Reality TV-land

Posted: May 31, 2013 in Uncategorized
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It seems that modern society loves to witness success and failure on equal levels.  Take for instance the train wrecks and rags-to-riches stories in the Reality TV world. There’s the “good, bad and ugly” in this world. The “bad and ugly” includes shows visually documenting everything from pregnant dating moms to well-known people melting down in rehab. The list of reality shows depicting humiliation and disrespect  goes on and on with conceited CEOs firing would-be apprentices to real housewives beating up on each other. If that isn’t enough, millions also enjoy watching family dysfunction combined with a healthy dose of narcissism in Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Dating programs have been taken to a new level with The Bachelor, in which single women vie to snag one lonely, rich arrogant male who is probably sorry he got roped into the show in the first place. Of course there’s a reversal program titled The Bachelorette.

Competition programs sprouted up with the countless Survivor series to The Amazing Race and back over to Project Runway.  We must not forget the plethora of cooking competition shows especially with” Master Humiliator” Chef Gordon Ramsey, who like his biting The X-Factor counterpart, Simon Cowell, who would probably say they are just “keeping it real” and “supplying tough love.” Perhaps that view is true since thousands of folks wish to become a pop star, actor or famous chef/successful popular restaurateur — which means that they need someone like Mr. Cowell or Mr. Ramsey to provide the “raw truth.” Thus, millions somehow find pleasure in watching a contestant receive a dose of reality while crushing their dreams. Now comes the “good” in Reality TV-land. Those humiliating moments on those competition shows are balanced out with those who reach success. We witness those positive moments on American Idol , The Voice, America’s Got Talent  and X-Factor.

There are a few golden nuggets out of the Reality TV bunch such as A&E’s Duck Dynasty. Perhaps there are scores of viewers who love to laugh at the very southern Robertson family and their self-described “redneck ways,” but it is the Robertson family who gets the last laugh. The rugged Louisiana individualists struck it big with their hard work ethic to build a successful business.  In addition to those facts, the Robertsons are truly lovable as well as inspirational.

In the past few years, reality programs have been produced showcasing those with afflictions like hoarding. Just like watching a train wreck, millions of viewers flock to witness how hoarders have let their lives get so out of control that they cannot get to their commodes or kitchens. Certainly viewers gasp in awe while thinking that, “Hey, my life could be a heckuva lot worse.”

The one program that has an impact with me is Extreme Couponing. Folks who appear on that program collect coupons to reduce their grocery bills. Saving money is a great thing, especially with coupons. I do my best to apply coupons as do countless consumers across this country. The problem with extreme couponing is that it does not work unless the consumer buys items in bulk. Thusly, “extreme couponers” buy enough toilet paper to supply a few armies,  500 bottles of window cleaner and about 100 cans of pork and beans to make the multiple coupons come out in their favor.  Certainly bulking up on supplies is a great thing, especially in emergencies, but methinks that the “extreme couponers” have different goals in mind, but I’m not sure just what those very goals could be at the moment. Furthermore, the problem is that something like the pork and beans or cases of Ramen noodles will eventually expire.  I confess that I view this program for the fact that the “extreme couponers” are well organized. “Extreme couponers” do not hoard their coupons or goods. They have their systems down to a science with catalogued coupon books and shelving in their basements so that items can be easily found.

The possibilities with Reality TV are endless. Cable outlets’ schedules are quite packed with these shows and there is a certain channel completely dedicated to them. So, humans enjoy the train wreck factor, but they also like the success stories as well. Balance is the key. 

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Comments
  1. Have you noticed that a lot of the extreme couponers eat too much? What is the point of that?

    My fav is Pawn Stars, though you have to view it understanding that it is not total reality and is part scripted.

    Recently NGC has a show called, “Polygamy USA.” It covers some fundie Mormons who honestly believe that polygamy is necessary for salvation. No other religion has ever taught such a thing. The show is clearly a PR campaign to show the “good side” of polygamy to gain social acceptance. If we re-define marriage in this country, you really cannot tell Mormons and Muslims that they cannot have multiple wives. So much for the inroads feminism has made for women.

    But my girls and I enjoy the show and, like any art, it spurs discussion.

    I have also seen wife swap, which my girls like to watch. They put such extreme moms on there the girls are relieved to have such a great and balanced mom like me! Worth watching just for that, but some of the scenes are quite frontal and ackward.

    Do you think the era of reality TV will die or will it be a permanent part of the menu, like situation comedies?

    And by the way, give me re-runs of I Love Lucy any day!!!

    • I saw one of the polygamy shows. That program is both eye-opening & disturbing. It is amazing to see how those people are economically clueless. Yes, the pawn programs are quite entertaining.

      I think it will be quite some time before the genre slows down or burns out. There are still many opportunities to produce more programming.

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