As It Turns Out, ‘Ed TV’ (1999) Was Eerily Prophetic About The Future of Reality Television
After watching Ron Howard 1999 adaptation of film Louis 19, called ‘Ed TV’, I was struck at how everything that is today’s reality television, was laid out years before!
Whether it’s ‘Honey Boo Boo’, ‘Housewives of…’ or even ‘Duck Dynasty’, the premise and execution is weirdly similar to ‘EdTV‘. The movie stars Matthew McConaughey, Jenna Elfman, Woody Harrelson, Ellen DeGeneres, Martin Landau, Rob Reiner, Sally Kirkland, Elizabeth Hurley, Clint Howard, and Dennis Hopper.
EDtv starts off with the television channel True TV commencing interviews for a TV show that shows a normal person’s life 24/7. This idea was thought up by a TV producer named Cynthia (Ellen DeGeneres). They interview Ed Pekurny (Matthew McConaughey) and his brother, Ray (Woody Harrelson). When the producers see the interview Cynthia decides to use Ed and interviews only Ed. So now they start airing the show, which they call Ed TV. The show is a total failure at first, as only boring things happen and the main producers want to pull the plug, except for Cynthia.
However, Ed TV suddenly gets interesting on Day 3 when Ed visits Ray. Ed (along with the cameramen) discovers that Ray is cheating on his girlfriend Shari (Jenna Elfman). Ed then visits Shari to apologize to her for Ray’s actions. Shari is very drunk and starts insulting Ray, by talking to the camera. She makes everyone laugh and gasp by saying “Ray was a bad lay.” Ed tries to comfort Shari, and he reveals he has feelings for her. She then reveals she has feelings for Ed as well. They slowly move their faces closer and finally kiss each other. Ed then locks out the camera crew and proceeds to passionately kiss Shari for a while. Ed TV suddenly becomes extremely popular. On Cynthia’s insistence, Ed starts a relationship with Shari, which is short lived as Ed grows more interested in staying on TV and Shari is abused by viewers who find her unappealing. -Wiki
The cameras become more and more invasive, the skeletons in the family’s closets pop out and fame and fortune turn bitter as Ed sees the covers pulled off family secrets. Sound familiar? Look at any so-called reality show today and see the effects on the personal lives of those involved; it’s a blessing and a curse.
Though it was a commercial flop at the box office, ‘Ed TV‘ endures as an example of life imitating art, to the point that you will find yourself checking off the list of ‘real’ reality stars tragedies and scandals that actually happened while you watch the movie.