O rapaz do balão
Randy Bish, «Pittsburgh Tribune-Review»
Eugene Robison já conhece a resposta a uma das grandes perguntas da idade moderna: há de facto pessoas capazes de tudo para aparecer na televisão. A história a que o Sr. Robison refere é a da saga do jovem de 6 anos Falcon Heen. As notícias do jovem que estaria a voar num balão sobre o Colorado correram o mundo, mobilizando os media e as autoridades. Quando o balão finalmente aterrou, Falcon não estava no seu interior. Mais tarde descobriu-se que o rapazinho estaria escondido no sótão de sua casa durante todo esse tempo. Mas afinal nem isso era inteiramente verdade; tudo não passou de um plano da família Heene ser o novo alvo mediático americano. Agora os pais vão ser processados pelas autoridades embora isso continue, de certa forma, a contribuir para o projecto mediático de Richard Heene — se vai existir um livro ainda não se sabe.
Chan Lowe, «Sun-Sentinel»
Escreve Eugene Robison:
[…] Richard and Mayumi Heene and their three sons — including Falcon, the 6-year-old who was believed to be in the balloon — were already familiar with the swamp of embarrassment, humiliation and relentless self-promotion that is reality TV. They have appeared on two episodes of the ABC series “Wife Swap,” whose premise is explained by the title. It will come as no surprise that the Connecticut woman who came to live temporarily with Richard and the kids thought he was awfully casual when it came to parental supervision.
When the cameras aren’t rolling, the Heenes find amusement and togetherness as storm chasers and UFO enthusiasts. That’s what they claim, at least. It’s hard to know what’s real and what’s made-for-TV persona.
[…] It’s hard to believe anyone would invent such a weird scenario — child floats away on homemade balloon — but Alderden says he reached his conclusion after interviewing each member of the family separately and searching their home, including computer files and e-mails. The children knew about the scam, the sheriff says.
It’s even harder to believe — on first impression, at least — that anyone would think this was a good way to audition for a reality show. But when you think about it, the Heenes’ instincts were right on target. They are perfect for a reality show, assuming they don’t go to jail.
[…] There’s one thing the Heenes apparently didn’t understand, though: Reality TV is a kind parallel universe. It’s a realm of crazy melodrama and perfect white smiles — a place where craziness is good, irresponsibility is great and mendacity is rewarded.
Here in the real reality, that stuff doesn’t go over so well.
Jimmy Margulies, «The Record of Hackensack»