A Dose of Reality
I live a pretty boring life, and I’m fine with that. Years ago, I spent plenty of time going out with my friends and drinking, or heading to someone’s house to play video games together. If I didn’t go out at least once during the week, then I would be a miserable person sitting at home, staring blankly at the tv or computer screen. I didn’t handle idle time well, and was often bored. Nowadays, staring blankly at the tv or computer is what I look forward to, which I find funny. My days of going out and drinking or playing games on a regular basis are behind me. As much as I’d love to blame it on being married and having to settle down, that’s not it. The fact of the matter is that I’m getting older.
I mentioned recently that I’m not a television junkie, but that I do have shows that I can’t miss. That’s true, if I were to miss an episode of a show like Boardwalk Empire, I’d be unhappy about it. I guess I’m pretty much like everyone else; when I’m at home, the tv is usually on, even if I’m not paying attention to it. I’m sure that many of you are worse about your television habits though, because I know for a fact that many of you watch reality television.
I remember when reality tv was a new thing. The first show I remember was MTV’s The Real World. I’m pretty sure that the first season took place in New York City, but I don’t remember anything about that city. I don’t think the show was very popular yet. The season that I remember clearly was the following city, which took place in San Francisco. They had an asshole on the show named Puck, some republican bimbo who idolized politicians, a girl named Pam, a cartoonist named Judd (who later married Pam), and a man who was HIV positive named Pedro Zamora. I was into it at the time, because I was a teenager, and it seemed cool to me. In retrospect, the only good thing about the show was that Pedro’s presence on the show raised AIDS awareness. Sadly, he died shortly after the filming of the show.
After The Real World came another MTV reality show named Road Rules. I watched the first season of this show, just because it was on MTV, and reality tv was still a fairly fresh idea. All I really remember about the show was that there was a big blonde haired guy who hooked up with a girl named Kit (and it was really predictable. Also, Kit later went on to host a sports talk show on ESPN), a black guy who was overly enthusiastic about OJ Simpson’s innocence (even wearing t-shirts that said “Don’t squeeze the juice”), and a Native American girl who’s last name was Spotted Horse, who the black guy was constantly hitting on.
Anyway, The Real World and Road Rules were beaten to death, going about 20 seasons too long each, and eventually began crossing over into Real World Road Rules Challenge, where I assume that the premise was that former contestants on each show competed against one another doing various tasks. I’m not 100% sure about that, because by that time I had become mature enough to understand that MTV’s programing had become utter horse shit.
By the time that MTV shot their wad on reality tv, CBS came up with the idea of putting “real” people on an island, and having competitions. The contestants would form alliances, and vote each other off of the island, until one was left standing to collect the grand prize. So Survivor was born, and I’ll admit that I was intrigued by the idea of the show. I didn’t watch every episode, but I did check results to see who was left in the game. I made sure to catch the last 3 episodes, because I wanted to know who won. In previous reality shows, there wasn’t really a winner, it was just assholes trying to tolerate other assholes. Anyway, some criminal named Richard Hatch won the first season of Survivor, and I didn’t even watch the next season. I have watched one season since then though, in an attempt to have a mutual interest with my wife, and that experiment was a failure. We have mutual interests, but reality tv isn’t one of them. I have caught a few episodes of the most recent season, and I’ve seen enough to tell you readers that there was a guy who called himself “Boston Rob” who lives in Pensacola, and is an absolute douchebag. I don’t care how perfectly he played the game, a douche is a douche.
Then there’s Big Brother. I have several friends who watch this garbage, a few who claim to be males. The premise of Big Brother is basically the same as The Real World, where it’s a bunch of assholes tolerating each other in a house, except they’re confined to the house, and there’s a cash prize for the last person standing. Basically, imagine Survivor and The Real World mating, and having a very lame child. But wow, do my friends eat this shit up. They’re always wondering if someone is going to get “back doored,” which where I come from isn’t an expression that you would use for something that you could see on CBS.
Last season, there was even a Big Brother pool at work, where each person put in $5, and got 2 contestants. The winner got the money. I partook in the pool, because I like to win. I did not watch the show. One funny thing that happened last season was that I walked in on my wife watching an episode, looked at the tv and said “Every person on this fucking show looks like a model.” My wife responded by saying “Actually, one of the girls on the show is a model.” Reality tv my ass…
I do watch one show currently that you could classify as reality tv though, The Ultimate Fighter, but I watch it because I love the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. It’s a bunch of guys living in a house together, but they fight each other to determine a winner. I didn’t even watch last season of that show either, because the talent and coaches were horrible. One guy barely spoke English, and the other is an absolute idiot. That being said, the current season is pretty awesome.
With horrible shows like Jersey Shore, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, The Surreal World, The Flavor of Love, Joe Millionaire, Temptation Island, Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire, and more, one thing is for certain; reality tv is anything but real. First of all, the people in most of these shows aren’t normal people. They’re mostly exceptionally beautiful, and exceptionally stupid. Sure, they throw in a few turds to make it seem like random selection, but they hand pick hotties, to keep the viewers tuned in to see Jeff shirtless, or Jordan in a bikini.
Also, nobody acts like their true self when they know that they’re on camera. I know, they say that after a while, they forget that the cameras are there, but do you actually believe that? They’re on the show for a couple of months, not years. 60 days in not enough time for me to be unaware that millions of people are watching. Shit, I’ve been driving for for 17 years, and I’m still fully aware that if I want to pick my nose, I have to be sure that the guy in the next lane isn’t watching.
I work with a guy who watches notoriously awful tv shows. His favorite channel is TruTV, and that’s just for starters. The most common excuse that I’ve heard from him for his poor choice in show is that when he watches tv, he doesn’t want to think. Sometimes stupid is entertaining. That’s true, sometimes it is, but now nearly as often as he watches these horrible shows. The problem is that the programming on television in America is a reflection of it’s viewers; that they’re stupid. Some of still like thought-provoking entertainment, and others like to drool on the screen, while eating Apple Jacks and watching Snooki spray her tan on, all while trying not to make a doodie in their undies.