Around 12 years ago, someone had the innovative idea of sticking a group of strangers on a deserted island, with a limited amount of supplies, and a camera crew to follow them around. There was no script and these people just made things up as they went. The object was to be the sole survivor on the island, so each week they competed for immunity to avoid getting kicked off. Winner took home a huge sum of cash. The idea was interesting and different from anything we had ever seen before. People latched on and the ratings skyrocketed. This was the beginning of reality TV.
Since that time, reality TV show after reality TV show has cropped up with topics as diverse as, high school reunions, bad children, roommates, people who horde, relationships in trouble, people from Hollywood, people from Jersey, looking for love, dysfunctional families, hyping up stereotypes, rehab, business. The list goes on really. Even though the topics have diversified, the idea remained the same—follow people around with a camera to see what they do. Neither script nor talent need apply.
Arguably, there may be a few good shows amongst the pile. However, the majority of them have people who haven’t trained to be actors, running around doing stupid things, in ridiculous circumstances, for their five minutes of fame. And we continue to support these shows by watching them. Sadly, the more ludicrous the antics, the higher the ratings.
It’s hard to understand for sure, but maybe it’s that train-wreck mentality where we simply can’t look away. At any rate, so many of these people have zero accountability and a personal favorite was when a couple had the audacity to blame Hollywood for all the irrational things they did and money they wasted. Really?
The results—undoubtedly lowering our IQ, saying it’s okay to do stupid things because it’s on TV therefore there won’t be any consequences and it’s even more difficult for those with talent and a strong work ethic to get work because they don’t currently fit the reality TV show market.
What’s also sad is those who were once on TV and are no longer a hot commodity are a being advised to get onto a reality TV show to try to make a comeback. Here’s a crazy idea—why not instead develop an actual TV show that showcases their talent instead of us seeing them get wasted?
Further, these shows are saturating the market and creating more challenges for well-written shows with a script, plot and good actors to get any airtime. The reason is because they are appealing to TV producers and executives. They take a fraction of the time to make and the opportunity to cast those without talent translates to more bang for their buck. In the event that one of the shows doesn’t catch on, it’s no big deal because they have only sunk the equivalent of lunch money into it and can quickly move onto the next thing.
So, they next time you complain there is nothing but crap on TV, turn the channel away from reality TV. If we all watch and support them, creators will continue to churn them out and they will stay indefinitely. And I for one really don’t need to see any more d-bags who get insanely drunk and think it’s cool to punch women for the camera.
Reality TV is staged, edited and only slightly more “real” than wrestling.