Reality Television. For starters, that name is a complete misnomer. The reality is completely fabricated, and simulated. Simply because “real” people are involved, not celebrities, it becomes reality. Bullshit. You think those people on Survivor are in that much dire peril? Yeah, right, whenever anyone on that show gets remotely in trouble, they cart them out so fast it makes your head spin.

Who survives?  Who gives a fuck?

Who survives? Who gives a fuck?

Basically, reality TV is really complicated season long game shows. And we’re eating it up. Why? Because you don’t have to think, plus there’s an element of living vicariously involved. Especially with the high stakes. You can win a ton of cash for partaking in this crap, so that’s a big appeal for sure. But not all of it’s the game show types. There’s the more traditional stuff, the more “educational” type stuff that’s always been around. You know, like cooking shows, home improvement shows, etc. They’ve simply twisted them a bit, given them a hook, and mass produced them. Or stolen them from the U.K. Whichever. I don’t mind those so much (in fact I really like MythBusters). I save my vitriol for the glorified game shows.

I also have a hard time liking these shows because of the saturation. Really good shows have died a quick death these past six years because the American viewing public wanted more reality TV. One comes immediately mind in the recent past: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Sure, it probably had more issues than simply a clamor for more reality TV, but I have to believe that if networks weren’t so obsessed with pandering to the least common denominator TV viewer, they’d have given shows like this more of a chance.

Heck, S60 coined a great term for reality TV that I use often now: Illiterate Programming. I have a feeling they knew what they were up against and Sorkin wrote as many shots in against reality TV as he could. There sure were a lot of shots taken, and I loved every one of them.

I hate reality TV. Hate it. Survivor? Let’s have a before island show, and an after island show.  Don’t put any damn cameras on the island, put these people on the island by themselves.  See who actually survives. Fear Factor? No comment. Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire, except he’s not really a Millionaire, fooled you? Suck it.  And those are the “classics.”  Some of the more recent ones are even more IQ reducing.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand mindless entertainment.  I understand the appeal, the psychology behind it, all of that.  But I’m sorry, fuck Reality TV and the horse it rode in on.

I wonder if Stephen King gloats that he called this so so many years ago with “The Running Man”? I bet he does. And more power to him.

PS:  I cheated a bit.  I actually wrote this for some other site and simply updated it.  But I wanted to contribute this week, and I saw some new Illiterate Programming ad last night that really irked me.

PPS:  Later today at www.bartraeke.com I’m going to be a shameless fundraiser…for myself.  Well, for my soon to be arriving baby.  If you’re feeling charitable, stop by and check it out.  😉

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