Monday, June 8, 2009

Reality TV

This is a rant against reality TV. Let me preface this by saying that I have never watched reality TV, so it may be a little unfair. Also, I make a distinction between reality TV and competitive shows. So, shows like American Idol would not make it on this list. Actually, what started this rant is the recent publicity of the show “Jon and Kate Plus 8” and the news that “Octomom” signed a reality TV deal. Let me start by saying that I have never watched “Jon and Kate”. I have just heard a lot about it and read a lot about it since it is based in Lancaster. But here are my two cents on this type of show:

Reality TV appeals, in my mind, to the lowest common denominator in the human mind. The goal is to watch people make fools of themselves, watch obviously incompatible people interact or watch the inner workings of a social unit which has opened itself up for observation. However, any group that allows itself to be filmed is playing a part. So, by definition, it is not “reality”. And why are we so interested in reality TV? It is disgusting because it is voyeuristic. We are prying eyes seeking the scandalous, the sensational, the sordid. It demeans us as much as it demeans the people who agree to be on it. We are absolutely no better than they are.

Now, people would probably object that this rant cannot apply to the Jon and Kate show. After all, what can be wrong about watching a couple of parents deal with 8 cute children? But consider this: the show’s highest viewing has come from reports that the couple are having marital problems. In fact, I saw that in the Lancaster newspaper. What is this but an obsession with the sordid details of others’ lives? Granted, these people consented to put themselves out there but they are successful at it because of us.

Which brings me to “Octomom.” I read somewhere that she has signed a reality TV deal. This has led to some pretty mean comments. But here is the truth: it is the viewers of reality TV, the viewers of Jon and Kate that has created Octomom. Why do they think she will be successful? Because if a couple with 8 children can be successful, how can a single mom with 14 fail? An additional 6 kids – 1 parent = more dysfunction = greater success!!! That is the way TV stations tend to think and we are the ones responsible.

For all those out there who watch reality TV, I apologize for this rant. It does not make you bad individuals for watching reality TV. But as a societal phenomenon, reality TV is scary!!!


Other News:

Giggs: He is so energetic. I am hoping that he calms down soon. After all, he is 1.5 years old.

The Plants: Both basil and thyme have survived – now it is officially over a month!!! In fact, the basil is thriving. Now I think I am going to buy cilanthro and parsley.

Work: Not going so well. I need to work faster than I have but it is so difficult. Giggs makes it more difficult because he tends to paw at my laptop any time I am actually working on it. He is a complete lap dog, so anything on any one’s lap annoys him.