Reality, really?

I recently saw a commercial for a new television show that features Howard Stern, Howie Mandel and Ozzie Osbourne’s wife judging whether people have talent. I will wait as you chuckle at the irony of this. Believe me, I did. After doing so my first thought was I would rather be locked in a room with Jeffrey Dahmer, Sarah Palin and a tiger shark then be forced to watch such a show. The second thought was that reality television has taken over TV and threatens to take over the world leaving us all brainless.

When I watch TV I do so to escape from reality not to observe it. I want to see well written and acted shows that make me laugh, keep me in suspense or make me want to be David Duchovny. However, it seems like people who share my taste for traditional drama instead of “baby daddy” drama are in the minority.

The general television viewing audience has become obsessed with watching other people’s lives unfold before their eyes. What makes no sense to me is, if people are so interested in real life why are they observing it through a television screen? No matter how big or how high a definition a television you have the picture is never going to be better than what you get in real life. No matter what reality television show your brain claims you like real life has a better alternative to offer.

American Idol is a perfect example. Every time I see a commercial for it I wonder how it is possibly still on the air. Why would anyone choose to watch this show? You have a pimple-covered teenager belting out an off-key rendition of Journey while Stephen Tyler’s corpse humps a table. That doesn’t sound appealing. I would much rather go out and see a talented, local band like the Paragraphs rather than subject myself to FOX’s take on live music.

The sad phenomenon of reality television got its start on MTV when in 1992 they released The Real World. The popularity of that show proved that people were interested in spying on other people’s lives. The Real World flourished and before you knew it reality television had taken over MTV. What had once been a network where you could find quality music videos made by creative people turned into a joke that only played mindless reality shows designed to make the viewer dumber.

Unfortunately all these shows are different variations of the same concept. Just throw a bunch of people who are pre-destined not to get along, shove them in a house or on a island or a fishing boat and watch the sparks fly as people stop being polite and start talking shit for real. That’s formula one. Formula two is as follows: They put someone on stage who claims to be funny or play music or just simply because they are grossly overweight. Then they assemble a panel of former celebrities who haven’t been famous for five years and call them judges or coaches or dance partners. Lastly they allow you, the general television viewing audience, to text message which contestant is your favorite. The winner of the show gets to be a judge five years from now.

There is no creativity in these shows even if they are, as I believe, scripted just like a fictional program would be. I agree that writing anything takes creativity but when the end result is in the form of a reality television show that rule gets thrown out the window. How stimulated can one’s creative side truly be when they are watching rich housewives throw fake charity parties that always predictably end with a cat fight between two women who have so much plastic injected into them that they could both pass for action figures?

Real life changes constantly, that’s what makes it real. Reality television on the other hand is always the same which leads me to believe it isn’t really real, but is simply poorly crafted garbage written by ass clowns not talented enough to write a witty crime drama. I believe that the writers of reality television, if you choose to call them that, put the plot on paper and then allow the “real people” they are filming to act in response to the script they are handed.

I can’t help but laugh at people who truly believe that every minute of the reality television they watch is really happening on the fly with no sort of preparation for what is playing out on camera. I believe it is somewhat naïve to think that a television network would ever allow that sort of freedom to be seen. Freedom is the last thing television networks want us to have.

With freedom comes power and with too much of that people might start turning their televisions off. Networks can’t have that. To prevent such an outrage they dumb down their programming just enough to keep the average viewer stimulated, but not deeply enough to require thought. The more of this sort of programming you view the less important your brain becomes because you no longer need it to be entertained. Then one day every free thought that might have popped into your head has been replaced with season two of Jersey Shore and once you reach that point you are fucked .

I recommend taking your brain back before that happens to you. Remind yourself of what it feels like to think freely. If you want to relax and watch a little television choose something that will keep stimulating your brain like an old school episode of X-Files. Or turn off the television and read a book, like Love Life, my second novel which will be available soon on Amazon and Kindle. If that doesn’t interest you then simply walk outside and see what real life is really like.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: