Tube Watch – Reality TV Returns to Rot Your Brain

by alphamonkey on January 16, 2007 · 12 comments

in Uncategorized

Just last fall the networks pushed out a large dose of new dramas, situational comedies, sitcoms, and action shows, bringing new and old stars back to the small screen.  Four months later we’re stuck in the dead of winter and some of those shows have found critical praise, some have found audiences, and some have gotten the axe.  To fill in the gaps the networks have decided to bring back more “Reality” TV.

Longtime RazorFine readers know my stance on “Reality” TV – I believe it’s one of the first signs of the apocalypse.  Last week’s premiere of Armed & Famous and now tonight’s return of American Idol show, sadly, that the “Reality” TV beast has yet to be slain and has returned from the wilderness to attack our village again.

Why do I hate “Reality” TV?  Why would I rather sit through a Paulie Shore movie marathon, watch Jean Claude VanDamme perform a one-man Hamlet, or watch the Duff sisters argue the philosophy of SpongeBob SquarePants, than watch a single moment?  Well, let me spell out for you my reasons…

1. It’s NOT reality: When was the last time a girl jumped at the chance to marry a complete stranger who would also be wooing a dozen other girls at the same time (The Bachelor)?  How about the chance to compete with other complete strangers to win the hand of a fake-millionaire (Joe Millionaire) or a creepy one (Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire)?  How much to live in a house with strangers and compete in idiotic contests (The Real World) or travel across the country and compete in pointless tasks (Road Rules, The Great Race)?  Aside from these contrived set-ups, that make recent romantic comedy flicks seem plausible, the shows are often staged, the environment is strictly controlled, the “performers” are coached, and scenes are shot, re-shot, dramatized, and edited to manipulate the “reality” of the situations (Laguna Beach, Survivor, The Restaurant, The Hills, and others).  And does anybody else have a problem with the hypocrasy of the contestants of shows like Survivor struggling to fend for themselves in front of a camera crew with hourly breaks at the Kraft service table?

2. It creates talent-less Game Shows and/or are voyeuristic bores: Most of “Reality” TV shows are set around the chance to win a prize, not by performing athletic or intellectual feats but by showing how far you will go to humiliate yourself or others.  Is this the only “talent” Americans have left?  See, that’s not reality – that’s a Game Show.  The remaining “Reality TV shows that aren’t structured around competition involve a group of random people, who would never room together, being put together and encouraged to act out and perform for the cameras.  I often think of these as monkeys in a cage shows since the “stars” spend time locked up yelling, jumping up and down, and throwing feces at each other.  Often these show promise surprise twists or the possibility of scandal (yeah right, on network TV?) in order to entice and lure viewers, but the result is more often snooze-inducing than titillating.

3. It rewards mediocrity: Who are the stars of “Reality” TV?  Jessica Simpson, Nick Lashey, Bob Saget (America’s Funniest Home Videos) and Kelly Clarkson.  ‘nuff said.

4. It’s mean-spirited: Want to see couples broken up and relationships and lives ruined for your amusement (Temptation Island)?  Want see parents conspire to break-up their child’s relationship in an attempt to run and/or ruin their life (Parental Control)?  Want to see people get fired and voted off in tears (The Apprentice, Survivor, Big Brother, and others)?  Want to see how stupid celebrities really are and how incapable they are of living in mainstream America (The Anna Nicole Show, The Girls Next Door, The Simple Life, The Surreal Life, Flavor of Love, and others)?  These shows are purposely cruel because that’s what sells.  Do you know when the ratings of American Idol hit their peak?  It’s not the finals, it’s the first episodes of each season where talentless “singers” are brought in to make fools of themselves in front of millions.  Why?  They obviously aren’t good enough to compete, so why show these scenes if the true reason for the show is to discover raw and undeveloped talent?  Because the real purpse isn’t to find or create a good singer, but to humiliate all but the most talented hack from the mediocre talent pool they are able to draw from – to the unending cheers of American audiences.

4. It promotes the idea that debasement is worth five minutes of fame: How much money will I need to offer you to eat these worms (Fear Factor)?  How much to stuff you in a phone booth with ugly naked people (Distraction)?  Want to watch women compete to be as slutty and skanky as possible to win the favor of a complete loser they wouldn’t give the time of day if there wasn’t a camera around (Elimidate)?  Shred your decency and pride to be humiliated for 15 minutes on camera and a check, well damn where can I sign up!  Wow, the American Dream certainly has fallen far in my lifetime.

