Corporate Art As TLC Takes On Southwest

We talk a lot about overly cozy relationships between business and government, and about the creep of cost-saving measures like products into art, lending it a corporate cast. But it’s rare to see something as blatant as TLC’s planned show about Southwest Airlines. I’ll reserve final judgment until I see the show, of course. But it does seem to me that if you want to make a show about the experience of air travel as a whole, you need to include a lot of people who aren’t employed by specific airlines, particularly air traffic controllers, Transportation Security Administration officers, and ground crew, who are not always affiliated with specific airlines. And it seems like good documentary principal, even if you wanted to make a show about what it’s like to run an airline, to include representatives of multiple companies so viewers can see what the common challenges are and what problems are specific to individual companies and their policies. I understand the desire to make cheap entertainment: these aren’t easy times. But extended looks at individual businesses risk coming across as boring commercials, a la DC Cupcakes, a veteran of the same network.