If I wasn\’t so completely adverse to reality shows (the unreal kind), I would call some big shot tv producer and tell him about the 5 Alabama drama queens. It would be fitting for Fox or the WB and think about those Southern ratings. But, then what would my book be about?
There are two kinds of reality tv. The Real kind, like football, baseball and other sports (golf is included, although that\’s another topic) and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Real people doing real things, within a confined set of rules and/or behaviors.
Then there\’s the unreal kind. Like Survivor, Big Brother, and the newest, God or the Girl, about four seminarians studying for the priesthood. These are \”real\” people, chosen not for their talents but for their personalities and their amazing abilities to make poor decisions and not care. In fact, they celebrate bad choices as if there is some secret signing bonus for every one (Gee, the contract says I get an extra thousand if my bikini top should accidently fall off on camera). Maybe there is. It wouldn\’t surprise me. Athletes get bonuses for extraordinary play, why not reality show participants? If there is a union, I think they should bargain for that.
I don\’t ususally watch these kinds of things, but a lot of my favorite people do. I think I\’m more fascinated with the why than the what. Is it the boldness, the act of being able to shed aside inibitions and get paid for it that is so attractive? The funny thing is, if there are such self centered people in our real lives, we go through extreme lengths to avoid them, yet there they are on tv for an hour a week and we\’re there watching. Does the act of being broadcast as a \”shared experience\” somehow validate the self centered? What on earth posesses people to want to put themselves out there like that, especially for the shows that have no real \”reward\” (ie, American Idol and Survivor have a tangible reward at the end of the show. Shalom in the Home is simply having your therapy session in the town square).
I guess the thing that really bothers me is that television and internet are starting to eerily resemble the world of Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. Not a good thing.