Friday, September 9, 2011

Reality (?) TV

I have a small confession to make.  I enjoy Reality Competition shows.  This summer I am watching Project Runway, Big Brother (for the first time), Wipeout (SO FUNNY) and Top Chef Desserts.  Pretty much ANY food competition- from Iron Chef to Chopped to Food Network Challenge and Food Network Star- we will watch.  During the "regular" season I watch Survivor, Top Chef and occasionally Design Star.  

I also watch some of the...less competitive shows- What Not to Wear, Celebrity Rehab (It's a train wreck I can't stop looking at), Inside the Actor's Studio, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, DietTribe, Ghost Hunters, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, Tabatha's Salon Takeover- you get the idea.  

That said- I feel that "reality" tv has gone too far.  I speak specifically of Toddlers and Tiaras.  There is a big controversy about this show at the moment.  One of the "parents" (and I use that term loosely) dressed her 3 year old in the same "costume" as Julia Roberts wore as a hooker in Pretty Woman.  Her defense to the controversy is "It's not like she's pushing the child into sports where she could get injured".  My two cents on this is very simple- and has not changed due to the controversy.  I feel that this show is nothing more than a parade of small children for pedophiles to get their jollies from.  I pretty much loathe everything it stands for.  I cannot believe that it is still on the air.  

I don't come into this based on news reports and such, I have actually sat through a few episodes in order to form my own opinion.  What I saw made me ill.  I saw "mothers"-and I put that in quotations because I have seen pro sports coaches who were easier on their players- who tarted these little girls up with fake tans, fake teeth (seriously?  Flippers because a child had the nerve to lose a tooth?), hair extensions and more makeup than I wear in a year.  I saw them teaching them to "walk sexy" and "flirt with the judges".  I saw them blow off their other kids because they were too busy coaching the little one.  I saw several of them literally spending their last dime on formal wear for their 3 -7 year old and deny their other children.  I saw them yelling and screaming  at one another and their children who had the nerve to get tired waiting around or not win.  That was just the parents.  

The kids were a whole different story.  Spoiled, obnoxious and bratty are the best way I can describe their behaviour.  I saw them kicking, hitting, biting and screaming at their parents.  I saw them behaving the same way with their siblings.  I saw them pulling the whole "mean girl" thing on one another while the parents encouraged it.  I saw them throw their things around and have hissy fits like I have never seen before because they were told "no".  Their whole lives are wrapped up in what titles and trophies they win.  How can any of this be healthy?  These children are taught that they are to focus on their looks and can get away with anything as long as they perform on cue.  

I feel like this show, and Jersey Shore (never seen it and won't watch) and the Real Housewives (seen it and won't watch) shows and the like are nothing more than rewarding people for bad behaviour.  The more obnoxious these people are- the better the shows do and the more attention the shows get.  I just don't understand that.  Now- Survivor has had a few of these obnoxious cast members- and while watching I hoped for them to be voted off every single week.  I don't think that behaving like an ass needs to be glorified.  I was SO disappointed that Survivor brought *Russell* back season after season.  It's not cute, it's not funny and to keep rewarding someone for being a jerk is not a good message to send.  

So if you watch any of these shows on a regular basis- please share with me what the appeal is for you.  I just don't get it.  


deb aka murphthesurf said...

I don't get it either. But I tend to not watch reality tv that much except for the cooking shows and the antique hunting shows and buried alive once in a great while (that one depresses me too much). I say email the advertisers on the shows you don't like and tell them yu will not be buying their products if they continue to advertise on these types of shows. Advertiser dollars is what drives these shows to stay on the air. If the shows loose the advertisers, they will no longer stay on the air. It is as simple as that. And if you think that just not watching the show will keep them off the air..nope. Too often there is a perverse fascination with these types of characters on tv. Sad but true.

Unknown said...

When exactly did TLC drop the Learning part of the name? There is no educational value in prostituting young children and their abusive parents. It would be better if they showed child services in the wings ready to intervene. I pretty much stopped watching TLC because of this show. Perhaps I should contact the advertisers. By the same token I've never watched DWTS but I might this season just to support Chaz Bono since so many people are being so hateful about his being on the show.

I don't watch much reality TV but I do love the cooking competitions. A new favorite of mine is Carson Nation on own. He travels to different cities and makes over people who really need it. But he does it in a compassionate and real way that they totally miss on What Not to Wear.

Jules said...

I love CarsonNation! I love just what you said- his compassion. I also loved him on "How to look good naked".

Deb- I hear there is another show that is almost as pathetic in terms of the parents and stuff. Something about dancing-also on TLC.

After this post- I also caught words about the show Teen Mom on MTV. I have never seen it- it's in my periphery much like Jersey Shore. I hate that MTV- which I remember the very first broadcast and was SO excited that we had a 24 hour music channel- has become this over the years.