December 4, 2014

The Abyss

I think that reality TV is akin to the formation of the first labour unions. It was a good idea in theory but it just got out of hand. I truly find all reality television cringeworthy and simply unwatchable. Clearly however I'm in the minority because someone's watching - otherwise new series would simply not be produced.

I have several issues with reality TV. First, there's nothing "real" about it. Most people know that but still look the other way and turn off their brain. Ok, I'll give them that - everyone needs an escape. Second, each new wave of shows is derivative of the last, and as we enter the umpteenth year of reality tv shows, they've become increasingly cross-bred and mutated. In short, if we started with Brad Pitt, we're now the mountain men in Deliverance.

But one key aspect of the popularity is that people who watch feel inherently superior to the jackasses who sign up to be filmed on these shows. They'll think: Oh my god that guy's a crazy hoarder - I'm better than him. Wow those people are redneck white trash, unlike myself. A lot of people will say reality tv is terrible, but they are in fact contributing to more terribleness since they continue to watch, driving new productions.

So, all to say that while flipping around television, I came across a new low, or a new high, depending on your perspective. We've now entered the era where we're creeping into the exploitation of religious traditions, and that can be perilous. See, this show is about people in a neighbourhood who compete to have the most kick ass Christmas decorations. This also ties nicely into the whole suburban upper middle class bullshit associated with keeping up with the Joneses.

Honestly, I could barely watch a minute of this trype before wanting to pull out my eyes. Now I know Christmas is something that's completely exploited for commercial gain, which has been going on since forever. But the point is that this new niche has opened the door. What's next? A show where Jews try to out-Jew each other? Or maybe two black families compete to see who's blacker, complete with underlying tension associated with the fact that one family has lighter skin. Using the religious angle could be going down a very dangerous road - don't we already have enough crackpots in that arena?

This week on NBC - "Who Can Live Like A Slave?"

So, when pointing fingers about societal woes, be careful about blaming things like movies or violent video games. In fact, although Canada is a comparitively peaceful country, an already low rate of violence is now at it's lowest in many years. Instead, perhaps look at things in the media that may subtlely suggest conflict, division and a sense of superiority over others.

Like reality television.

1 comment:

  1. Are there any reality shows that actually don't suck? I'd be interested to know. I only watch Joel Osteen.