For years I’ve ceaselessly pondered the astounding popularity of reality TV. How can all these people watch this shit? Why do they care? What the fuck? Now back in the day, I did love me some MTV real world, but that was just my immaturity at the time. Who wouldn’t like to watch a bunch of kids my age partying half naked while being cool, hip, irrelevant smart asses? I never realized at the time, but that was the invention of reality TV. After growing out of that though, I couldn’t get it. Don’t we watch TV to escape from reality? Isn’t this defeating the whole purpose?
It’s amazing how much things change. After moving to Spain and waiting for 2 months to have internet installed I combed the web, searching for ways to download and watch the survivor and big-brother episodes I missed while in limbo. I can no longer run or hide from the truth; I am now a self confessed reality junkie.
I am not even really ashamed to admit (yes I am) that I’ve watched entire seasons of both Top Model and even Project Runway, and I’m not even gay, not that there’s anything wrong with that… but I’m not. The thing is, I’m not really big on fashion, and I couldn’t design a fucking sock. So why do I watch, why do I care? Well after some self exploration and philosophical musings that would make Nietzsche have a breakdown, I believe I’ve come to some conclusions.
I’ll try to keep these as simple as possible. I think one of the biggest reasons is that we truly miss meeting new kinds of people. As we get older we tend to become more and more isolated in our socio economic cocoons of like minded people. If you’re liberal you watch CNN, if you’re a dick you watch Fox, that kind of thing. You tend to gravitate to those that agree with you about most things. I really noticed when I first moved to the suburbs that everyone acts and reacts in the preconditioned ways in which they were raised to act or react. You hardly find genuine uniqueness anymore.
Saturday: wash the minivan, cut the grass, go to a reasonably priced chain restaurant, come home and drink 5 Budweisers. Or maybe even Heinekens.
Sunday: either attend a judeo Christian church then go out to a cheap breakfast chain, or just go to a cheap breakfast chain and bitch about the church folk making it busy. Then go home to watch the home team play whatever sport the season dictates, falling asleep on an easy chair. Real life is practically scripted with everything but the smarmy catch phrase. “Woooh,” Sorry, bit of a rant. Anyway people behave exactly how you expect them to behave in any given circumstance, and it gets really fucking boring.
It’s only when you A: put people in extraordinary/unusual situations (Survivor) , or B: when people are in front of a camera so long that they forget (Big Brother), that you can actually get a glimpse of the characteristics that make us human. Even the celebrity reality shows are enthralling because you get to watch people even more deeply entrenched in their public persona come out of their shell. Usually to disturbing and horrifying results. Well I guess you can even see that on Letterman.
For me I know I’d rather endure an obscenity laced rant from Chef Ramsey, a dick-ish Jeff Probst snuffing my torch, or even an auf wiedersehen kiss from Heidi Klum than having to sit through another conversation with some douchbag neighbor, extolling the benefits of Scott’s turf builder.
Or maybe it’s just half naked hot chicks partying.