Friday, October 9, 2009

Reality Check

When I was nine or ten, I would sneak out of bed at night to watch episodes of The Real World on MTV. I didn’t understand the dynamics of the group, the drama that ensued, or why they were so often naked, but I was fascinated.

Since then, reality TV (especially on MTV) has mostly turned to crap. No longer innovative, it’s the same premise over and again: real people placed in ridiculous situations who react in surprisingly predictable ways. Or worse: real people placed in mundane situations who are just as boring as they were before the camera turned on.

Don’t get me wrong, not every reality TV show running now is horrible. American Idol has its merits in spite of Ryan Seacrest’s smarmy grin. Occasionally, there is a legitimate social experiment (Dating in the Dark), which, unfortunately, only succeeds in telling us what we already know (we’re all incredibly shallow). Despite the absurdity of shows like Survivor and Fear Factor, the contestants have genuinely earned their 15 minutes. And Tyra Banks is cheesy, and her models aren’t too bright, but I still like America’s Next Top Model.

However, there are shows that actually manage to inspire. I’m a sucker for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. It’s that whole triumph-of-the-human-spirit thing that makes me watch whenever I need a good cry. Little People, Big World had the same effect. And John & Kate. Before.

My real problem lies with shows like Laguna Beach and The Hills. I can’t comprehend why so many highly intelligent people enjoy watching the escapades of the truly simple-minded. Some say it makes them feel smarter in comparison. Others genuinely care about Lauren Conrad’s problems (note: not the highly intelligent ones). And in truth, I probably wouldn’t care either way except for the fact that boring narcissists like Spencer and Heidi Pratt get paid for their arrogance, ignorance, and immaturity. They claim to be devout Christians, but I’m fairly certain God’s not listening to their prayers.

I don’t know what the future holds for reality TV, if it will go from bad to worse, or if it will actually make us think like sociologists. I just hope to God Paris Hilton finds a friend.

--Yaa Kumah '12


Anonymous said...

prattle on.

ashleyriley said...

Most of them becomes celebrities because of these kind of reality shows.Even am a great fan of Lauren Conrad.Lauren "LC" Conrad (THE HILLS) with Lauren Slater (KOOZA ICON) promoting the upcoming Cirque du Soleil show in Santa Monica.

Anonymous said...

i've never been a big one for most reality shows, and it's for the very reasons that you bring up. not only are so many, well, boring, but another large portion is downright sick to watch. who knew people could do things like that?

but the ones i looooove are the ones you do. who knew people could do GOOD things like that? the "whole triumph-of-the-human-spirit thing" gets me every time, too

'09 said...

Ranting about reality shows is hardly creative or innovative.

I'd rather see an exploration of how reality tv has influenced scripted tv (notice the increasing trend in "documentary-style" filming and "realistic" characters.