Monday, February 13, 2012

R is for Reality

The subject of reality television came up today in some discussions on Twitter, and I thought - you know... I've got some pretty strong opinions on the subject... so why not let it be a post? Here's the dealio folks. I loathe reality television... say what you must, but you just don't find it on our television. The closest we come would be some of the competition shows on Food Network. (We love Chopped)

From the very beginning this hasn't been my thing, and lets be honest - it has gotten completely out of control in recent years. I mean there is a show for everything! I don't buy the whole unscripted thing either - because in all honesty if you're signing up for a show like that there are some basic truths: 1) you are likely looking for fame, 2) you're playing a part, and 3) editing is everything.

It's not truly "reality" when they tape hours and hours of footage and then clip out the boring parts. It's also not "reality" when you are fully aware that cameras are on you 24/7 and you're reacting to them. You just don't act normally. I know I don't act normally when a camera is around and I have ZERO desire to be on television.

I see this in a lot of ways as the worst of humanity being put on display for the enjoyment of others - which often is described as a "train wreck" in which you can't stop watching. Yet again, not my deal. The next closest we came was watching Deadliest Catch - which was cool for a few minutes. I'm still not sure it's truly an accurate picture of what those men go through - but it was entertaining to see into their world for a minute. It lost it's cool for us when we saw a commercial for the show and one of the guys literally looked at the camera and said, "Happy F---ing Mother's Day" - it ended right there for us. We just don't need to watch that so badly.

I'm not going to tell you that we're perfect or live in a glass house... because certainly shows like Gossip Girl, Revenge, Grey's Anatomy, and Private Practice are not fine Christian programming either - but for whatever reason... I enjoy watching a scripted show. I like the stories told by gifted writers who are truly sharing an art with us. I like getting lost in the traditional type of format where I get caught up in the character development and suspense.

If I'm going to sit down and watch something - which lets face it - these days most of my viewing on a daily basis is Baby Einstein or Sprout... I want to be entertained with a GREAT story. Even sometimes if I'm not flat exhausted... I like to be given a story that makes me think - like on The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles, Law & Order, Bones, or Without a Trace. I'm not always able to look at the blood and gore of the crime scene, but I do find the stories interesting.

I guess I come from a point of view that I've never been one to sit down and try to figure a story out before the end. I never opened the back cover and read the ending. I have always been happy to sit and go where the writer takes me - on the adventure that they lay out for their audience.

To me, reality television goes against that and is making the good scripted show have less and less air time - which makes me sad. I don't really want to see the 9,000th season of The Bachelor - haven't we been there and done that? How many times can you hear "the most dramatic rose ceremony ever" and care anything about seeing it?

To each their own, I guess - I'm grateful for the options that cable provides... I just hope that there is always a place for good story telling to be viewed on our screens along with the unscripted stuff.
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