Privacy, and the terrifying reality that we have none, has become a hot topic in America after Edward Snowden revealed just how intensely the American government spies on its own citizens. With that revelation, and the conversations it’s spurred, the average individual has been given the wake-up call they desperately needed. Unfortunately, this new found knowledge served as a hindrance on the premiere of “Raising McCain.”
The Saturday (Sept. 14) launch of Meghan McCain‘s new docu-series on Pivot focused squarely on privacy in America, and, while it offered up some truly sobering statistics (of which we’ll get to in just a bit), the premiere felt at times like a regurgitation of facts the viewer already knows. Falling victim to some unfortunate timing, as noted at the conclusion of the half-hour with an admission that Snowden’s leak occurred two days after filming wrapped, the episode feels incomplete without any mention of the controversy he created.
Still though, McCain and her team do drive home some startling facts about how one’s private life can be exposed in an instant. While the talk regarding how much we give away through social media is old news to just about everyone, this reviewer was shocked to learn that it’s technically legal for anyone to fly their own drone to spy on anyone else, as long as they abide by FAA ruling and fly under 400 feet. Also shocking? It would only cost someone $22.50 to gain access to a Gmail account.
But what of the show as a whole? As McCain states in her opening, this is not your mama’s talk show. She likely says that because she freely curses (which goes uncensored) and breaks the fourth wall by interacting with her crew on camera. But, also, it’s not your mama’s talk show because this isn’t a talk show. It’s resolutely a documentary, so the choice to advertise as a talk show is an odd one.
Because the premiere follows McCain and her staff as they research, answering questions along the way, “Raising McCain” often feels like the making-of for another TV show, one where the information is known from the start. It’s an interesting concept that serves the subject matter well.
In the end, however, McCain’s efforts remain hindered by the lack of anything truly revelatory to present. Here’s hoping that future episodes find a way to add to the dialogue, rather than just echo it.
Did you check out “Raising McCain”? If so, what did you think?
– It’s revealed that McCain was once registered as an Independent and voted for Kerry in the 2004 election. That must’ve been a fun Thanksgiving in the McCain household that November.
– The footage, obtained solely from the 6,000 security cameras accessible by the NYPD, that followed McCain as she walked through her neighborhood was certainly unnerving. Sure those cameras aim to keep us safer, but yikes.
– While it seems old hat at this point to remind people not to send nude selfies (seriously, just don’t), learning that New Jersey is the only state to outlaw “revenge porn” (aka, the malicious use of naked photos of an ex online) was something one of the more shocking statistics presented. The Internet: A scary place.
– It almost feels like someone out there doesn’t want this show seen. It’s bad enough that it’s airing on Pivot (a brand-new channel that very, very few people have access to), but then to schedule it on a Saturday? I’d be very interested to see how many people watched live.