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'The Michael Vick Project' recap: Do you feel bad for him yet?

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Before any major discussion begins, let’s get straight to the point. Michael Vick’s reality docu-series, The Michael Vick Project, was hoping to barter two things with viewers last night in return for the controversial quarterback’s redemption: excuses and Vick’s remorse.

Whether you choose to take that exchange, PopWatchers, is truly your call. If you’re unsure what to feel after tuning in to the premiere last night, join the club.

The first 30 minutes of the ten-part (!!) series laid a foundation of sympathy so thick it was hard to resist getting pulled in to the story of Vick’s rough childhood in Newport News, Va. and his subsequent rise to football fame. But when it came time for the former Falcon to discuss the organization and operation of the dog fighting ring that landed him in jail for almost two years, he actually did little talking. Too little for my liking.

The story was told through a series of accounts from Vick’s tearful family and girlfriend, with Vick’s interjection every so often about how he was ”living a double life.” It focused more on how Vick had developed a nonchalant attitude toward dog fighting as a child, and how the ambitious nature that benefited him on the field was detrimental to him when it came to dog fighting. He wanted to be the best at everything – even illegal things. But it all came across as mere excuses and very little like he was taking responsibility. He said several times during the show that his fall from grace was his own fault, but the show did all but reflect his claim. His first mention of remorse toward the dogs he harmed came 23 minutes into the half hour.

To delve any further into the debate whether environmental causes are to blame for Vick’s crime or whether he will one day find redemption would frankly be moot because I am unqualified to discuss such matters. I am not a sociologist nor do I speak for the public (you are quite able to speak for yourselves in our comments section and I hope you continue to do so). I am, however, able to talk about the entertainment value of the show and the show’s perceived intentions.

On both counts, The Michael Vick Project could have been better. The story was interesting enough but I could have read it all in any online biography about him. And the intention of the show was so transparent it was almost insulting. Nonetheless, we will have to wait to see if the other nine parts of the series answer any questions or give further insight into his claimed regret.

I think the format of the show is working against its perceived purpose. I doubt many will care enough to tune in to nine more installments of the show. Could the producers have told a more fluid and concise story in a two-hour special? I think so.

Vick claims in the opening sequence to the series that he has done the show ”not for the money or the fame,” but I think so much more could be done off- camera. I leave the rest for your discussion. Will it really take Vick 10 episodes to earn redemption in the public eye? Vick has done his time and is back on the field (at least, he was), does he even need the public’s forgiveness?