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Day 05 - A show you hate

I thought for sure this question was going to be easy. There is so much crap on the airwaves nowadays that all I needed to do was scan the channels on any given day and I would land upon some piece of dreck that should never have made it out of a pitch session.

Well, that thinking kind of bit me on the ass, because, yeah, there is so much shit out there, how could I narrow my feelings down to one particular program?

So, I decided instead of naming a show, I will name a genre: reality TV.

Did anyone out there ever see the movie The Player? It's a brilliant 1992 movie about a studio executive who is being blackmailed by a writer whose script he'd rejected. There's a scene in the film where the exec is sitting around a table with some studio minions pitching stories. During the meeting the exec is skimming through the newspaper. He starts calling out article titles, saying these are workable ideas for films, no writers required. The minions eat it up and, voila, the concept of reality programming is born.

At its inception, reality TV didn't seem to be too bad: there was a conscious effort on the part of show runners to keep some level of quality and respectability within their programs. The first season of Survivor was genuinely thrilling: the concept of making deals and forming alliances was new, something made up as the players made their way through the game. There was an honesty and openness - yes, even, initially, on the part of Richard Hatch - to try to play the game fairly, and then that evolved into playing the game. The first season of Big Brother was similarly presented. Housemates seemed to be chosen for their ability to be likable, exude the positives of their differences and make a genuine attempt at making connections with each other.

Well, not any more!

Watching reality TV, to me, is like rubbernecking at an eight-car pile-up: what you are seeing is horrible and disturbing, but you can't seem to look away. For some viewers, they see these shows as their 'guilty pleasures'. I find 99% of reality TV offerings meaningless, humiliating for the participants, and some are right down nauseating. Toddlers and Tiaras? Kiddie porn. What the mothers put those children through is tantamount to abuse. It is horrifying. American Idol is very popular, but I don't think Star Search spent time showing the terrible auditions, the temper tantrums and just plain embarrassing moments for ratings. I thought the show was about finding a great singer, and not making random dude from Arkansas look like a jackass because he couldn't carry a tune in a bucket and seemed none the wiser about it (yes, I once thought some of these wanna bes weren't that stupid, but, thank you America - and Canada - for proving me wrong).

This post could go on forever, if I took the time to break things down by category - crime, dating, make-over, mental health, addiction - but really, its too damn depressing. This is one genre of television that I really wish had stayed only as a piece of snappy, cynical dialogue in a great film.
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dragonflymuse

July 2012

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