My Delayed Return and Reality Television Scolding

I’ve written about it before, but I don’t really like reality television.  First, I generally find most of the characters repugnant.  There is little time to do all the things I want to in this world and wasting that time by spending it with people I don’t like and don’t want to be around seems idiotic.  Second, to call a lot of this reality is a disservice to reality.  Most of these shows are scripted up to a point and they are certainly well edited to convey what the producers want.

This leads to my third point, I find it much more fun to speculate what is going through Aaron Sorkin’s, Matt Weiner’s, or Vince Gilligan’s mind as they create this world for their characters.  When done right, these fictions say more about humanity and the world in which we live then most of the reality shows on television.

The first point is probably the biggest point for me.  I have watched parts of episodes of most of the big reality shows (happily, I have never seen a second of The Bachelor or The Bachelor Pad).  I can honestly say I don’t want to ever meet any of these people.  Let me amend that, I don’t want to meet any of these people as they are portrayed on their reality shows.  Again, these shows are scripted and they have better editing then most scripted shows.

I don’t know what it is that bothers me about these people most.  It is probably there need to be famous and their willingness to do whatever is needed to satiate that need.  I may be old-fashioned, but I still believe if you are going to be famous you should be famous for doing something that requires talent.  Not just the ability to be pretty on camera and do outrageous things to make people talk about you on Twitter.

There is a difference between living your life out loud and being who you are with no filter 24-7 and turning your life into a commodity to be consumed by people just so you can be famous and probably well compensated.

I was there.  I remember the first season of The Real World.  It was fun and interesting to watch strangers be thrown into a house together and bounce off each other like normal people.  That isn’t what happens anymore because those people became minor celebrities by accident.  Today’s participants want to be celebrities.

In the end there is nothing wrong with that.  Someone wants to light themselves on fire and scream, “Look at me,” whatever.  I’m not going to watch it.  It doesn’t make me a better person for not watching it (trust me; I watch a lot of crap).  That is the beauty of this situation.  I have 600 channels of television, including a bunch dedicated to my favorite reality show: sports.  I also have books, music, and movies to keep me entertained.

As I said, there is nothing wrong with someone prostituting themselves to get famous.  There is nothing wrong with a network being willing to show those people.  They are just whores trying to make a buck by providing a service they know people want.  My problem is I don’t think we know where the line we are not willing to cross as viewers is?  What is it that would come on television that we would be willing to turn away from?

Actually I do have one other question.  If you treat your life as a commodity, what happens when no one values that commodity anymore?


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