Is This Our Reality?

I never realized how much our general population enjoys a good train wreck. As much as we say we turn away and try to shield our eyes, many still enjoy the drama. How else to explain the popularity of some reality shows?

I try to imagine someone sitting around their office or at home playing with their kids and thinking, I’m going to create a show where I place a man and a women in a dangerous, isolated jungle somewhere without any food or water for 21 days and see if they can survive the elements. Oh, and I’m going to make sure they’re completely naked during their time together. Then, I’ll get really creative with the title and call the show, Naked and Afraid.
Nine seasons running with Emmy nominations.

Then there was that person who thought, I’m going to ask a guy who is not married if he wants to meet twenty or thirty women, get to know them, romance them, share intimate moments with them and God knows what else, all while being filmed, in the hopes of meeting his future wife. I’m going to call this show, The Bachelor. It’ll be easy to find these guys and apparently easier to find a large pool of women who are willing to be jilted each week, participate in catfights, compromise themselves, all on camera,  with the hope of finding a husband. And fame, of course. This show is so successful it’s been on for twenty-three seasons and had several spinoffs including The Bachelorette, (of course), Bachelor Pad, Bachelor in Paradise, After Paradise, and The Bachelor Winter Games. (Really)

Or maybe I’ll find some rich women who are apparently bored with their money and families and ask them if they want to document their lives with other rich and bored housewives  in front of television cameras. I’ll tell them that it’s okay to be as bitchy and selfish as they want, expose their impressionable children to this type of environment and their lives to scandal and scrutiny because really, at the end of the day they have more money than they need and it really doesn’t matter what anyone watching thinks. They can care less. They’re only interested in showing off their wealth and “good side.” Just show me the money because I can never have enough of that. Let’s see, this show will start  in Orange County, (because why not), then go to New York City, New Jersey, D.C., Beverly Hills, Miami, Potomac and Dallas.
Since train wrecks are not just popular in this country Housewives was also created for Athens, Vancouver, Melbourne, Los Angeles (in French), Cheshire, Auckland, Sydney Toronto, Hungary and South Africa.

Of course there’s also Jersey Shore, Temptation Island, Love Island, Here comes Honey Boo Boo, The Kardashians, and a host of others including your favorite and mine, The Apprentice, where careers go to die.

I know if I ever chose to get into a discussion with anyone about these train wrecks I would hear about the social understanding they derive from watching, how it helps them understand what makes people and relationships tick and survive. Yeah. To that I say, blah, blah, blah.

I’d stay longer, give you more examples and try to explain the strangeness of the public’s fascination with these shows but I’ve only been writing for a short period of time and I feel like I need to take a shower and take out the garbage.

I know I probably offended some people who enjoy these shows and I know you’re probably waiting for me to say I’m sorry but there is something caught in my throat.

 

 

61 thoughts on “Is This Our Reality?

  1. Na'ama Yehuda

    FWIW, I never understood the allure of these shows and didn’t actually know the names of some of them or that they’d been running for quite so long. I assume that prurient interest drives some people to get themselves immersed in other people’s intimate dramas that way. To me, it never held much but a sense of sadness. I don’t enjoy being privy to other people’s pain, especially not when it is prompted, goaded, created, and elicited for drama’s sake. Not my thing, so I don’t think I’d seen even one full episode of those.
    I guess I’m not a huge TV watcher, though I do enjoy sort of ‘reality TV’ shows like “The Incredible Dr. Pol” and “Dr.K’s Exotic Animal ER” — where dedicated teams of Veterinarians and their staff work hard to help suffering animals and to show kindness to the owners, all while allowing people to learn about all manner of animals and issues and prevention and good animal husbandry and a whole lot of compassion besides.
    Perhaps it is all about priorities.
    Na’ama

    Liked by 1 person

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      1. Na'ama Yehuda

        Exactly.
        I never really could understand the fascination with watching deliberate machinations of causing people pain then reclining in gratuitous delight to observe, mock, and judge their reactions. Life’s full of all manner of drama without manufacturing more of it for the prurient interest of others. Then again, it seems that many are drawn to exactly that. I am not sure why. All I know is that I’m a not.
        And … I know I’m not alone in that …

        Liked by 1 person

  2. DailyMusings

    This made me laugh George. All so true. I used to watch the Real Housewives of NYC because I found Bethenny Frankel to be hilarious- especially the older episodes years ago. But after a while it just got boring and redundant. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills traveled to exotic places I would never get to, so I enjoyed seeing Dubai and far away places. But then I got bored. The Real Housewives of Cheshire were unlike anything or anyone I had ever seen before- a window into a place I never even knew existed- but then I got bored. I have given them all up and now stick mostly to Prime Video series & HBO & Showtime. Presently I am taking a trip down memory lane and watching The Sopranos- it’s been 25 years and I don’t remember most of the episodes, though I did watch them all when they were first released.

