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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

"Why I Hate Reality TV" by Mac McLean

It all started with 'The Real World'. Alone, it was a mostly harmless show where you would watch real people from various backgrounds doing normal things together. It fed a bizarre vouyeristic need. And maybe it was compelling at the time because some of the people on the show reminded you of people you knew. And MTV's 'Fear' was fantastic. Scaring stupid teens is great entertainment. But that was then. I think the 'Real World' Miami season ended right around the time where reality TV started to expand and the networks realized that by putting really pretty, really stupid and mostly half-crazy people in confined spaces, very "dramatic" things happened. Like an increase in backstabbing and cursing. Oh, and if they were REALLY pretty and stupid, maybe they'd all have sex together before the fighting began. Cheap entertainment. Up to speed? Good. So then came the 'Survivor'/'Fear Factor' type shows, where people had to really overcome some physical hardships and challenges. Again, interesting to begin with, but after a while, the contestants are less in jeopardy of being hurt then by getting the runs from eating an octopus-peanut butter-ketchup milkshake or some such inane food-oriented "challenge". OK, so now let's try "Who Wants to Date an Inbred Supermodel Millionaire Singer/Fashion Designer That Also Knows Lots Of Useless Trivia And Is Really Your Relative In Disguise!!!". I was done last year with this crap and it's become even MORE painful. The only reaction I have to them anymore is a burning desire to punch the "contestants" in the face. Hard. Repeatedly.

There is a point to this. Five years ago, I never watched TV, except for some random MTV (for the rare "video") and Comedy Central. See, there was nothing good or interesting on at the time. Now, I find myself watching billions of TV shows all year long. I couldn't figure out why for the longest time, especially since the only shows on NOW that were even on 5 years ago are ER, Law & Order and West Wing. None of which I currently watch. But I have about 60 shows I watch religiously. Scripted ones, no 'unscripted' crap. Real shows with directors and scripts and actors. How is it possible that there are so many GOOD shows on and so few bad ones? Then it dawned on me. With all of the reality TV on these days, the stupid people that WATCHED the stupid shows are already accounted for, hence, in order to get viewers, the networks have better, smarter line-ups to account for the rest of the viewing public that hates the idiot-fest. So I guess, in the end, as much as I loathe reality TV, I have to thank it for herding the idiots into a nice box for me so I can enjoy my space uninterupted.


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