Thursday, September 16, 2010

v40.0: Getting Back to Reality

Howdy folks,


I have a problem.  This isn't a problem anyone can really help me with but I figured I'd bring it up anyway since I'm probably not the only one with this problem.  My problem is with Reality Television shows.  Now I'm not a huge television watcher but when the television is on at our house it is usually Tree House TV (young children's shows) or Reality TV with the odd movie here and there.
Reality television is a genre of television programming that presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and usually features ordinary people instead of professional actors.[1] The genre has existed in some form or another since the early years of television (primarily with game shows), but has expanded significantly since the series Big Brother first aired in 1999.[1] Programs in the reality television genre are commonly called "reality shows" and often are produced in series.

Of course Reality TV isn't ALL bad.  Take, for example, "Ice Road Truckers".  If it hadn't been for that Reality TV show, I wouldn't have known it was dangerous to drive a huge rig over frozen water.  Who really thinks about that?
Fred: Hey Bill, let's take this fully loaded 18 wheeler weighing 40 tons out onto the frozen ocean!
Bill: You sure that's safe?
Fred: I hadn't even thought of that, how much weight can ice hold?
Bill: ....

There are a lot of other life lessons I've learned over the years of Reality TV.  I'm sure most of you can relate:

  1. Having a baby can hurt and sometimes have complications

  2. Men and Women can fall in love and have their feelings hurt

  3. Traveling all over the world is considered a race if there are others doing it too

  4. Cutting down big trees is dangerous

  5. Some people have a lot more kids than I do

  6. Policemen chase criminals and arrest them

Thankfully we have Reality TV to tell us these things otherwise I would have been lost.


On a more serious note, why the hell do we have these shows anyway?  Yes the may provide a certain level of entertainment but is it the right kind of entertainment we should be subjecting ourselves to?  Coming back to my example of "Ice Road Truckers", would you watch a show where people drove big rig tucks on ice and nothing happened?  Probably not, there isn't much point in watching trucks driving on ice if there wasn't something there to make it interesting.  What if there was a commercial for an upcoming episode of "Ice Road Truckers" where someone died because their rig crashed through the ice?  I bet you'd watch it then.  Why?  Because we've been twisted and deformed mentally by the evil that is Reality TV.  No, that isn't very fair, Reality TV isn't "evil", it's sick.  What would you think if someone followed you around every day with a camera recording your life in the hopes you got hurt or died?  The average person's day-to-day life is fairly boring and not very interesting but when they get hurt or die, the ratings sky rocket!

I won't go into these hundreds of other Reality TVs shows out there today like the ones where people sit and watch brides to-be pick out a dress.  For the love of God, it is like the shopping channel but instead of you looking for something to buy yourself, you're watching someone else buy it.  I am having a difficult time understanding how someone can justify paying money to make a show about absolutely nothing; they are either very smart or very dumb.

I digress of course.  Reality TV has brought some good and there is something to learn from some of the shows out there.  Take a show like the "Worst Handyman" series.  They teach you a lot of important tips on doing things around the house while you get to watch people screw it up.  Not only is it informational, but it is funny to watch as well.  Same goes for the "Worst Driver" series.  I know a lot of this "think" we know all the rules of the road but there are some lessons on that show that I didn't know.  Let me throw a question out there.  Without looking it up (information these days is too readily available :) ), who has the right-of-way in a merging lane?  I was surprised to learn the correct answer to this question and I learned it on "Canada's Worst Driver".  There is also another show that I do like to watch on occasion that is borderline.  It is called the "Cake Boss" and it is basically about a bakery in New York that bakes and decorates these amazing cakes for different events.  They do show you how to make a lot of cakes and they give people a lot of great ideas for making cakes themselves.  Of course a television show about people making cakes sounds terribly boring so they have a camera crew following these guys around day after day and make episodes where mishaps happen.  Again, we watch the episodes because there is going to be a cake falling over, but at the same time there is something to learn so that is why I consider this show borderline.  Thankfully there are about 100 shows about cakes now so if I'm ever really bored and want to watch a cake fall over, there is a fairly good chance I can turn on the TV just as a cake is falling over.  That's sad.


Well folks, I think I've mused (ranted?) enough about Reality TV.  At the end of the day when you're tired from working or whatever you did that day, sometimes it is nice to sit in front of the TV and watch mindless entertainment like this.  Just don't let it go to your head and stop looking (hoping) for bad things to happen to people, it isn't right.