Posts Tagged entertainment

Reality TV

These past few months, thanks to the NBA playoffs, I upgraded my TV channel listing from your run-of-the-mill network TV (ie. NBC, ABC, PBS, etc.) to the state-of-the-art digital basic cable. Because basic cable doesn’t include HBO or Showtime or any other channel that has new commercial free movies, you are pretty much limited to either the news, espn, or reality shows.

In the past, and I know this cause it’s been 3 years since I had cable, reality shows were not so common place and they were limited to a few channels here and there. Today, they are on almost every channel and it is getting hard to keep up. So to make things easier, here is a little summary of the different shows you can expect to see.

1 – The house. This is not the technical term for it but essentially describes what’s going on. What you basically have is a big house with a bunch of people living in it, doing the most mundane things like taking a shower, eating and sleeping. But here is the catch. These people are chosen based on their psychological instability (the crazier you are the better your chances) and history of substance abuse (mostly due to some sort of childhood trauma). Suddenly every meal is a potential food fight, every shower is a hookup opportunity, and every “house meeting” is a chance for one crazy person to point out how crazy everyone else is. You gotta appreciate their attempt at making sense of things in the confession booth.

2 – The challenge. These Survivor type shows are the new actions movies. You get to see regular people survive nature’s fury or race across the world. Forget Rambo, these people hunt, sabotage, deceive, and will turn on one another in a heartbeat. There are the good guys and the villains and everyone has their favorite to win. And as a plus, you get to see them exercise their constitutional right to vote some one off the show/island on every episode. How American is that?. What’s even more American is that the winner usually gets a large sum of money and ends up bankrupt by the next season.

3 – Real love. Remember how Cinderella went to the ball because the prince was looking for a wife? All those women wearing their best clothes and on their best behavior trying to get his attention. Now take that same concept but place those women in a big house for a few weeks, add a TV crew, a few challenges for them to undertake, and the all too important elimination round where those who remain get a rose/key/clock. Oh and even after prince charming finds his true love, make sure you catch season two because you know it’s not gonna last (it is reality, not a fairytale).

4 – The job interview. At some point, most adults need some form of employment to sustain themselves and their families. It is and has been part of reality since the inception of Man and today it is part of most reality shows. Whether you’re the next top model or fashion designer, whether you’re making the band or making people laugh, there is a reality show for you. Long gone are the days of job interviews. Just because you got that MBA from Harvard doesn’t meant The Donald isn’t going to “fire” you. As Dave Chappelle so eloquently put it: if you want to make P. Diddy’s band you best be ready to get him some “Cambodian breast milk.”

Reality shows are the new drug. First we’re shocked and entertained and then we start to develop a tolerance. Shows like Springer and Maury, where people talk about the things they did with their best friend’s wife or sister, don’t cut it any more. They’re a gateway drug like marijuana and we suddenly crave something more. We want to see how the twins (appropriately named Thing One and Thing Two) are fighting for the same washed-up rapper rather than hear them talk about it after the fact. Even that will get old and I wonder what it will take before we hit rock bottom. Fotunately, we can always count on VH1 to keep lowering the bar.

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