After heavy promotion during nonstop Olympics coverage, NBC this week debuted its newest reality show, Stars Earn Stripes. It’s a concept that no doubt was created in an earnest spirit, as earnest as reality TV can be, but somehow tone deaf to the episodes of recent mass shootings—in Aurora, at the Sikh Temple in Milwaukee, and near Texas A&M University. All told, there were 20 victims killed by automatic weapons fire. And that’s the thing about Stars Earn Stripes—there’s lots of automatic weapons fire. Yes, it’s reality TV, but it feels jarring.
But perhaps most jarring—at least to the Twittersphere—is the presence of retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark as host, mixed in among several B and C list celebrities and one-time potential Vice Presidential husband Todd Palin. Clark has a significant resumé, not the kind one expects would lead to a career in reality TV. He’s a former presidential candidate, a highly decorated former Supreme Allied Commander and former head of the United States European Command and the United States Southern Command. He was in charge of Operation Allied Force during Kosovo. Seriously.
Enough said at our end. What matters are the reviews of the viewing public. Here’s what some had to say on Twitter today: