those who may actually care
about Todd can choose to vote cautiously, and viewers with a more
sadistic sense of humor can vote accordingly.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

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