5. It preys on the worst of humanity: Current American culture runs on the principle that any publicity, even bad publicity, is good for you.  People want fame and are willing to do whatever humiliating behavior it takes to get themselves a tiny slice.  Sadly “Reality” TV is a perfect vehicle to use the worst of America for amusement of the dumbest of America.

Family Note: What I find truely sad about this is families often watch “Reality” TV together believing it is cleaner than other network television programming.  I think you might want to rethink the messages that are be delivered – human life and decency are commodities, people getting humiliated is fun, and if all you have to do to sacrifice for a little fame is give up your good taste and a small part of your soul well that’s not really so bad.

Final Note: “Reality” TV is a boring, pointless, and self-debasing medium that has nothing to do with art and no more entertainment value than your average cock fight.  TV execs love it because it’s cheap and audiences crave it like crack because it feeds our darkest desires.  It hurts the collective consciousness with every humiliation and every viewing.  And it will rot your brain if you let it.  Take a look at the pictures to the right.  To paraphrase a anti-drug commericial of my youth, the top is your brain, the bottom is your brain on “Reality” TV.  Any questions?

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  • elkciN

    I agree whole-heartedly with everything you just said, except for the snap at ‘Distraction’. I don’t consider that a ‘Reality’ show so much as an ‘actual’ game show. Plus, it’s funny to see people get shocked with electricity, only to watch their prizes get destroyed in the final round.

    Other than that, everything you said is gospel, my friend. I watch very little on television: Adult Swim, Daily Show/Colbert, Discovery Channel, Sportscenter in the Morning, and Scrubs whenever it’s on, which is nearly always, basically just spiced with random shit. (I’m not going to list every show I watch).

    Everyone I know who watches reality shows gets a good slap to the face. Seriously, if you want ‘real’ reality, turn off the TV and go outside. There is nothing ‘real’ whatsoever about any of these shows. I’d go so far as to say that the ‘actual’ shows on TV are for more ‘real’. At least sometimes the fictional stories have some sort of relaton to real life. In ‘reality’ you can’t get a job that pays $1,000,000 for staying in a house for 2 months, and you can’t make money for eating worms.

    Oh, and American Idol, please stop. Everytime I hear that it’s the most watched television program ever, I die a little inside. Is the world really so easily amused? Isn’t the fad over yet? Please say it will be soon. It confuses me sometimes, how people are so easily herded. I seriously cannot point out one positive aspect of ‘reality’ television. We’re all going to drown in a sea of stupidity one day.

  • elkciN

    Oh, while I’m on the subject: Deal or No Deal. Seriously people, it’s fucking GUESSING NUMBERS. There are millions of people that are homeless, thousands of diseases to cure, and we, as a society, are giving away millions of dollars for GUESSING NUMBERS.

    I’d abbreviate it, but it deserves to be written out. What the fuck?

  • Cataclysma

    I concur 100%

  • Gigantor

    Wow, talk about getting all bent out of shape over nothing.

    And as usual, you manage to distort/lie/get the facts wrong.


    Laguna Beach and The Hills aren’t reality shows and have never been promoted as such. They are soap operas for teens and this is well documented and known throughout the industry and the country, but you choose to lie about them and claim they are something they have never tried to be.


    Really classy.

    Y’know what really comes across in your post, besides the smug ”Look how much of a cool hipster I’m trying to be, which is nothing more then a pathetic cry for attention asshole that you truly are?

    The jealousy.

    For some reason that I can’t even begin to fathom, you are jealous of everyone who is on tv, either on a reality show or a comedy/drama/news/sports etc.

    As for you elkciN, you proudly claim that Everyone I know who watches reality Tv gets a good slap to the face. Seriously.

    Everyone, huh?

    Including your parents and your girlfriend. In fact I bet you really love slapping your girlfriend around, dontcha? You even set things up so that the tv will be preset to a channel that’s showing a reality show so that when she turns it on you can run shrieking into the room and slap that bitch hard enough to make her nose bleed.


    Oh, and as for your claim that there are millions of homeless people and thousands of diseases to be cured, and yet we are giving away millions of of dollars on Deal or No Deal, so fucking what?

    First off, millions and millions of dollars haven’t been given away on that show. I doubt they’ve given more then $3,000,000 total since the show first aired.

    As for the homeless people, if we divided up that $3,000,000 evenly among the millions of homeless people you claim are out there, each individual would probably get .50 at most.

