Reality TV, Is it Really?

Seriously, but this IS NOT a rant about what and why we watch what we do on TV.  Certainly there are plenty of offerings that inspire brain growth — Science, History, Travel, LIFETIME MOVIES!– and that’s all good for filling up the Einstein quadrant in our brains, but honestly, (and rest assured, no one can see your hand go up in agreement) doesn’t it also feel sinfully delicious when we’re craving just a little taste of junk-food, to succumb to an episode of Jersey Shore, Gypsy Weddings, any assortment of Housewives, or the especially disturbing Tots in Tiaras (please oh please, but tell me that people don’t ACTUALLY behave like this!)?   If only because it can be so exhausting being a real person living a real life. And isn’t it strangely true that the more heinous the train wreck, the more likely we are to keep our eyeballs chained to the screen?

That’s Entertainment

Hey, it’s exhausting being a real person living a real life. Really, I get it.  It can be a truly welcome diversion after a day of being out in the world Fighting the Good Fight, to drop into the nearest comfy chair and tune into the angst of a bachelorette working her way through a dozen dishy men in order to find Mr. Old Spice on a White Horse, or another Bride driven to crazed meltdown at the bakery because the Fondant on her wedding cake is a hair-shade to dark to properly compliment the cascading butter-creme sweetheart roses.

It’s sort’ve like eating a Twinkie, so dreadful, and yet we nevertheless feel compelled to eat one now and again, (though preferably when no one is looking). And isn’t it strangely true (strange as in, the part of human nature we all recognize but are loathe to admit) that the more heinous the train wreck, the more likely we are to keep our eyeballs chained to the screen?

And Then There’s Real Life 

But, herein lies the problem, it’s when viewers get confused and start to believe that what they’re seeing out there in Crazy Land, is actually the reality of our day-to-day interactions. Case in point, recently I read a blog post by Patricia Caviglia titled Be A Good Guest, which perfectly nails what I’m getting at, which is that REAL people don’t sure as hell shouldn’t behave like the reality stars on the telly. In REAL LIFE good manners are still required, disagreements are preferably settled away from public places (although welcome and expected on TV, where table-flipping and unnatural hair extension removal are encouraged and rewarded with frequent replays), good parenting does not involve berating small children into fulfilling all of miserable parent’s lost dreams, sessions with ones therapist are still a private endeavor and not necessary dinner party conversation, and certainly our Multi Million Dollar weddings hold on even after our People Magazine covers have gone out to the recycling bin.

So, what’s the scoop? Are you finding more and more Reality Personalities creeping  into your own real space?


11 thoughts on “Reality TV, Is it Really?

  1. Not really. I don’t watch much TV period. My husband watches the stuff on History Channel and A&E and stuff like Gold Rush and Deadliest Catch and Pawn Stars. Kinda not really the kind of characters that would work their way into your own life. I see your point, though. I guess, IMO, reality TV has become such a truth to our modern lives (as in, no longer a novelty) that it has the same effect on my life as a regular TV show would. Does that make sense?

  2. I watched a few seasons of American Idol and that’s about it. I just never understood the fascination with “reality” TV where people are horrid and mean and downright disturbing 🙂 My favorite shows were the nerdy shows on Discovery, History, etc

  3. I would love to say I gave up TV years ago (after Survivor 5 or something like that). For the most part, I have. Give or take the occasional football game. (that’s reality-ish, right)? The Amazing Race and Undercover Boss I will tune into. As for the other million and a half “reality” shows, I don’t think so. (Sorry Jersey Shore kids).

    Go wana112

  4. Very true! Whenever I hear anyone talking loudly on a cellphone in a public place about personal matters, I think they must not have gotten the memo that some “reality” is better left in private… Great post Barbara!

  5. I have enuff reality in my own life!!lol Seriously tho, it makes me ill to think our society had become so dysfunctional that we consider this entertainment. When 8 yr old girls are dressed as Snooki for Halloween it makes me ask,” How do they even know who she is”???? I think the key, as with all things in life, is moderation, sure it feels good to see that other peoples lives are a bigger mess than ours but at some point we need to know the difference between reality and “reality TV”. Sadly I’m assuming that some out there that don’t have that filter, and thus we have, “reality TV”. This also written with a inside perspective on what reality TV ( a certain Real Housewife) does to a family and extended family, not all are willing participants in this crap. Eating a Twinkie is a somewhat delicious treat now and again, a steady diet of Fried Twinkies? I can’t imagine it’s healthy for anyone!!!

  6. I watch the Real Housewives, but only Bev Hills and NYC. Places I’d like to live…and I can think, wow, I’d behave better than that (does no one tell these women that there’s a time and a place for serious ‘you wounded me’ conversations? and it’s not at charity events?). The other reality shows I watch all involve real estate. House Hunting International, anyone?

  7. Can’t bear to watch the sniveling, self-destructive, mean, loud, bullying and at times violent gossipers. Who thinks up these shows? The immature and greedy.

    If these shows continue to proliferate, take notice! Society will have degraded to such a point…

  8. According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or 2 months of nonstop TV-watching per year). In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube.

    We chose to take those 9 years and DO something. What did we do? We turned off the cable, then started 3 businesses, which included my husband’s writing career and me as his business manager (27 books to date, 20 of those in the last 6 years).

    I heard a liberal and a conservative bashing it out over the values (or lack of) in a particular TV show. The liberal said, “If you don’t like it, turn it off. You have a choice.” Can you guess what would happen if more people did that?

    As for the rest of the society turning into reality-show-type-personalities; come to the Seattle area. You’ll find that it’s not just on TV.

  9. Thank you for the mention Barbara! I’m with you on all points. There’s something very wrong in a society that takes pleasure from watching others act badly intentionally and thinking that ugly is the way to behave.

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