Reality TV. The very phrase brings every possible negative image one could imagine to invade my mind. I don’t just hate reality TV, I loathe it. I don’t usually get emotional about something as insignificant as television programming, but reality television has proven to be the exception.
I think it’s odd that these shows are called “reality television” when they are so far detached from reality. Reality is not competing for a prize on an island and it is not trying to become the biggest pop sensation in the country. I suppose that they may be someone’s reality, but they sure aren’t mine, and it’s a safe bet that they aren’t yours either. Reality is me sitting here trying to come up with a whole article of things to say about reality television. Reality is you reading this article when you should be studying for that big history test. Reality, for the most part, is pretty uninteresting. Given that reality television has very little to do with reality, I propose they start being called by what they really are: glorified game shows. Bad ones at that.
The strangest thing about the reality TV phenomenon is that there are seemingly no fans. I personally only knew two people in high school who could be called reality television fans (and one of them was my math teacher). Sure, I knew people who watched them from time to time, but they were more like casual reality TV viewers. They only watched them because it was the only thing on in that particular time slot. If a blank screen were broadcasted instead, they probably would have watched that too. If all the reality TV shows were cancelled tomorrow, I doubt that you’d hear anyone complain.
The worst thing about reality television is the way that the networks seem to be competing with each other with their programming. It’s as if they’re trying to out do each other by putting out the most intellectually devoid and disgusting shows on television. Reality television hit a new low last month with the shows “The Littlest Groom” and “My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé”. Actually, I take that back. I think it’s more Fox hitting a new low than it is reality television. I guess this isn’t too surprising considering that this is the network that brought us such gems as “When Animals Attack” and “Married by America”. (It’s a bit ironic that the sleaziest network is also the one whose news channel employs news anchors who habitually whine about the lack of morality in the media. But, I digress…)
It has recently surfaced that many of these reality shows are – GASP – staged. So not only are they glorified game shows, but they can now be called glorified staged game shows. Pro-wrestling constantly gets ragged on for this reason, yet reality TV gets a special pass? I’d rather watch a staged wrestling match than a reality television show. At least with wrestling, if you don’t like someone, you get to watch that person get brutalized in the ring. As much as I want the stars of reality TV shows to be severely injured, it hasn’t happened yet (though I’m sure Fox wouldn’t rule out a midget wrestling show if “The Littlest Groom” fails).
I hate reality television. I hate every single frame of video that is wasted on filming them. I hate the networks for creating this garbage. I hate the morons who compete on the shows. I hate how many writers are finding it difficult to find work because unscripted (yeah, right) reality shows are replacing sitcoms and dramas. But most of all, I hate the fact that they do so well in the ratings. I’ve dismissed reality television as merely a fad in the past, but I think I may be wrong. Clearly, people like reality TV. Many critics predicted that, due to the events of September 11th, would abandon reality TV. Unfortunately, those critics were wrong, and reality TV is still doing well. The only way that I can see reality TV going away anytime soon is if too many copycat shows come out, thus causing viewers to get sick of reality TV. If reality TV is just a fad, then it’s a fad that I want to end as soon as possible. And if it proves to be a legitimate genre (like so many network executives are no doubt hoping it will be), then God help us.