Essay on I Hate Reality TV

Essay on I Hate Reality TV

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For someone who considers his television a family member, such as myself, the summer season is a harsh, empty period of time. Fresh programming is at a minimum, leaving me to either rehash old broadcasts, scan the wasteland of hundreds of other channels offered by my cable company, or; god help me, just turn the ol' TV off. Lately, with the current trend of programming choices, I have been opting for the latter of the three, finding my entertainment in print form (crazy, I know). The primary factor contributing to this oustanding decision has been the broadcasters (and I suppose in turn, America's) infatuation with the 'reality' genre's subset of contest shows.

I cannot stand any of these shows. These are the ones where there is a panel of 'judges', be they celebrities, near-celebrities, ex-celebrities, 'experts' of their respective field, or just eye candy; observing some act or object, giving their two cents, and then turning it over to America and all their wisdom to choose a winner. I'm sure you are familiar with at least one of these shows: American Idol, Big Brother, So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, The Biggest Loser, America's Got Talent, Last Comic Standing, America's Best Dance Crew, Celebrity Circus ...etc. These shows are wildly popular, and for me, completely unbearable.

What makes me cringe at the thought of watching these televised messes are the fact that for every success or great performance seen, there are many more failures and catastrophes that go along side with it. I don't know if it is just something about my character, but I do not get any pleasure about seeing someone genuinely try and fail miserably, only to have it then critiqued, deconstructed and replayed again and again. My te...


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...eek, we are concerned with how they will bounce back and make things right. If they do fail, it is for a reason and has meaning, not just laughable fodder. This is how entertainment has been done for as long as a story has been told. Character to plot to problem to solution. There is no solution for the losers of the contest show. There is only a long drive home and the 'fifteen minutes of fame' that would assuredly be happily traded back for perhaps some nice parting gifts.

So, until the fall rolls around with the new wave of happy scripted shows, I will be searching for other stories where the characters are appreciated and not discarded after their failures are pontificated. Humanistic? Sure. But more so, I think it comes back to the Golden Rule that should be instilled in us all. How would you feel if that happened to you? I wouldn't want anyone watching that.

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