    Gee, that’s really going to turn their life around.


    As for the thousands of diseases you claim are out there, yet more lies.

    How do you know there are thousands? Precisely how many diseases are there? You are such a moron that you don’t even know that several diseases are what help to keep your utterly ignorant girlfriend abusing body alive, which ain’t a good thing.

  • Thundarr (Alan Rapp)

    Guess I hit a nerve, huh?

    First off since the creators, cast, and crew have gone on record stating that Laguna Beach is a soap opera designed around the real life of it’s star, and the show captures the real events as they follow the girl around (even going so far to re-shoot scenes the cameras miss), and since (check on each one for the link) IMDB,, and Wikipedia all define the show as “reality” TV, I think I’m pretty safe to include it here.  If you’re counting that’s Thundarr 1, Gigantor 0. (And seriously, how small is your penis to need that ID?  Do you own a Hummer?)

    Second off, you didn’t refute any of my points about “Reality” TV so I’ll assume you agree with them and accept them as fact.  Thundarr 2, Tiny 0

    And finally, if you think I’m jealous of these shows you’re even more delusional that your average “Reality” TV fanatic.  I’m not jealous – I think these shows are harmful to both the people who humiliate themselves on air and those who take pleasure in that humiliation.  Jealous?  Yeah, I’m as jealous of them as I am of people who die in plane wrecks.  Thundarr 3, Itsty-Bitsy 0

    Get a freakin’ clue dude, or even better put the remote down from watching the “real” lives of others and get one of your own.  Thundarr 4, Penis Envy 0.

  • Gigantor

    Wikipedia is not a valid site for anything, therefore one can only conclude that your further blatherings are also just bullshit and lies.

    Oh, elkciN, you bleat that I’m not very bright while screaming on and on and on about how much money Deal Or No Deal gives money away needlessly.

    Which proves two things beyond a doubt.

    1) You’re an ignorant ‘tard.

    2) You’re a gutter scumhound who doesn’t give a fuck about anyone except themself.

    How the fuck do you know that the people on Deal Or No Deal don’t need the money? After all, you claim never to haver watched the show.

    And as far as wasting money needlessly, when you bleat and shriek endlessly about shows like Deal Or No Deal, you’re screeching and pointing fingers in the wrong direction.

    Deal Or No Deal’s production costs are jack shit, something like $250,000 per episode.

    Take any sitcom and the production costs including salaries for all involved are a minimum of $9,000,000 per episode.

    Take any tv drama and the production costs including salaries are a minimum of $15,000,000 per episode.

    Which proves that you’re an ignorant fucktard.

    Suck it.

  • Cataclysma

    “2) You’re a gutter scumhound who doesn’t give a fuck about anyone except themself.”

    dude…it’s just reality tv, relax. A person is entitled to their opinion, rather than shit your pants in anger, just move on. You’re not going to change Thundarr, or mine, or anyone who hates reality television’s mind.

    MOVE ON.  tongue laugh

  • elkciN

    Woo! I’ve a gutter slum hound, and a scumhound hipster doofus mook, all in one day. And it isn’t over yet. EBD (I know it’s you, because the odds of three people with single-didgit IQs posting on the same page are astronomical.) You sir, are an extremely unique form of stupid. And to be sure we’re straight, I’m not calling you stupid because you like reality TV, or because we have different opions. I’m calling you stupid because you are, in fact, stupid.

    I’m just trying to get his goat, and hopefully hit the fabled ‘scumhound’ trifecta. Maybe throw a ‘douchebag’ in there for old times sake EBD?

  • .alphamonkey.

    I must salute you, as you’ve given me the title to my eventual autobiography: “Shit Your Pants In Anger”.

    Fucking BRILLIANT. Thank you.

  • Cataclysma

    *tips hat*

  • elkciN

    Wow. Do you have any concept of conversational speaking, where-in everything said isn’t supposed to be taken literally? I’m not quoting exact numbers, and I’m definately would never slap anyone for watching a television show. (btw, for the record, the punctuation after Seriously is a comma. Read a book somtime.) Maybe your just used to that kind of ‘drama’ in your ‘reality’.

    Furthermore, Deal or No Deal isn’t the only show giving money away needlessly.

    I don’t have much else to say to you, since you don’t seem to be very bright.

  • cailtin

    woo, i feel alive!! you have all made my position paper on the ‘reality’ of reality tv so much more pleasurable to write. bravo!!

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