Monday, August 22, 2011

Distorted Reality TV

If you know my personally, you'll know my distaste for reality TV. If you want a basic summation of my disdain, consider the J. M. Barrie inspired sentiments.

Yup. That sums it up.
It's difficult, because so many people I know love these shows. My wife, for instance, is infatuated a show called Cupcake Wars. Luke Burbank, the host of one of my favorite podcasts Too Beautiful Too Live, is all about what he refers to as "his PWP shows". People With Problems. Shows like Intervention, My Strange Addiction, and Hoarders.

As I think further about my irritation with these shows, I realize that it is not all reality TV that wrankles my ire. I've enjoyed episodes of Iron Chef America. I've met and love the work of the folks of American Pickers. It is programs that debase the intelligence and morality of its participants and/or its viewers that truly make me cry myself to sleep.

Take, for instance, the following brain-frapping programs:

The Bachelor
The Bachelorette
Bachelor Pad
Love in the Wild
The Jersey Shore
The Real House Wives of Atlanta
16 and Pregnant
Teen Mom

I could go on, but just thinking of the snippets of these shows that I've been exposed to has made my brain twitch in ways that would make a neurologist queasy. So on behalf of all my friends who enjoy these shows, I endure. I've sat through entire episodes of Toddlers in Tiaras. But when push comes to shove, I think that the majority of these programs are a drain on television programming, bring down the IQ of the poeple who watch them, and glorify negative attributes of our society.

What started so innocently as Real World and Road Rules has turned into a style of lackadaisical, unscripted fluff that brings to the surface all the crass impropriety that makes me sad to be an American.

So the next time you flip on the TV and see that Kate Plus 8 is on, grab a book instead. Pull out that worn VHS copy of Uncle Buck. Hop online, and see if there's a new post to this blog! Just do yourself a favor, and save the braincells.

Or at least find a reality show that makes you a better person. Watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition or something.


  1. It's like watching a train wreck... a car accident... or america's funniest home videos. It sucks you in and doesn't let go. It also makes me feel less crazy than usual. :)

  2. All fair points...Especially the "Less crazy" sentiment.

    I don't hold it against you. I simply don't get it.

  3. Kristin (Meyer) GaleAugust 30, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    I've never understood them, either. I would be the girl on Survivor that kung-fu'd the camera man for his sandwich.

  4. A show I find pointless is "Wipeout" on ABC. It's a ripoff of those lemming Japanese shows where they make common folk do absurd obstacle courses. For most of the obstacles, they are completely impassable. 98% of the people on it never get past the first few one.

    It's not hard. It isn't even Nintendo Hard. It's just a broken game.

  5. Kristen, I commend your Kung Fu reaction. I'd do the same.

    Clint, I never thought of that, but you are true. Wipeout is pretty demeaning.

    The new show "American Ninja Warrior" does seem interesting - ( Kind of like "American Gladiators". But that is more a gameshow than reality TV.