The brats of showbiz. It’s nothing new to hear about someone in the entertainment industry flipping out and throwing a fit. It happens commonly enough. And when one stops to think about the conditions stars are under, it makes some amount of sense. Many are in a position where hundreds, if not thousands, of people are praising them daily. Even people who are naturally inclined to be humble admit to feeling the affects and needing to catch themselves and readjust from time to time. And most people in this world are not inclined to be humble (myself included). Then you toss in the stress of being criticized over everything you do and say at all times and, well, it’s a recipe for disaster and eternal bad attitude if I ever saw one.
So, yes, bad attitudes and outright jerks are all over the entertainment industry. I’ve seen it here in the States, even in smaller bands and conventions (which is really pathetic). But when encountering characters like Sho in Skip Beat, it helps to know a bit more about Japan’s cultural take on showbiz jerks. Because it’s not quite the same as out own.
Here in the US, people are not only aware that jerks are in showbiz, they pretty much expect it (not that it’s excused, just expected). Polite stars stand out like beacons. In Japan, polite stars are the only ones that get fans. No, really. In Japan, politeness is so required that even if a person is atrocious personally, they must -I repeat- must be polite to the public and in any public and professional settings or risk abandonment. In America, a star can be extremely rude to her audience in a live performance and make a vague apology online days later to get off the hook. That doesn’t fly in Japan. Politeness is professionalism. To be unable to be polite is to be amateurish and unworthy of one’s status.
And that’s where a line is set between opposing characters, like in Skip Beat and other shows featuring showbiz. The characters that are more naturally prone to rudeness? They won’t last and are almost always the enemy. They will either 1) get converted to the “good side” or 2) fail boat epically by being “unmasked” for the jerk they are. The idea of them continuously getting away with their act is usually not even considered. Which is just as well as it happens enough in real life.