Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reality: the crappier perspective

I seen the commercial for a reality show called "Doctors" the other day. I think, in the episode that I seen the ad for, someone was getting beauty surgery of some sort for their face. This came right after seeing the news reporter say that store chains such as Macy's, I think Bergdorf's, and some others were closing down due to weak returns in holiday spending. I mean, even as I sit here, there's a ticker under the running episode of CSI saying that on my cable service, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, MTV, VH1, Spike and some other channels will be cut from the air. There is a number they show that I can call to help put a stop to this. It doesn't say that it has something to do with the recession, but I'm pretty sure it does. But this is not that much here or there.

I'm now reading on Wikipedia that the premise for the reality talk show "The Doctors" was that there would be discussion of medical and health issues amongst professionals in various medical fields, and people would ask these pros questions that they were too embarassed to ask their own doctor. Yes, because if I have a humiliating problem, I'd much rather ask strangers on national television than my own familiar doctor in the privacy of his office. Makes perfect sense.

This show is at least one of the more wholesome ones in its intent, but I was wondering if some people really think that reality shows are some substantial way to disseminate information to the public? Do they, the fans and the networks, think that there is some sort of visual nutrition going on in the interaction between viewer and the reality show? Or perhaps, that since the people, inevitable arguments stemming from overblown temperaments, and wastes of footage showing people just sitting there talking about garbage is real, it's entertaining?

People are obviously interested in this eye trash, but I seriously don't hope they think there's something redeeming happening whilst watching it. Maybe some content would be adequately and most accurately shown in the reality show format, but for the most part it is just the product of lazy producers and cheap studios who have found a way to entertain the mass asses without the costs and anxiety of hiring creative writers. Some college student is trying to make it to the NBA? Slap a camera on him and follow him around. A housewife in the Hamptons has the I.Q. of astroturf? Let's let the world be amused by how insipid she is! A washed-up actor is fighting his addiction to bestiality and vicodin? Let us hungry studio execs cash in on his despair and suicidal tendencies!

When I was much younger, I was very much into MTV's "The Real World" and wanted to go on there to be in the house and be surrounded by the delectable women they always cast. I always said that I'd pretty much stay in the background and would avoid the constant bickering and arguing that erupted on there regardless of social context. And then I found out that they purposely cast people who fight with each other. So, not long afterwards I stopped watching it forever. But the background manipulation of the shows isn't a major rejection point for me, it's the lack of anything even remotely substantial in all of it.


  1. Just a note...

    Time warner cable and the mother company of all those stations could not come to some sort of agreement on some money matter. K told me this last night during one of his breaks. He was devastated that he couldnt watch UFC on spike, until I reminded him that they show it online.

  2. Lots of background manipulation going on. Bigtime.

    I always thought it would be funny to do a "Survivor" episode with a bunch of social workers. They'd all want to help each other. Not good for tv ...

    That's why the only reality tv show I watch is Amazing Race. Yes, they cut and paste and manipulate like everyone else does. But, it seems to be just a little bit less "manipulated". Who would need to - they are travelling the world?

    I also wonder why people use these shows as a venue. I never could understand why people would go live to get counselling from Dr. Phil then do it in the privacy in their own therapists' office!

  3. Don't Feed The PixiesJanuary 5, 2009 at 10:21 AM

    "Yes, because if I have a humiliating problem, I'd much rather ask strangers on national television than my own familiar doctor in the privacy of his office. Makes perfect sense."

    This made me laugh out loud (attracting some concerned looks from my fellow workers) - we live in an age where public airing of our problems has become the norm. It's no longer important why we are famous - to be famous for being useless is just as good for having a talent.

    Let's face it - we've been watching Christians thrown to the lions for generations and there's no sign of any change yet.


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