Saturday, July 29, 2006

Reality Show Addiction

I don't think of myself as a person without personal resources. I'm a pretty smart chick. I read. I meditate on thoughts of a higher nature. I have a career that combines concern for others with technical expertise and I'm doing pretty well at it, thanks very much. I have many fine and positive qualities, yet I am apparently addicted to reality television. What does this say about me as a person? How do I explain this disconnect? Doesn't the watching of reality television have a whiff of the trailer court about it--at least according to the mainstream media?

In spite of the taint, I love Survivor, Amazing Race, and American Idol. I actually watch Big Brother. (I am slightly ashamed of the last, it is just people stuck in a house together--no talent or skill involved.) In my younger years I even watched The Real World and Road Rules. (shudder) Although I try and try to limit my reality television viewing somehow new shows sneak into the line up. New shows like: Project Runway, Top Chef, Who wants to be a Food Network Star, Who wants to be a Superhero, and Design Star end up in my Tivo series record. The best I can say for myself is that at least America's Top Model, the dancing shows, and those shows with show-mances that foisted Trista and Ryan on the American viewing public have never made it onto my tv screen. Apparently I have some standards. Whew.

For those who don't watch reality television--here's my explanation of the attraction. In the smart and well-done ones (see list above) people are put into situations that bring out their best and worst sides. Under pressure and expected to navigate toward a goal using all their skills, they show us what works and doesn't work in relationships. I enjoy predicting whether their strategies will succeed or fail. I enjoy hashing over the events of the shows with my family and friends. I learn about human nature and I learn about myself while watching reality television. The infinite variety of situations and outcomes make the shows addicting. You can try to guess what will happen, you can shout at the tv to try to advise the participants, but ultimately--what happens, happens and mostly it is real life playing out.

Am I getting the WHOLE picture--heck, no--there is editing involved after all. Is it possible the producers manipulate the situations and the outcomes? Sure, I'm a cynic. I expect them to try to get the most bang for their buck. Whatever it is they are doing, however, they should keep on doing it because it works for me.

1 comment:

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