Wonderfully Odd ‘Small Town Security’ Draws Some Unwarranted Flack

After the long-awaited season five of the fantastic Breaking Bad made its premiere last night, AMC was asking fans to stay tuned to their channel to catch previews of next week’s episode during the debut of Small Town Security, a new reality show about a small Georgia security company.

I stayed tune to AMC to actually watch the new show. Knowing nothing about the show, the short previews had me seriously questioning whether or not it actually was a reality show. Carrying a Reno 911 flavor, Small Town Security seemed to feature characters that were created to make a mockery, not impress. But my questions about the show’s sincerity changed just a few minutes into the program’s first episode.

Because AMC was nearly begging and pleading us to keep watching so we could get a glimpse of Breaking Bad, as well as see the debut trailer of season three of The Walking Dead, the incredibly misunderstood show seemed to instantly get some negative feedback on Twitter.

I am not exactly sure where to start. AMC’s placement of Small Town Security behind Breaking Bad is an obvious attempt to have viewers carry over. But does it fit? Probably not. That said, it isn’t exactly a crime for AMC to try and get viewers to stick through one segment of its new show.

The comments began to roll in on Twitter that after only a few minutes, the entire concept, idea and human aspect of the very interesting and very real Small Town Security was just simply terrible. Perhaps frustration clouded judgment, but sitting back and patiently watching new reality show queen Joanie Scott gain control of her program was one of the more interesting and confusingly fascinating moments of new television. Trying to figure out why this show mattered and why these people mattered, which is part of the struggle in finding a good subject for a reality television show or a documentary, is the beautiful and rewarding challenge that comes with showcasing actual humans instead of scripted ones.

But just after one episode I already have this feeling that Scott is going to be a spectacular subject. She was in a Tarzan rip-off that was written by Umberto Lenzi (an Italian exploitation schlock master who made Nightmare City, Cannibal Ferox and more). She couldn’t hold onto a public access television show because she used “offensive” language like vagina when talking to a gynecologist. Her dog humps her foot and she calls it masturbation. She happily sits with lipstick on her teeth. And now she is chief of a JJK Security in Georgia.

Episode one features Scott’s attempt to regain access to public access. She does so and promises to do her best to not use language that will offend viewers and the station’s manager. But what is more important to the success of Small Town Security is her new show’s first guest: Dennis Croft, a top employee at her company. Croft, as it turns out, was a woman five years ago and has undergone a complete and I’d say shocking transformation into a man. This reveal, which comes in the final minutes of the show, startled me in a good way. There’s been a decent amount of press on Croft today alone championing AMC for having a transgender person starring on a reality TV show.

AMC has done a great job of finding a sincerely fascinating group of people to focus on. I hate most reality TV, mostly because it deals with people who aren’t interesting and are on television without a good reason. But the JJK Security staff  feels different. They might not be the smartest, brightest or most important people, but with an admirable person like Croft and an eccentric like Scott, I’m not sure I’d be able to turn my back on the brilliant television that debuted Sunday night.

I still don’t think this show pairs well with Breaking Bad, but that’s another story. This is something that a fan of documentaries by the likes of Werner Herzog or Errol Morris might find an interest in. These are seemingly everyday people doing an everyday job, but that have that spark that makes them more interesting than others. Those behind Small Town Security already have something to be proud of.

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