Thursday, September 30, 2010
Appreciating Louis Theroux.
I just watched the latest documentary by Louis Theroux. It was about kids on medication in the United States. A well spent hour, if you ask me.
Anyway, you might remember him from Michael Moore's Tv Nation that ran in the mid nineties on NBC.
More than that he's known for his documentary series on the British BBC. Especially for his "Weird Weekends" series.
We have seen Louis for example with Neo-Nazis, with Fred Phelps, in jail, having a liposuction, as a WCW wrestler, in adult entertainment, trying to figure out women's bodybuilding, in Harlem...
Interesting stuff. Theroux has been willing to put himself in challenging and sometimes even funny situations.
But the reason I like him is because of his approach towards his subjects. That is that Louis is an exceptionally non-threatening, friendly and polite interviewer.
That's right. Non-threatening, friendly and polite.
I also like him because he's open-minded. He seems to be genuinely interested in different people and different phenomena. He likes to learn new things, and he doesn't come off as a judgemental person.
I think those qualities are rather rare in today's world coming from an entertainer. (he calls himself a presenter though)
What passes today as entertainment is basically opposite of what Theroux stands for.
Today's entertainment is mostly uninsightful and empty, not really interested in characters and real human beings, not interested in finding out anything new and not interested in being decent and dignified.
Worst of all, today's entertainment tends to be all about hype and zero about substance.
Theroux's shows are so refreshing because they don't have anything to do with hype. There's no unnecessary drama, there's nothing forced. Everything unfolds naturally. That's why his documentaries are usually compelling tv.
He doesn't know everything. But he wants to learn. He doesn't always understand. But he wants to try.
And more often than not, it pays off. One way or the other.
I just wish we could have more stuff like that on tv. More writers like him. Writers who'd be interested in learning new stuff. Writers who'd know that they don't know everything. Writers who knew that they have to respect us, human beings.
Well, at least we've got Louis Theroux.