Reality Check TV


It seems everywhere I go, people are talking about some reality show or another. A particular performance on Dancing with the Stars, who got eliminated on American Idol. As for me, I don’t care for any of it. Oh, I’ve tried a few episodes here and there, but for the most part, I just don’t get the appeal.

I’m not even sure why they call it Reality TV. Reality check: normal people don’t do the things you see on “reality TV”. They don’t eat buffalo testicles after biting through and peeling back a veiny membrane that was holding the “meat” inside. Or climb out of a car suspended a hundred feet in the air. Truth be told, if these events weren’t planned and televised, the contestants would be locked up in a padded cell.

I for one wish they put more effort into good television shows. They provide interesting characters and wacky scenarios, all within the comfort of a fictional setting. Actors are actually told to act this way and make asses of themselves. We tune in because they do so in an entertaining way. If we’re going to sit and watch pathetic people causing scenes, it better be fake. Besides, characters in fiction are better developed and usually much more believable.

The first reality show that comes to mind is Survivor, filled with secret alliances, betrayals and emotional outbursts. It’s almost understandable, given that these people travel to remote, often dangerous places, away from their homes and families, and asked to compete in grueling tasks. But what excuse is there for drama surrounding a show like Dancing with the Stars? Sure, tensions can sometimes build between stars and their professional dancing partners. Then there are the unwanted criticisms from other celebs – most recently Elizabeth Hasselbeck criticized Erin Andrews, who has recently had two stalker scares, for wearing skimpy outfits while dancing.

Face it: you sign up for a reality show, you may as well be wearing a t-shirt that says “Looking for a fight”. If you’re not, someone else always is. Even a reality show contestant should be bright enough to know that. No one put a gun to your head, so suck it up. Although that would make for an interesting show, wouldn’t it? Shotgun Television. You best be learnin’ how to dance real quick.

Then there’s the Bachelor: a handsome young man who will tug at the heartstrings of millions of female viewers with his charming smile and boy-next-door good looks. Young women sign up to woe this man they’ve never met, with whom they may have nothing in common with, but whom they somehow feel could be their soul mate. And yet each of them are absolutely devastated when it turns out not to be true love? Really?

As for the Bachelor: I promise to try real hard to shed a tear for you, as you look crushed by the pressure of having to choose from a roomful of gorgeous women.

Anyone ever watch the original Apprentice? It was interesting to see a group of bright, promising people from all walks of life, vying for a chance at a dream job working for the Trump. Of course things get heated and people get competitive. These are people chosen because they have a particular skill set – from organization to management to salesmanship, with entrepreneurial know-how coursing through their veins. It alls starts off friendly enough. But eventually, the gloves come off, the insults begin, and there’s no hiding their true colours. Anyone else remember Omarosa?

Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth

Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth

I’m not sure I understand the premise behind Celebrity Apprentice, though. So you can act or sing. Big deal. Basically we’re tuning in to watch overblown egos (often unwarranted) collide. Let’s face it, if you’re on Celebrity Apprentice, odds are your agenda’s not over-packed with other work. It’s one more pathetic attempt at airtime, courtesy of Trump Enterprises.

But if all else fails, D-listers can always prey on people’s tendency toward voyeurism and get their own reality TV show. Because there’s nothing more titillating for viewers than being able to follow a has-been’s every move as they go about their day. Right, Denise Richards?

Denise Richards - It's Complicated

Denise Richards - It's Complicated

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3 comments on “Reality Check TV

  1. ocdriver2010 says:

    I completely, unreservedly and absolutely agree.

    I don’t have much interest in television broadcasts anymore. Even if I were to ignore the intensive commercial content interruptions, the programming content leaves a lot to be desired. I generally turn on the TV to watch something fed to the TV from a DVD.

    I am inclined to believe the programming on TV is an influencing factor in the “decline” of our society. In my opinion there is far too much programming focused upon individual personal gain aspirations and not enough coverage of the people who are working toward goals which benefit all of humanity.

  2. I’ve gone one step further. The problem isn’t with the Reality TV genre. The problem is your TV. Get rid of it. Or rather, cut the umbilical cord to the television set. Cancel your cable or satellite plan. Keep the TV itself just to watch movies, whether they be home movies, rentals, or *ahem!* commercial-free downloads.

    The best thing we did several years ago was to get rid of our satellite plan. No more sitting around channel surfing between shows that I actually don’t care to watch. But may that is just me and my next-to-zero-tolerance for commercials, bad tv, and wasted weekends and evenings.

    • We actually watch very little TV. There is only one show I actually watch: House M.D. Every Monday night, from 8 to 9, I plan nothing else, take no phone calls. I love Gregory House. As for Chris, he’ll enjoy a hockey game here and there. Every once in a while I try to watch something else but get annoyed rather quickly and do something else – like blog about my annoyance.

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