Saturday, 2 September 2006

Reality Killed the Video Star

My guilty pleasure is reality television. It’s all MTV’s fault that I was unwillingly sucked in to this deep black vortex of voyeurism. And all because I hoped to catch a Jason Mraz video on that silly channel. Imagine that, hoping for a music video on MTV? What was I thinking?

Saturday. Bored. Doing my finger exercises on the remote. MTV has a Laguna Beach marathon. Not videos, but it looks interesting. Teenagers. Rich, good-looking teenagers and their life in a posh high school. So unlike my school days. And even though I grew up in California, it was worlds away from the stuff I'm watching. I can deal with the bad acting, but what’s this show about? Oh, wait…it’s reality!

Next thing I know, it’s 6 hours later and I'm wishing all the best for LC, thinking Jason is a scumbag for kissing his ex in front of Lauren, and wishing Kristin would just quit whining.

Yeesh! What just happened? Where did my day go? And now that they’ve all graduated from high school, how will I ever know how they’re all doing? Oh, whew! There’s a continuation called The Hills. That was close.

Um, yeah. There’s got to be a 12-step program for this.

I understand that not everyone has MTV, but the channel is just an example of the number of reality shows that have flooded our airwaves. I would have been happy waiting for the next instalment of The Bachelor, or America’s Next Top Model. When they aren’t on, I feel safe from my voyeuristic tendencies. Well, except for Hell’s Kitchen. I can’t help but admire a man who makes his money screaming at people in various ways how much they suck at cooking. And the chef wannabes take it without punching him, not even once! I'd be in prison if he were my boss, reality or not. Either that or I'd be a whiny, sniveling wreck that would make me want to commit suicide, believing all the nasty crap he'd say to me.

Oh, but I love watching him scream at other people.

My point is, you can’t change channels without encountering some sort of reality. And it’s not necessarily ‘quality’ reality…if there is such a thing. A&E seems to have the grittiest in reality television, with Dog, the Bounty Hunter (a redneck’s dream), The First 48 (a real-time murder investigation with bodies and everything), and Dallas Swat (go, boys, go!). And now there’s Gene Simmons, Family Jewels (did you know he's been happily unmarried to Shannon Tweed for more than 20 years and has two gorgeous children?). How's a girl to resist? Gene Simmons? Come on!

What's sadder - that there are so many, too many to choose from, to be tempted by? Or is it worse that we watch it? Or even worse, that people are willing to sell their lives to be filmed in every little thing they do? Is my life so boring that I have to watch someone elses?

The question is, how do we get beyond this reality driven world? Why are we so invested in The Amazing Race, Treasure Hunters, or Survivor? Why are all the networks channeling their creative energy (or lack thereof) in coming up with the next (cheap to produce) reality show? Is it because there are NO new, original and creative ideas to bring about a new, exciting program? Did all the good stuff end with Friends, NYPD Blue and The West Wing? Where did it start? Was it with the yummy Matthew McConnaughey’s Ed TV? Or was it Jim Carrey’s The Truman Show?

Folks, I’ll lead by example! I’ll avert my eyes! Turn off the television! Go for a walk in the country! Oh, wait. That tongue master Gene Simmons is going to give his daiughter a talk on the birds and bees after he takes her to a stripper casting show. There's no way I can miss it. I’ll stop watching this stuff after tonight. No…really.