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Lynn

    Let me know if you need a hand taking out that garbage! No offence here, happy to say can’t stand any of these shows & honestly can’t understand the fascination with them🤨

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Ilona Elliott

    I share your bafflement. Quite frankly, I find that the majority of television programming is crap. Even a lot of so called science and history programming has taken on some of the same flavor of reality TV. It’s offensive to me as a thinking human being that so many people find it entertaining.

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. Sorryless

    Amen!

    I once wrote a post in which I poked fun (slammed) The Bachelor, and one of my readers suggested I watch it before making such a judgement. Of course, I might have listed everything I would RATHER do. But the list would have been endless.

    The fascination with becoming a faux celebrity by appearing on these shows would’ve had Warhol saying “Told you so”. And the term “Reality TV” is incorrect. Because as soon as a person KNOWS they are going to be on camera, it’s not the same thing as reality. At all.

    Loved this one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. George Post author

      I have to tell you, if I were a woman I’d feel as if The Bachelor set the women’s movement back a hundred years. Men determining if a woman is worthy based on the garbage that goes on in those shows? It’s degrading, at least IMHO.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  6. Pamela Read

    Hahah. YOU ARE SO RIGHT! Those shows are so far from reality that it’s a joke. Reality is the thousands of children who are starving. I don’t see that as being great TV but they could certainly use the money more than those insufferable housewives. I’m just saying…

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. thechickengrandma

    Preach it George!!! I have a feeling this is why my husband and I watch a lot of PBS, Andy Griffeth reruns. Whatever happened to a good clean comedy show where men were men, women were women and the kids respected their parents and got into kid size trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. murisopsis

    I suppose I’m one of the minority in that I think I saw 2 episodes of Survivor the first season and never watched again. I haven’t seen any of them and I don’t think I’m missing anything! Too busy living my own reality to spend time watching someone else!

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. Almost Iowa

    One cannot understand people unless they understand why people watch these shows which is why I will never understand people.

    A more important question: does anyone understand the people who buy Cubic zirconia jewelry on the Home Shopping Network?

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Helen Devries

      I have a friend in the U.K. who can’t sleep and turns on the TV in the dark watches of the night. His theory is that the shopping channels are a vicious circle…a man comes hime bluitered from the pub, gets his ears chewed off by his wife, has to sleep on the sofa but can’t sleep as he needs to pee, given his earlier activities, turns on the TV, catches a shopping channel, has brainwave…please the wife by buying her tatty jewellery. Said tatty jewellery arrives, gets his ears chewed off by his wife, goes back to the pub…and so it goes on.

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  10. Ann Coleman

    I couldn’t agree more! Not only do I not understand the attraction of these shows, but I actually think they are dangerous, because they encourage the general public to regard other people’s suffering as a form of entertainment. (Face it, the more humiliated, rejected, and angry people are on the show, the more popular the show is. Don’t forget Jerry Springer and that whole line of reality TV either.) It’s not even “reality.” It’s just abuse, pure and simple. And we wonder why bullying is such a problem with children….they are seeing their parents watch and enjoy these programs, and are learning from them. I used to wonder what attracted those huge crowds back in Roman days to watch people fight to the death, or get eaten by lions. Now I know: the dark side of human nature was being pandered to, just as it is now.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. George Post author

      You’re absolutely right, Ann. The dark side of human nature has an attraction for people that is just inexplicable to the rationale mind. I’ll never understand why someone’s embarrassment or degradation is entertaining to some. And how can women, who are already at a disadvantage in this society, agree to allow themselves to be used in this way. I just don’t get it.

      Liked by 1 person

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  11. LA

    I must admit I am not a fan of reality shows. I don’t understand how someone could seek notoriety so much that they must go one one of these. Though, I will admit that I love the cooking competition shows.

    Liked by 1 person

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  12. Book Club Mom

    Believe it or not, I’ve never watched these shows. I don’t understand the fascination with them, and it carries over to the news too. I prefer to stay in the fiction realm!

    Like

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