Tag Archives: Reality TV Stars

Reality TV Shows Should Have Warning Labels

I have a confession to make.  I’m not proud of this- but maybe if I admit it here-the spell will be broken.  I watch several of the Real Housewives programs on Bravo. Not all of them- I have my limits.  I watch the Beverly Hills, Orange County and New Jersey addict- er rather, editions.

The most disturbing part is I don’t know why I find myself tuning into watch these faux reality programs. They are fake even though they feature real people in their actual homes. Beyond that to suggest many of the storylines on these shows actually happened would be ridiculous. Every week, it’s the same parade of fashionable, privileged women getting drunk, being catty and stabbing each other in the back.

Puppygate is the current “scandal” that is being exhausted on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  Allegedly, one character adopted a puppy from the rescue business of another character and Lucy Apple Juicy (great name!) ended up at a shelter.  I do not believe this happened at all.  Yet, I have watched them drag this tired storyline though all four episodes of the season so far.  It’s a seemingly endless contest of who betrayed who and who is using the situation to get back at a rival for past indiscretions. You would think I’d have something better to do with my time!

So, why do I keep tuning in? (Sigh) I’m not a psychologist but I do have a theory.  I suspect that I get a bit of kick out out of watching rich people, who seem to have every advantage imaginable, act like morons.  It doesn’t reflect well on me that I would enjoy something like that but I don’t think I am alone.  There is something reassuring about it.  You can say to yourself, “hey, just one of her kitchen cabinets is worth more than my car but at least I never sprained my ankle while drunkenly jumping into a hot tub naked!”  (Money really can’t buy you class!)

The Germans call it Schadenfreude. It’s the pleasure derived by one person from witnessing another’s misfortune.  I don’t know if Andy Cohen, the producer of these franchises realized he was tapping into this complex human emotion when he came up with the Real Housewives but he has definitely profited from it.  It sounds awful, doesn’t it? Deriving pleasure from someone else’s misfortune?

Before you judge me, let’s go back to the fact I don’t think that most of the storylines are real. In fact, when some actual reality has crept into these shows like the passing of one character’s beloved mother or the ongoing battle with heart disease that another character’s husband has been enduring, I have been genuinely moved.  I think it’s actually these unscripted situations that really keep these shows on the air. Without these poignant moments, you would be inclined to forget that you are watching real human beings at all.

Perhaps now that I have confessed my sins, I won’t be compelled to watch anymore… or maybe just one more episode…or I’ll just finish out the current season and then never watch again…

Must Presidential Hopefuls Stoop To Conquer Now?

I have never liked watching political debates. I found them annoying in past elections because candidates would rarely offer straight answers and found ways to attack their opponents on issues that weren’t even relevant to the question being asked. After I watched the first GOP debate last year, I quickly became disgusted watching and, unfortunately, listening to Donald J. Trump insult not only his opponents but moderators as well.

I stopped watching the debates after that and chose instead to seek out the highlights afterward from various news sources. After reading articles and watching clips of Thursday night’s debate, it seems clear that Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have chosen to join Trump in helping to degenerate these debates into little more than rank out sessions with the moderators acting as playground monitors. I was hard-pressed to find news content that actually focused on discussions about policies and what plans these guys would execute if they actually got into office.

What’s next? Televised “Yo Mama”-style diss sessions? Can we expect to hear things like, “Yo mama is so ugly if you became president, other countries would nuke the US, just so they don’t have to look at her.” It doesn’t seem that far-fetched compared to what these candidates are saying to and about each other. Donald J. Trump already thinks it is perfectly acceptable to refer to people as morons and losers. Marco Rubio focused a campaign speech yesterday on describing Trump getting his sweat mustache powdered during a commercial break and suggesting he may have requested a full-length mirror to “make sure his pants weren’t wet.”

I do find it somewhat ironic that Trump and Chris Christie referred to these new low blows coming from Rubio as desperate attempts to bolster a failing campaign. Considering Trump has built his entire campaign by continually showering these types of insulting remarks on his opponents, the media and anyone else he decided that he didn’t like when he had a microphone handy; what is it called in his case if not desperation? Is a lack of decorum and decency more appropriate coming from Trump because he is already a reality star?

Personally, I don’t like it coming from anyone, least of all, someone who may be the next recognized leader of the United States of America. Have we gotten so used to the horrific behavior of reality TV personalities that we not only find it acceptable but we think it is suitable and even preferred in a presidential candidate? The idea that it has somehow become necessary to stoop to Trump’s schoolyard style of attack in order to gain the attention of American citizens is utterly appalling and embarrassing.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton seem to be able to run lively and news-worthy campaigns without resorting to childish and nasty personal attacks. Why can’t the republicans? Donald J. Trump appears to be the reason. Perhaps it is not him so much as it is his marketing strategy. His team has tapped into an ugly little truth about our viewing habits. We want to be entertained all the time. Apparently, we are willing to sacrifice being informed for the sake of sating our inexhaustible desire to be constantly amused. Are we willing to deal with the consequences?


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