Reality TV and Dating
I believe reality television to be the bane of existence. Buzz also has a gripe with the emergence of this type of program. Technically, it isn’t even really reality and most of the cast members — oops, I mean contestants — have representation (aka agents).
Not that television programming ever stimulated the intellect. But now we’re left with “Reality TV”. And there is something for everyone with shows like the grand-daddy of them all MTV’s Real World and Road Rules, CBS’s Survivor, American Idol, Are You Hot?, The Restaurant, The Amazing Race, Boot Camp, Extreme Makeover, Fame, Fear Factor, Frontier House, High School Reunion, Manor House (brought to you by PBS no less!), The Miss Dog Beauty Pageant, Murder in Small Town X, The Osbornes, The Surreal Life, Trauma: Life in the ER… and let’s not forget the dating shows like Blind Date, Change of Heart, Who Wants to Marry My Dad?, The Bachelor/rette, The Last Resort, Meet My Folks, Married by America, Temptation Island, For Love or Money, Mr. Personality, and Temptation Island, among others. And people really wonder why the divorce rate is on the rise?
I’ll admit, a decade ago I was enthralled by the novelty of MTV’s Real World. And I was suckered into catching the last half of Survivor’s first season (my then-roommates were glued to the tv set in anticipation of who would be voted off next). But where did these other hair-brained shows come from? Who ARE these people who volunteer to be humiliated week after week – all for ten seconds in the spotlight? And more importantly, WHY do millions of people tune in week after week to watch this garbage?
I rant and rave on the absurdity of these programs (and I use the term loosely) to anyone who will listen. I try to reason and provide examples of the infinite, more meaningful ways to waste time (if that’s what you’re aiming at).
And so last night, on a dare, I watched Erin eliminate three bachelors from her pool of potential mates on NBC’s “For Love or Money”. I could only stand 5 minutes of “Who Wants to Marry My Dad?” before turning the tv off. That’s 70 minutes of my life I’ll never get back again.
Beside the point that I learned absolutely nothing, I wasn’t even mildly entertained. I felt embarrassed for these people (grown men wrestling one another at 3:00 a.m. after a pajama party with Erin? Isn’t that something better kept behind closed doors? I’ll bet those studs aren’t feeling so cool right now). I think I’d have more fun peeling the dead skin off my sunburn.
To protect the guilty I won’t mention names – but I’m acquainted with many seemingly normal people who look forward to and anticipate watching these shows. WHY? One of them told me that they get hooked and have a vested interest in the outcome for so and so. Another claims that the talent shows aren’t reality tv (“Not like those dating shows”) and faithfully watches American Idol, Fame, The Most Talented Kid and whatnot.
What message are we sending our kids?
I’ll come back with my thoughts on dating soon….