I just love it when I hear people going on and on about how horrible reality TV is and then you find out they actually have a reality show they watch.
“Oh…but my show (insert any name) isn’t like the others. It’s classier and has terrific production values!” And then they go on with some other explanation like “And I get to learn about haute cuisine.”
Oh really? Nothing to do with the fact that someone is getting yelled at by a rabid chef while others talk about him behind his back? Or they say it’s about “the sociological aspects of people living together.” Uh huh. Sure. Nothing to do with people having virtual breakdowns in front of our eyes while we get to gape at their misery? Or it’s about “people with hope and talent getting their chance to shine.” Nothing to do with our eyes-wide front-row seat for witnessing audition humiliation or the painfully close look we get at a loser’s courageous heartache?
Of course, my own favorite show “Project Runway” really does have excellent production values and gives us a chance to see truly talented creative people getting a chance to design clothing and shine in the process. And I really don’t enjoy the moments where people are bitching about each other or feeling devastated by their loss or sweating to try to make the incredibly tight deadlines. See? That’s different. (Sure it is.)
Now I’m not going to get into the relative value of this genre or whether it’s threatening our cultural core and hastening the downfall of society. It’s here. Sure it’s weird. Get over it.
For those of you who have never seen reality TV, just think of the raw intensity of the blogosphere with a commercial production team behind it, making sure we get a good show whether or not anything all that exciting is actually happening. And the partcipants sign up knowing, on some level, what they are getting into. I actually admire their courage. I could never expose myself to public humiliation like that! (Oh wait…I’m a blogger. Talk about putting ourselves out there in front of everyone! But at least we can do it while wearing our jammies.)
And to those of you who look down your noses at reality TV en masse while extolling the value of “classier” shows – like the one about the angst of being a mobster or shows filled with violence or titillating sexual innuendo (I do love Boston Legal) – lighten up, ok? They each have value to the beholder. And it’s all just entertainment in the end – with a life lesson or two gleaned in the process, no matter what the format.
As for the rest of us…ain’t it fun? A delicious (at times) secret pleasure almost as good as cheating on a diet.