Remember the good ol’ days of scripted TV? You know, back when CBS had to shell out $1 million an episode for Ray Romano to give us a few chuckles. Back when anniversary dinners and little-league games were missed thanks to the latest episode of “Dallas.” Back when television studios actually tried.Nowadays, television is saturated with a parasitic phenomenon that threatens to draw us away from the more important things in life and make our nation more stupid as a result.
Like it or not, reality TV has taken our lives by storm in this decade, and its grip just keeps getting firmer.
I know this “anti-reality” argument has been used before, but has anyone ever objectively analyzed the crap the networks shove down our throats every night? Well, today I’ll try.
First, let’s examine the concept of the reality TV show.
Did the marketing department at your favorite network invent it in order to give you a new and exciting viewing experience? Heck no. It’s all about the money.
Throwing a bunch of people on an island and making them compete for a million bucks is a lot cheaper than paying Tim Allen to grunt, blow stuff up and insult his portly sidekick Al.
I know reality TV draws a lot of viewers based on the so-called “unpredictable” and “spontaneous” nature of the show, but I’m starting to have my doubts. As insane as the people on these shows seem, there’s no way a group of people could live in such a state of constant discord without a little creative scripting.
Rude remarks and piercing insults always seem to be followed by a stare down of the cameraman who is in a seemingly perfect position to capture it.
As time trudges on, the ideas for these shows have become increasingly more idiotic and formulaic.
At least ABC’s “The Bachelor,” a show where a host of lovely ladies compete for the affection of an attractive man, was an original premise. But VH1’s “Flavor of Love” isn’t. The show has a group of attractive women compete for the heart of a rapper who looks like an earthworm. This practice of “concept snatching” is prevalent in today’s reality scene, as every new series seems to be a regurgitation of an older one.
Now let’s examine why we watch reality shows.
Since I don’t have the resources to conduct a Gallup poll, I’ll just have to make an educated guess.
I’m pretty sure anyone in this country will tell you they love reality TV because of the fights. That’s right, everybody loves a good conflict; however, that poses an interesting quandary.
Since most forms of recreation are of vicarious escapism (men watch pro sports and wish they were playing, and women go shopping and wish they had a wardrobe full of designer clothes), why do we want to watch people yell and scream and physically harm each other?
If you’re looking for a fight, just wear the wrong colors on the wrong side of town. That’s sure to bring a little confrontation. You catch my drift?
While reality TV is fascinating, it clogs our TVs with junk that isn’t worth watching. If we could get rid of this obsession with reality shows, television networks would be forced to put a little more creative thought into what they produce.
The result would be more good shows such as “Lost” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
What have we got to lose?
David Hall is a freshman news-editorial journalism major from Kingwood. His column appears every Tuesday and Friday.