Penn Alum Competes For a Paletteful of Glory, the Redemption of Television

Remember television? At least, remember the television that wouldn’t cater to the brain-dead, the attention-deficit, the emotionally-challenged, and the desensitized? Ever since Gossip Girl hit the Ivy college wall, it has spiraled into oblivion (kind of like Saved by the Bell: The College Years). ABC Family (and all of its naive college depictions) has always been a moralistic, cringeworthy disgrace. Exhausted, reality television and even internet porn (maybe) have recently sought to scoop the cream from the crop, looking for the next big star (clothed or otherwise) with some Ivy history to spice things up.

Enter Abdi Farah, a 2009 Penn graduate and general hotshot. He’s one of the fourteen groundbreaking contestants on Bravo’s new reality show Work of Art. The premise? Simply: filmed art – with deadlines – with a grand prize of bucketfuls of money and a Brooklyn Museum solo exhibition.

IvyGate first had this reaction: Fine art for the masses?!?! What is this, the New Deal?

Actually, though, it is a pretty Big, New Deal. Out of thousands, Abdi, placed into what seems to be television’s first (beneficial) cultural revolution. Abdi, the youngest contestant at 23, likes to paint Obama. And himself. If there’s some sort of mockery of “intraracial” confusion or allusion to Abdi’s sexy-presidentesque ego, we can’t say. What we do know (and all that really matters): the kid can paint!

Television isn’t this and this packaged, oleaginous bullcrap  anymore – or, maybe, television’s just so innately crapular that it was inevitable it smudged its soiled fingers all over the last fringes of “elite culture.” Either way, where this hopelessly ambitious Penn alum failed, let’s just pray Abdi can succeed and prove television, once again, worthy.

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