Saturday, November 28, 2009

Must the Show Go On?

You know, I swear to Christ, between Jon and Kate, the Octomom, those clowns the Heenes and their "Balloon Boy" and now these people -- a couple trying out for Bravo's The Real Housewives of D.C. who somehow managed to crash last week's White House state dinner -- just how much more is it going to take for America as a country to finally make the intelligent decision to ban reality TV altogether?

As cynical as I can be, I've always believed that if left to their own devices most people will generally -- though certainly not always -- do the right thing. And if they don't, there are usually enough of us around willing to either ostracize or kick the living crap out them until civilized society's demands are made crystal clear. But somehow reality television upset this delicate balance because watching the megalomaniacal human train wrecks eager to do anything -- seriously, anything -- for 15 minutes of fame is just too obsessively mesmerizing for anyone to stop what's become an ongoing, nonstop cycle of narcissistic self-expression and shameless self-indulgence.

So really, it might be time for some Benevolent Dictator at the top of the network or governmental totem pole to ban this vacuous horseshit outright -- before somebody shoots up a nursery school as a pitch for a potential new show on VH1 called The Flavor of Death.

Of course that would mean we'd likewise have to clamp down on the supposedly respectable news media that's also more than happy to create and perpetuate pseudo-celebrities. Things could get complicated.

Well, look -- if we are going to continue giving the thumbs-up to the cultural virus known as reality TV, might I at least suggest that on the next season of Survivor, we strand the White House Secret Service on an island somewhere?


Todd said...

Now, I detest reality tv for the most part (ok, I'm partial to The Next Iron Chef... I know, I know...) but really? You of all people should know that it's the *expense* of regular programming that's forced this tripe on us... The need for more and more hours vs. the cost has put us in this spot. The only way to put an end to it is for people to stop watching. The money follows the eyeballs.

Chez said...

Oh, believe me -- I know. Reality TV is cheap, mindless programming. It's pabulum in every sense of the word.

As much as I'm kind of kidding, I really can't help but feel that -- as with the Romans and their bloody gladiator fights at the Coliseum -- this crap is just another sign of the end of the empire.

Anonymous said...

Simple solution: don't watch TV.

Erik said...

Memo to passengers of the Titanic - Simple solution: don't watch the iceberg.

If you think, by not watching TV, you become magically not affected by the (arguably invariably detrimental) effects it has on our culture, then the one thing that is clear is that you have been watching too much TV. In that case, you are in need of more reality check and less reality TV.

Welcome to the systemic Real World(TM), where things happen that affect you even if you don't pay attention, care about them or believe in them.

Todd said...

I think you're right, Chez... it's another sign. We become unwilling victims of the lowest common denominator.

Cunty McCuntypants said...

The problem is people living with the fucking TV on. I cut all signal coming into my house in 1999 when I found myself watching mindless shit because, well, I had to watch something for that half hour between the two other mindless sitcoms I watched.

I rent what looks good. Watching TV is now an active, not passive waste of time. It now completely weirds me out that you go into peoples houses and the TV always has to be on. It just has to. My god, people, really?

It shocks me to see what shows and insane commercials are out there. It's nice to be tuned of that. I am one of the few people on earth who can say things like "I've never heard Paris Hilton speak" and "no, I haven't seen that commercial with the (insert alleged cleverness here)".

Anonymous said...

Please Chez tell me the difference between reality TV bullcrap and making TV stars out of people who read the fucking news. Seriously who gets the bigger billboard in Times Square? Who is doing the bigger stunt/PR/book release to get noticed by the other media people? Cause if you stop one you HAVE to stop the other.

Chez said...

You won't hear any argument from me, Anon.

lakelady said...

I just love the recursive loop of reading about the evils of narcissistic self-expression and shameless self-indulgence on a blog. Thanks for making me smile this morning Chez

kanye said...

Just to add to your Roman Empire reference: At the time of the downfall, the two most-attended public events were the gladiators and the chariot races.

Currently our most attended public events are professional wrestling and NASCAR.

So, yeah...we're pretty much swirlin' the bowl.

Chez said...

Another satisfied customer.

Anon said...

There are a few, very few, honest-to-God gems within Reality TV, but it's produced by channels such as Discovery, History, etc.

Personally, the only show I watch is Mythbusters, because it's not just explosions, but explosions for science.
(Unlike that hack, Michael Bay)

But you're right with regards to the majority of Reality TV, Chez. It's the end-of-the-empire.

Izar Talon said...

The only thing on TV anymore that I have ANY interest in watching anymore is The Venture Brothers (and seriously, if you aren't watching this show YOU SHOULD BE.)

Yup. The only good thing on TV anymore is a cartoon. (Albeit the funniest damn cartoon ever made.)

dgh said...

Check this out: Better Living through Reality TV: Television and Post-Welfare Citizenship.

I guess we should all be trying to crash White House parties to improve our station in life.