Reality TV far from real
January 17, 2005 —
The way television has gone the last few years, it's difficult to imagine life without reality TV. To say reality programs are mildly popular would be like saying Julia Roberts has slightly large lips.
The truth though is that, just like the aforementioned Roberts, as beautiful as reality TV can be, sometimes you just can't look past those monkey lips.
Prior to the explosion of reality shows, television was littered with fictitious programs such as Seinfeld, Home Improvement and The Evening News with Dan Rather. These shows all featured characters that were far from realistic, often seeming too funny, too accident-prone or too similar to a talking raisin to possibly be real.
Then, along came Survivor and everything changed. CBS was able to capture the frequently occurring event of being trapped on an island trying to win a million dollars, and reality TV never looked back. Soon, all of the things people saw in their daily lives began to appear on television.
How vividly I recall the time when a hotel heiress and her friend stayed at my uncle's farm.
Before I knew it, Simple Life appears on television and captures the very same zany adventures that my uncle had.
Oh yes, and I can't count the number of times I've had dozens of beautiful women vying for my love and competing with one another for my affection. My choices were almost impossible to narrow down but shows such as The Bachelor and The Bachelorette really hit the nail on the head.
Many people seem to believe that The Apprentice was a new and interesting premise. Yet, I seem to recall a similar concept right here in Saginaw County. Certainly the selection process wasn't as high profile, there were less contestants and I believe Al Kessel ran the show instead of Donald Trump, but everything else was the same. A few years later, Al Kessel stops showing up on TV throwing groceries and Trump gets on TV hurling "You're Fired," instead of "We're with you."
Those of you who understand that reality television is far from real have long figured out that I'm being sarcastic. But for those who think that these programs are spontaneous and authentic, I'll spell it out a bit more clear: "Reality TV is a joke."
Producers are fighting one another to find the next big reality show and television stations such as MTV have decided to abandon all conventional programming in favor of the likes of The Ashlee Simpson Show and Newlyweds. I'm beginning to think the only Simpson who doesn't have their own show is O.J.
By my count, out of the nearly 60 different shows that MTV runs, almost 13,000 of them fall into the so-called "reality" genre.
The most frequently occurring seems to be of the Real World/RoadRules variety. Besides the two original shows, they seem to have blended together to form new, hybrid shows. They're like a bad remix tape. Real World versus Road Rules is now one of the big hits and will probably soon give way to the likes of Real Rules, Road World, World Rules and Road Road.
While on the subject of the Real World, I must make the confession that this is the show that perhaps bothers me the most. Not only are the places fake, (San Diego? C'mon, who do you think you're kidding?) but the people are about as real as Pamela Anderson's upper 50 percent.
I've never seen so many guys with abs. Every time I turn that show on, some Abercrombie wannabe pulls his shirt up over his sea shell necklace to expose a rock hard midsection. Give me a break.
No one who drinks as much as these people can maintain a six pack. Where are the fat guys with man boobs? Why are the fur-covered heavyweights under-represented in these shows? The only people MTV casts on the Real World are stereotypical college guys, homosexuals, girls who can wear bikinis and people with weird names (See Coral, Irulan, Ace, Alton, Genesis, Montana, Syrus, Kameelah and Elka).
So in the end, I plead that shows that begin with phrases such, "My Big Fat..." or "The Tiniest..." are removed from TV and good, classic, wholesome shows such as X-Files, NYPD Blue and ALF are put on instead.
Please, students of SVSU, petition those television stations and tell them that you're sick of all of this false reality.
If the trend continues, I am afraid that the Biggest Loser won't be the person who lost 122 pounds, but those who actually watched him do it.