Do I want my reality t.v.

Photo by Joshua Gosser
Linda Cortez - Photo by Mike Haynes

Reality television, lowering the bar on entertainment

Opinion By Kathryn Strong

Reality TV isn’t my reality. I’m sure it isn’t your reality either, but as a society, we continue to indulge in “reality” t.v. I don’t get it.

The numbers of reality programs have flooded network and cable stations. It is practically impossible to skim through the channels and not hit one of these shows.

The fact is, I don’t G.T.L. (gym, tan, laundry) in that order.

I am not a “real housewife” with money to blow, and I would never live in a house with 20 other women and compete for one man. Most importantly, I wouldn’t under any circumstance kiss Flavor Flav. I’m sure the majority of you agree with me.

I understand that people relate to reality TV stars because they are non-celebrities. That gives us a connection to them because they are normal like us, but it isn’t normal to walk around naked in front of strangers on an island like first-season Survivor: Borneo winner Richard Hatch.

I fear that most people think it is real, and that the behavior they see on Jersey Shore and Real World is acceptable.

Those programs desensitize the moral standards of the viewers. Behavior that is appalling becomes acceptable because real people are doing it on TV. Such behavior will spill over into our lives.

These programs will affect how people deal with situations and interact with one another. It is natural for people to mimic the stars they enjoy watching, and that is scary because one Snooki is enough for the whole world.

The reality is that reality programming is affecting our society, and I believe in a negative way.

Many of these programs entertain by exploiting, humiliating, criticizing and outcasting the reality stars. Even worse, we are entertained by the embarrassment, sadness, frustration, depression, anger and emptiness the reality stars feel.

What does this say about us? The backbiting and manipulation seen on reality TV shouldn’t become acceptable.

We are a nation that opposes bullying, but every week on Hell’s Kitchen, Chef Ramsay yells obscenities at some young aspiring chef in front of millions.

Here’s my dilemma: I love TV. I miss traditional programs. I miss shows where skilled, trained actors and actresses performed with the intention of entertaining. In those programs, I knew they were fiction but was able to believe anything was possible.

I think it is time for us to get up and open our eyes. The reality we should be enjoying is all around us.


Originally published: Wednesday, September 7, 2011

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