Raise your hands if you are a fan of reality television. Come on now, raise ’em up, raise ’em up, raise ’em up now (I think that’s a verse of a Vanilla Ice song, whom by the way has his own reality show).
Don’t worry. My hand is raising the roof as we speak.
Yes. As much as I hate to admit it, I have been know to dabble in the reality show arena. I’ve watched chefs thrown down on Top Chef, I’ve been privy to dramatic table flips and botox sessions on The Real Housewives of Everywhere, I’ve seen Snookie and Paulie D fist pump and do the Jersey turnpike like the crazy (and uber tan) kids that they are and have even recently been hooked into partaking in the battle rounds with Adam, Christina, Blake, Cee Lo (and his Dr. Evil cat) on The Voice.
Tis true. I am not proud of it, but one of my guiltiest pleasures is curling up on the couch after a long day with a bowl of popcorn, some Peanut M&M’s (the secret to a great bowl of popcorn is pouring a handful–or bag–of the meltinyourmouthbutnotinyourhand candy into a freshly popped and still warm bag of popcorn, allowing the chocolate to melt and mix and get all ooey and gooey and delicisous. Salty. Sweet. Amazing.), and a DVR full of crazy reality shows.
Despite the fact that most reality shows are, well, as far from reality that one could imagine (*cough The Hills cough*–Can you believe the whole thing was SCRIPTED?! When I found out my all-time favorite show I would never admit to watching was as fake as Pamela Anderson’s bubbies, I was crushed!), they have something that draws audiences in. A lot of this power, this attraction is in fact the very un-realness, the drama and over all ridiculousness of it all. Everyday people deal with the stresses of work, of school, of life. They have real problems (unlike people such as Kirstie Alley who considers her biggest problem suffering from a wardrobe malfunction on Dancing with the Stars). These types of shows allow viewers like you and me to take a break, if only for a half an hour, and focus on something not so serious, to live vicariously through the sometimes crazy characters that are shown on our HD flatscreens.
That being said however, I think that recently, reality TV has kinda sorta gone to a whole other level. Like I said, I am a closeted fan, but lately, I think a lot of primetime programming has gone a bit too far in the characters, places and things that they showcase.
Case in point: Swamp People.
A few weeks ago, my mom came up to visit. After a full day of shopping, we came back to chilax for a bit. I can’t tell you how much shopping takes out of a person. I mean there’s the walking and carrying of all the bags. Plus the times when you have to fight off fellow shopper for the last polka dotted mini skirt. It’s rough. We were just sitting down to watch the tube, doing a bit of channel surfing (a sport I SO could go pro in by the way) when we came across this gem of a show on the History Channel. The complete obsurdity of it made us stop and watch. And stare. And gauk. During part of the show, we noticed that subtitles were displayed across the bottom of the screen, letting the views know what was being said. “Why are those there?” she asked me. It didn’t take me long to figure out why. “It’s so that people can actually understand what these people are saying.” Yes, these Swamp People were from America, not some foreign country like Germany or China, but their deep DEEP Louisianna bayoued dialect (and maybe the fact that a lot of them didn’t have any teeth) made it almost impossible to pick up what they were saying.
You’ve just got to laugh, not only because of these swampy characters, but the whole premise of the show. People. Living in a swamp. That’s it.
But it doesn’t stop there. Oh no. Not by a long shot. There are unfortunately a zany number of these types of shows, on nearly any channel at any time of the day depicting ridonkulous subject matters. There’s Toddlers in Tiaras (mini beauty queens and their crazy stage parents), I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant (oh my golly, girl who popped out a baby girl while doing squats at the gym–How did you NOT know?!), Infestation (stories of bugs and bats and icky creatures literally invading people’s homes-aka my worst nightmare), Wife Swap (husbands swapping their loony wives only to live with another loony wife for a documented period of time) and I can’t forget to mention My Crazy Obsession (the lady who is addicted to eating her finger nails or the couple who are obsessed with Cabbage Patch Kids).
And that’s only the tip of the creepy ice burg.
Oh. My. Stars.
Every once in a while I do enjoy a good Cupcake Wars or Shark Tank, but this latest crop of reality show programs have gone off the deep end. And for some strange reason, they are staying a float, even though I know for a fact that they don’t know how to swim. The reason? Plain and simple. People love the ‘shock and awe’. They enjoy watching something that is so very different from their own lives. These shows aren’t educational or have any moral lessons to be learned; they are full of fluff. There is no thinking required. This is a big reason why they are so popular. But are these shows, the current Swamp Peoples and My Crazy Obsessions of the world profiting off of simply making fun of those who are portrayed on screen? Where does society, the media mogules who control what we watch and listen to, draw the line? When is too much simply too much?
What do you guys think? Is it just a fun and silly form or entertainment? Or are these kinds of shows really just a form of ‘Makefunification’?
I’m going to seriously think about this as I sit down to watch Project Runway.
Have a great night guys!
Questions of the day:
Reality shows: Are you a fan?
What are some of your favorite reality shows?
Do you think some of these shows have gone too far?