Wednesday, March 26, 2014

False Sense of Reality...

The Facts

Reality shows are taking over. She likes them. He doesn't.

His Side

Let’s be honest, reality TV is the worst thing that has happened to television ever. First of all, the name is misleading:  it’s nothing like reality. Secondly, it is a major cause of why people are getting more and more into our culture of celebrity worship. People care way too much about what rich and famous people do in their lives and don’t make an effort to improve their own. And that brings me to my third point about reality TV... it has made ‘being famous’ a profession. Used to, you’d have to have some sort of talent, create something, make a bunch of money in business, or have done something worthwhile to become famous. Now, there’s the Kardashians. That’s an entire family that only exists in the public eye because we, as a society, are addicted to celebrities. It wouldn’t surprise me if some people care more about the birth of North West (the most ridiculous name ever) than the birth of their best friend’s child. That’s sad!

My issues with reality TV go beyond the fact that it breeds a brainless culture that cares more about the “Real Housewives” (some of which aren’t even married) than their own neighbors. I, as a writer, have a problem with it because all of these ridiculous shows take air time which could be used to show a written TV show that would employ writers like me. I am not ignorant, so I’m aware that reality TV is written as well. Did you know that? There are reality TV writers... does your real life have a writer? No? Then this concept of reality show writers doesn’t sound very realistic to me. I’ve never been in a writer’s room for a reality show, but I can’t imagine there is a lot of creativity going on in there compared to the writer’s room for something like “Saturday Night Live”. As a sidenote, I would consider “SNL” more based in reality than reality shows because it spoofs real life as it happens. It doesn’t create scenarios in ‘real life’ that will draw an audience.

It just makes me sad that shows like “Scrubs” and “Seinfeld” are no more and nothing has really been created since then that can compare. There are still shows on TV that have strong writing and acting with engrossing stories, but they are falling to the wayside to make room for “My Five Wives” (which is exactly the same as “Sister Wives” and is even ON THE SAME CHANNEL). Most of the new shows, unless they are cop dramas, fail in their first few seasons because everyone is too busy watching “Teen Mom 2” (which is just sad because these kids have no chance of growing up and being normal). “Big Bang Theory” was renewed for 3 more seasons. “American Horror Story” is about to start it’s 4th season. “Archer” is in it’s 5th season and has been picked up for two more. These types of shows are sticking around because they have a proven following. “The Following,” “The Blacklist,” and other relatively new shows are surviving for now. But, as the months and next few years go by, unfortunately, I believe that more and more fiction shows will get cancelled and more ‘reality’ shows will be picked up. It’s the sad state of television today, but we are letting it happen by tuning in to “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” each week.

Some reality shows are entertaining, though. “Million Dollar Listing:  Los Angeles” is fun mainly because of the amazing homes and condos that you get to see. I actually look forward to watching “Duck Dynasty,” although this season has been weak in my opinion. But it is usually funny and it has a good message. Even that one, though, seems very put on at times. I don’t mind “Millionaire Matchmaker,” “90 Day Fiance,” “Catfish” and a few others, but I still would rather flip it to a show with characters and an actual script.

I imagine that I have learned to kind of like some of these shows because either my wife, or our celebrity obsessed culture is rubbing off on me... I can handle the first choice but I sincerely hope it’s not the second choice.

Her Side

I have a guilty pleasure and it’s reality TV. I don’t really discriminate between the shows, although I do enjoy certain ones over others. But, if it falls within the reality TV category, I’ve probably watched it. A few of my favorites are as follows but not limited to:  "Duck Dynasty," "Millionaire Matchmaker," "The Real Housewives of (pick your favorite city)," "90 Day Fiance," "Sister Wives," and "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo." I know what you’re thinking. How in the world does she keep up with all of these shows? Well, wonder no more because I don’t keep up with all of them! That’s the beauty of reality TV. You can miss a number of episodes in any given season and still have an idea of what’s going on because… (drum roll please) they don’t follow a strict story line.

There is an oddly satisfying feeling that I get when I watch these shows. Now, before you go judging any of my aforementioned selections, let me explain why I like a few of them. While watching “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” I’m sure the feeling is similar to that of seeing a car wreck. You really don’t want to look and you know you shouldn’t because you are driving, after all, but you just can’t help but stare in shock at what has unfolded in front of your eyes. I mean, when a family makes “spaghetti sauce” out of ketchup and butter, you can’t help but wonder what they are going to pull out of their sleeve for their next crowd stunner. “Duck Dynasty” is a 180 degree turn from the former. It has substance and a lesson to be learned in every episode. It’s a feel good show with morals and, while I’ve never gone duck hunting in my life (and honestly probably never will because…ew, blood!), I can relate to their family. Somewhere in the middle of those two sits my personal favorite - “The Real Housewives of (insert your favorite city)”. I will admit that I watch at least a few minutes of this particular show most days, but that’s not because I’m obsessed. It’s completely the show's fault as they cover around 6 different cities and are constantly showing reruns. It is normally 10 minutes into the show that my husband walks in door from work and the channel is changed to something we both enjoy.

This is probably an appropriate time to mention that he hates reality TV, and in particular “The Real Housewives”. I get it, though. It’s a show about rich women, who foster insincere friendships. They fight and make catty remarks to one another constantly. I can’t help but laugh when the ladies get mad at one another for not inviting the other to afternoon tea…because who even cares about that! There is zero substance to this show, and that’s part of the allure for me. That reason, coupled with the fact that there is no real script or storyline is precisely why my husband hates these shows so much.

Before you go thinking I’m crazy, let me explain why I’m drawn to this style of television. I like it for the sheer fact that it takes no amount of effort to watch and I don’t have to follow any kind of story. When I’m watching TV, I generally don’t want to think about it, I want to be entertained. Well, reality TV fits the criteria for me, especially after a long day at work where my brain has likely turned into mush. It’s almost like a reset button for the brain… a time where my brain is still on and functioning, but it is operating at the bare minimum. Perfection!

I will absolutely give Nolan credit for how he deals with his reality TV watching wife. He sits and watches many of these shows with me with minimal complaining because he knows I like them. He doesn’t, however, pay attention to them (which is crazy to me since they are so entertaining!). He, instead, can be found browsing Facebook or Twitter on his phone. I guess the sheer fact that he exposes himself to a type of show that he dislikes so much must mean it’s true love!

We'd love for you to tell us your favorite TV show, reality or otherwise! Let us know in the comments below!

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