I don’t watch reality shows unless they involve contestants who are singing, dancing, or cooking. Or possibly losing weight or designing something. The shows I avoid like the plague are the shows that cater to the lowest common denominator and our basest instincts. We’re talking shows such as Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Jersey Shore, The Real Housewives of (pick your city), Duck Dynasty, and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Add to that list the show about dating while naked. And the one about teen mothers. The list goes on and on.
Since I have never watched any of the aforementioned shows, I can’t talk in great detail about their content. I can only generalize, based on things I have read about them. But I don’t think I’m too far off the mark in saying that most of them are the equivalent of waiting for the Titanic to hit the iceberg.
The people on these shows are chosen because they can put on a show. Not, like a classy Broadway show. More like the battles in the Roman Colosseum. The people on these shows are willing to get drunk. They’re willing to curse and start fights on camera. They’re willing to show the world things about themselves that most people don’t want their closest friends to know about them.
So, is anyone really surprised when these “reality stars” implode? Do we really need to sit and wonder how this could happen? Are these people anyone’s role models? Our society as a whole has gotten baser and crasser as limits, privacy, and good taste disappear. The Internet, hundreds of TV stations willing to buy any kind of programming, cell phones, and parents who find their control and influence eroding when faced with all these challenges are the parts that add up to the whole problem. And I have no idea what the solution is, except to stop watching these train wrecks.
The latest, and in my mind, most disgusting implosion is the end of Honey Boo Boo. Not the little girl, but the whole circus surrounding her. The fact that her mother has decided it’s OK to date a convicted child molester is horrifying. To then read that this woman’s oldest daughter had been molested by this man when she was a child makes me want to throw up. And the oldest daughter says she “would feel hurt” if her mom was dating this vermin again? She goes on to add “I would not feel betrayed, but I would feel hurt.” She should feel betrayed! She should also feel furious and angry and horrified. What kind of mother would even consider dating the man who harmed her child, instead of wanting to rip his heart out? And these are just two of the people who make Heaven knows how many thousands upon thousands of dollars while appearing these shows.
I’m sorry, but maybe people who teach, or save others, or rescue animals, don’t make disgusting spectacles of themselves, and therefore don’t merit the large viewership of these shows, because no one is throwing raw meat to the lions. But surely, they deserve the recognition and monetary rewards that the saddest examples of humanity have showered upon them them for debasing themselves – and in the process those of us who watch this drek – in their desperate pursuit of celebrity.
Copyright Nancy Machlis Rechtman, all rights reserved