Friday, February 12, 2010

The 'Talento' With No Talent


The 'Talento' With No Talent

It has been said that technologically, Japan is always ahead of America by 5-10 years. Just look at cell phones: they've been able to watch broadcast television and cable on those for years. And where are we? We are only just now implementing those technologies into our 'smart' phones, which then aren't really that smart at all.

But what about cultural advancement? What about Pop cultural advancement? Right now, due to the effects of the Great Recession, the question everybody is asking is, "Will America become the next Japan?". Japan's recession in the 80's was so severe that they call it 'The Lost Decade'.

Sound familiar? That lost decade in Japan changed the popular cultural landscape and now, all of us are resembling the Japanese more and more. This article will focus on the rise of what are called Talento in Japan, and the changing of American broadcast TV shows.

In Japan, Talento have no real talent. Their ranks are usually composed of 'retired' Idols whose fifteen minutes of fame has run out, or D-list actors and comedians who are known only for their outrageous personas or catch-phrases than for actual accomplishments. Their agencies farming them out from guest appearances on one show to another endlessly.

The demise of scripted TV shows due to both changing viewing habits and Japan's Lost Decade, caused TV producers to depend on more easily produced Reality TV shows and game shows to recoup profits. And where did they look to fill a cast with slightly recognizable faces, but without the high paychecks a real star would require? The Talento class of TV personalities was created out of necessity, growing larger exponentially as more shows are created and die off season after season.

And now in America, if you flip through your channels, you will find that Reality TV has in the past few years has gone from the exception to the new norm. And so are we growing accustomed to seeing American Talento steadily increasing in number and decreasing in talent.

The Kardashians, Dancing With the Stars, Celebrity Apprentice, The Hills, and most recently the cast of Jersey Shore.

How long will it be before the number of Talento churned out by the constant parade of reality TV shows spits out so many that new types of shows will be created to support them? In the midst of the Great Recession, Americans yearn to lose themselves in the distraction, feasting on Talento and Idols, the comfort food of the entertainment world.

The future of TV and film in America as it becomes more Japanese is the topic of my last article of this series.


  1. I really don't know where "Hard Gay" fits into all this. ^_^; ...okay probably...

    I agree with you on the whole D-List thing but I'm not sure how it operates on a Japanese perspective but form an American perspective (or my personal perspective) stinks!

    These shows, despite being "reality TV" are so fake I can't bear to watch them, yet the core of America laps them up like dogs to water. I don't care about these people's lives and in the end these guys are all media whores.

  2. Wow you know Hard Gay? Well the question is where is he now? He represents one extreme example of the oversaturation that are Talento. A couple years ago he would appear on just about every Japanese TV show, prance around in his S&M uniform, then he was gone. In Japan, there are mobs of Talento on every 'reality' show, it has become a new and established breed of entertainment. As for America, we are still in our infancy compared to where Japan is at; right now the types of shows being produced are still narrow. I think thats why its easy to get tired of them so quickly. Thanks for the comment dude!

  3. Here's the history of my Hard Gay knowledge. Back in days when Animania was still cool I kept hearing the term "Hard Gay" tossed around in the occasional series wondering what it meant. Somehow during the whole YouTube phenomenon I searched it and found the Hard Gay videos. I gotta say this was one of Japan's weirder grasps of gay stereotypes. One video I watched at my friends house involved HG teaching children how to make natto while he gyrated his crotch in their faces. ^_^;





    Yeah, but I know about HG. I thought my Facebook profile picture kind of gave that fact away.