Sunday, September 13, 2009

Is Realtiy TV Entertainment Or Even Real?

Are They Performers Or Are We Voyers?

Reality TV. Seems like an oxymoron to me. Have you ever watched any of these programs? I've seen little bits of a few—enough to know that they're not my cup of entertainment tea. I like real life stories and I like TV; but most of these dumb shows under the umbrella of "reality" are far from real.

I watched a few episodes of the first season of Survivor because it was new and intriguing. There was a challenge to overcome, relationship conflicts to resolve, something of value on the line and all being done by everyday folks. Um, does this sound familiar? Is there a single show out there that doesn't follow this pattern? America's Next Top Model, Project Runway, American Idol, The Bachelor...just to name a few that are promoted constantly...don't they all fit this formula? Different people, settings, challenges and prizes, but who wants to watch the same theme again and again?

Even the shows that are "personality driven" like Keeping Up With The Kardashians or Gene Simmons Family Jewels are about as far from reality as Peter Pan ever traveled. These people's lives are likely not the same as mine and yours, but could they possibly be as bizarre as they're depicted in prime time? And the dialog...certainly that's spontaneous and natural, not scripted. Right! I've caught snippets of both and feel like a Peeping Tom, watching the cattiness of sisters on one, the outrageousness of a post-prime rock star on the other. At least there is humor and some self-deprecation on the Simmons show. They laugh at themselves, which is the only redeeming quality I've found.

There is so much junk on television for consumers to lap up like buckets of beer. If any beer will do, or for that matter any beverage at all, this is fine. But for those who have only a small fragment of their day to spend enjoying a bit of down-time in front of the box, discernment is crucial.

I'm a sucker for a fast cop show, strong medical drama or good comedy. What makes it entertaining to me is a well-written script performed by talented artists. The reality programs are more like a freak show or a car wreck; you might want to take a quick peek, but feel better when you look away.

I always get comments from those wonderful high-minded people who condemn the evils of wasting even a minute on TV, but since about 99% of American households have televisions I guess more than a few of you are familiar with some current programming choices. I'd like to know honestly if you spend any of you viewing minutes on these types of shows and why or why not. Obviously millions are watching, so fess up!
Diane Markins


Ali said...

I'm a sucker for Dancing with the Stars. I love dance nd it's fun to see how the contestants impove over time. That's it though. I have to agree that one reality show is pretty much like the next. I don't really even care that much for cop shows or the medical ones. Give me HGTV and I'm content. Don't watch much tho.

Kara Jensen said...


I love your messages! I pray more people ae on the same page as you! I can not tolerate those reality shows, seems they promote the very behaviors that is bringing society down. And they are basically saying it's ok to act that way! I watch maybe 2 hours a week and usually catch Law and Order or a CSI. Still incredibly unreal but sometimes thought provoking and entertaining at least.

Anonymous said...

I think reality TV as it's known these days is part n' parcel of the "dumbing down" of our culture. . .with perhaps the exception of American Idol, but then Simon Cowell isn't always the nicest guy in the room either!

I disagree with folks who hold themselves above everyone else by saying "I don't have a TV". Like everything in life, things have an up side and a down side. The difference is in the person. Unfortunately many folks like & watch "reality TV". . .thus the proliferation of shows on now in that vein.
Linda F, OH

Diane Markins said...

Just had to mention that if you like the performing arts (dancing/singing) of reality shows but also like comedy and interesting story lines, try Fox's new show Glee. So much fun!