Thanks to a screen writers strike a few years ago, the television and movie industry have found ways to get around paying for any meaningful material and have literally drowned us in constant stream of generic pap about people whose would be largely ignored (and some locked up) if they weren’t on TV. Here are a few reality shows that I can’t understand – why people watch them, why are they on TV, and why did someone think they are good programming.
Dance Moms. Why is this still on the air, and why hasn’t someone reported the dance coach to the authorities? Abby Lee Miller screams like a drill sergeant and bullies everyone around here – the girls, the moms, other coaches, fast food employees – the line doesn’t end. The girls are stressed out and devoid of a normal childhood, the moms are screaming amongst each other and Miller, and the only three types of people that care about these “contests” are relatives, judges, and creepy guys that should be in therapy or behind bars. Miller pushes shallow objectivity and forces these girls to give up compassion, happiness, and their childhood so the coach and parents can live vicariously through these kids. Shame on them and shame on us for watching it.
Hardcore Pawn. Everyone knows things are bad in Detroit, and this show reminds us over and over exactly how terrible things have gotten. Les (the owner) spends his time refereeing his two kids (Seth and Ashley) while laughing at customers when he isn’t trying pick a fight with anyone that insults his store or his kids. Ashley never misses a chance to demean anyone anytime she sees fit, and Seth has the personality of a snake oil salesman. Of course it’s staged (they call it reenactment), but painting Detroit in such a terrible light (a city which Les says he loves) pretty much guarantees that the rest of the country will not come within 100 miles of that place.
Doomsday Castle. A family is building a castle in the middle of nowhere. WTF? I learned one thing from the movie The Purge (besides the fact that it wasn’t very good) is that anyone can get anywhere with enough motivation. They try to inject some drama of increase viewership, but how can that go with just family members without it getting weird? The worst part about it is that it on the National Geographic channel – a name I want associated with some kind of intelligence. It’s truly sad when you see a company compromise they core beliefs for viewers.
Summer Camp. This one makes me want to go Lewis Black on the current state of television. This show puts a bunch of adults in a summer camp situation and has them do tasks for stuff (I think). I want calmly sit the person down who thought this was a good idea, and try to understand their thought process because I can’t figure it out. Whiny adults undercutting each other while they try to hook up – the stupidity of it makes me want to cry.
Totally Divas. This one is more of a personal nature for me. I watch wrestling (there, I said it, and they say admitting is half the battle to recovery) because I do enjoy “blood sport” from time to time but don’t want the participants to try to maliciously hurt each other (it’s complicated). The “divas” aren’t really wrestlers – their matches are mainly extra time to get a snack or go to the bathroom, and the only reason I would consider watching the show is because they are dating the biggest names in wrestling – John Cena and Daniel Bryan. I would imagine the only thing more prearranged than a wrestling match would be the story line of the show.
Of course the line doesn’t end there – close to 50% of television programming is reality shows. And although television always been referred to as the “idiot box”, television should take more of a educational and more of an emphasis on quality than to forcing us to ingest cheap, easily produced crap.