Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Down with Reality! (TV)
Recently I spent a great deal of time watching NBC’s coverage of the Olympics. It was the most time I’d spent watching network television since the last Olympics. Frankly, I hate the quality of American television, and the ads I saw in-between sports did nothing to alter my opinion.

Whatever happened to scripts? What happened to good writing, actors who get hired for their talent rather than their hair, and plots? What’s so wrong with a good plot?

And what exactly is the appeal of so-called “reality TV?” Tell me, whose reality involves being given a million dollars to live in a mansion with 50 supermodels? My reality isn’t like that.

Real reality TV would be extremely boring. One hour of watching someone grocery shop. A house full of a family doing homework and cooking dinner. That’s reality. Reality has nothing to do with eating maggots, getting engaged to a total stranger, or working for Donald Trump.

When I watch TV, I want to either be entertained or informed. Preferably both. And I see no entertainment value in reality TV. I wouldn’t want to meet these people, so why would I waste an hour of my life watching them on television? And why would I go out of my way to see obnoxious self-absorbed losers when there are so many that I can actually interact with in real life?

I want comedy that makes me laugh because the scripts and the situations are funny, not something that is billed as a comedy simply because it has a laugh-track and a lot of jokes about obnoxious kids. And I want dramas that believe there’s more to life than car-chases and emergency room scenes. I never want to hear the word “stat” again.

I have a brain. I like to use it. I presume others are also quite fond of their brains, and yet American television seems to feel otherwise. Oh sure, there are pockets of intelligent entertainment, thank god for cable, but mainstream television, frankly, sucks.

Personally, I think it’s all part of the downward spiral of American culture. Fat selfish people raising fat selfish children on a steady diet of McDonalds, SUVs, and television programs that teach people that you will be rewarded for lying and backstabbing. Wonderful. Great lessons for our kids, don’t you think.

In an era when the word “hero” has come to mean someone who gets paid $15 million to play basketball it’s no wonder that so much of our entertainment seems to be about money, sudden fame, and the rewards that come from being selfish.

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