Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Reality Bites

Is Reality TV Hell on Earth, or is it just Purgatory?

How else to explain why every lost, forsaken, misbehaving, and desperate celebrity (and I use the word celebrity in its most sweeping form) seeking to crawl back from the Ninth Circle sends their agent, publicist, lawyer, campaign manager or brother-in-law to get them a spot on the first available reality show?

And, we gleefully watch the eager hopefuls compete in the most entertaining and potentially degrading manner. We very rarely care about these celebrity attempts at revival, and forget about them when the season is over. There is a noticeable measure of cruelty in this voyeurism, and we are all - spectator and contestant alike - diminished. But they keep coming and hoping we will watch.

As if it will be redemptive. As if it is the first step back to the privileged life. As if it will salvage a reputation sullied by scandal - or worse - boredom. As if reality TV will cause John and Brenda on Oak Hill Circle to say, "Look at that former-rock-star-turned-soft-porn-queen bungee jump for sushi! She's got spunk! I don't care what OK! Magazine says about her! Let's buy her conveniently release retrospective CD, and watch next week!"

I guess now the producers are hoping John and Brenda will watch Rod Blagojevich competing for charity (sans kickbacks?) in Costa Rica on "I'm A Celebrity .... Get Me Out of Here!", and say, "Look at that former-and-soon-to-be-up-the-river-Governor Blagojevich racing toucans for charity! He's got cajones! I don't care what the courts say! Let's send money for his defense fund and watch next week!"

That is if the courts approve his trip to Costa Rica.


rebecca said...

Okay, so you got me. I like Reality TV, there I said it. But, this girl has a criteria which must be met: simply, entertainment and no friggin' stars, wanna-be-stars, has-been-stars trying to regurgitate their careers and humiliating themselves publicly (well, they're used to that, aren't they?). This does not interest me ONE IOTA. No, thank you! Please, people, have some dignity.

No, the reality shows I watch are: IDOL, because I love music and like to see up and coming about-to-be-discovered singers and I sing along with them and make believe I'm Simon for a day, "that was horrific!" or "you did very well," all while doing my best English accent and making Simon faces when Paula does something stupid or is once again crying!; THE BIGGEST LOSER, friggin' love that show as I want to be a loser too but finding it hard to let go of the chips and soda, especially as I'm watching the show and watching Jillian reduce the contestants to tears and me screaming, "Come on, Jillian, stop being such a bitch! Take a chill pill! Pfft, good thing I'm not there cause I'd body slam your ass to the floor you skinny bitch." Yeah, well, it's pretty easy to be all big and brave in the comfort of your own home because I have a feeling that lightweight (in pounds, that is) could body slam ME to the floor!; SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, because....BECAUSE I love to shake my ass and think these kids are incredible; and, last but not least, SURVIVOR! YEAH! Because I hate bugs, I hate heat, I hate discomfort, I hate hunting for the food I eat, I hate public bathrooms (as in outdoors in the bushes) and, most especially, I hate the thought of being stuck with the same group of whiny, bitching, conniving people ready to put a knife in your back so they can survive, for months on end. No, SURVIVOR for me is my answer to facing all of my fears. ... in the comfort of my own home, that is.

And, that's it! Nary a star in the bunch with botox, or too much much money to know what to do with, or whining because they don't get enough attention.

So, you found me out. I like Reality TV and come on over and watch one of 'my' shows with me - I promise it will be fun :-D

Carolyn said...

The first reality show I watched was Survivor and after the first season of that I gave up TV and now rarely watch TV. Real life is bad enough without exaggerating and intentionally bemeaning and belittling one other for fame, infamy or money? I don't think so....

Janie said...

I don't watch much TV but can't believe Blagojevich actually has the nerve to do reality TV. Wow. The scum of the earth is rising to float on the surface for a day before sinking to obscurity again (I hope).

TRXTR said...

Hey, I'M a "celebrity" in my own mind-- and I would like to get OUT of HERE! Can I EVER relate to that show! Heck, it's MY reality! Fe, I hope you can help me find a way!!!

Maryanne said...

My Guilty pleasure is "project runway" where people with talent (and some wacky, photogenic, personalities) are asked to use their skills to make something. Even though it is fashion, I love to see what they come up with, and Tim Gunn is fabulous.

But then there is the Housewives series. Whiny, and bitchy, bitchy, bitchy. There is no story line, nothing happens, and are we supposed to be outraged by the over the top consumption? Statement you hear the most: "Who does she think she is?"

They all have something to sell; books on their own "expertise," some food product, and one, the Vicki Cruise, so you can spend the weekend trapped on a boat learning to be completely self absorbed.

My stomach hurts.

Ken Mac said...

the one good thing about reality TV? Susan Boyle!

San said...

I've always thought reality TV was just an excuse for not hiring writers. I agree with what you say about the cruelty and the voyeurism.

And this Blagojevich proposal is downright creepy.

CoyoteFe said...

I draw a hard line between competition shows like idol and amazing race and such, and "let's gawk at the freaks" shows. I'll watch anyone try to follow their dreams (and cry with joy when they succeed, of course), but if it is just a matter of watching someone debase themselves for fame (infamy) and publicity, I will have to pass.

P.S. Liked Fear Factor until they trotted out the gross food! Blech!

Did you give up TV on account of Survivor? :-)

You may have gotten your wish! Seems the judge won't let Blagojevich leave the country for teh show. Maybe he got tired of the drama.

I would not watch that show, even for you! OKay, maybe I would take a peek, just so I could tease you later!

Again - I draw a line tween Project Runway (competitive) vs. horror show. While some of the peeps on there are passing strange, I have enjoyed their creations. Hmmm ... Which is better: Doing something or being something? Tim Gunn IS fabulous (is that doing something?)

Ken Mac!
Okay, I cried at the Susan Boyle video. What is it? 30 million hits on YouTube so far? Everyone loves the underdog unexpectedly triumphing. Now, of course it seems they are marketing her for every tissue cell they can scrape off!

Of course you hit it! Didn't these shows originate in teh writer's strike way back when? (Sigh)