What's So Real About Reality TV? But some are "personal growth" shows By David Leonhardt
Those people who defend intrusive presence of a television in private homes always seem to cite "educational value" as its redeeming grace.
They mention documentaries they watch all time...which explains why The Feeding Habits of Gray-haired Stork broke all Nielsen ratings records last month.
They mention news programs they watch nightly...which explains why they have "intellectual" discussions about chimp who drove a little car at charity circus last week.
They mention all arts programs, such as symphony orchestra that played them to sleep last night.
Amazingly, they do not mention latest phenomenon -- "reality TV". What is so real about reality TV? Put 20 people on an island and tell them to live off land as if they were all on their own. Yeah, like that's real!
But wait, there's more. Make them vote somebody off island each day, so that there are fewer people to help community survive. Brilliant survival strategy.
Or set them up in teams to play "survival games". That will leave them a lot of energy for survival. I'll bet tigers and hyenas and alligators salivate to see so much fresh meet wasting so much energy on such trivial activities. They could not have come up with a better meat-farming plan if they tried.
To make it even more real, all participants are brought in front of camera to comment on each other and deliver a psychological assessment of their experiences. Lights. Camera. Psychology. That's real.
I suppose we would not want a reality TV show that was TOO real. Imagine turning on TV and seeing real life.
"Hey, honey. Check out what's on TV."
"What is it, dear."
"Somebody washing dishes."
"Don't they ever wash their clothes?"
"NO, just dishes."
"Well sooner or later they'll have to wash their clothes. What does TV guide say?"
People would probably rather watch other people marrying millionaires than have to face fact that they could enjoy their own lives without having to marry one themselves.