Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hating Reality TV

When the “reality” TV show “Survivor” came into our lives in 2000 and similar shows followed, I told a friend that I couldn’t wait for this fad to be over with.

After all, these are just game shows with drama. With a lot of heavy editing, maybe creating drama that isn’t there such as a producer tells Contestant A that Contestant B said she was fat, and catching the right moment when someone burst into tears (and they always burst into tears), all this allegedly makes good TV, especially when you add the ingredient of excitement.
And most are just game shows, because there is a prize to be won. Even like “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette,” where you can win love and a fellow human being in only a matter of weeks while millions watch.

But now most of the major stations have their own variety of reality TV. Over on E! we have “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” which is about the supermodel and her family.
If we’re lucky, we get to see a lot of crying and cursing, Kim Kardashinan in a bikini and her stepfather, former U.S. Olympic champion Bruce Jenner, who had so many facelifts he looks more like a corpse who walked out of his own viewing.

Then we have TLC, formally known as The Learning Channel. It was once a great station about educational programming, until The Discovery Channel bought it and slowly made it into a reality TV-packaged whore.

While once we were treated to how the Earth might have formed, now TLC gives us mind-numbing shows about a couple with eight screaming kids living out their lives, a bikini designer trying to make a go of her business and some new show about the drama of selecting the perfect wedding dress.

Listen, this garbage isn’t reality TV. When I come home at night, I don’t have 10 beautiful girls throwing themselves at me and my wife doesn’t make me hang from the ceiling as I eat a plate of spiders for money.

I’m just amazed that these shows that seem to suck the self-worth out of American society have lasted this long, but I’m sure networks are eternally grateful that most of the TV viewing public isn’t like me.

If people want reality TV, then they should change this dribble off and watch the news. People getting blown up, Supreme Court making decisions that will affect our lives, people donating to worthy causes. That’s real reality TV.

It might not always be glamorous, but there is a lot of drama and suspense, which many Americans seem to crave if that’s why they watch these shows. But the news isn’t shallow and makes us wonder what happen to our priorities and dignity after we’re done watching it.