Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Reality TV

Let me just say that I have a real love-hate relationship with reality TV and frankly with TV in general. As a weirdo child, my parents had strict TV rules: no TV at all during the week (weekends were our only TV time). And when we were allowed to watch, what we watched was closely monitored, like excessively. I remember getting in trouble for watching Beverly Hills 90210 and even My So Called Life. My mom actually told me she didn't like the way the Claire Danes character talked to her mother :)

This is all kind of hilarious to me now since my parents have a billion channels and could care less what programming anyone watches. Sigh.

After declaring independence at the age of 19 and moving into a dank and weird apartment for old people and super ghetto white T folks, I quickly learned that I couldn't afford cable even if I wanted it. Hell, I barely afford to bathe every day. I swear to god, my boyfriend and I used to take baths together to conserve water. Gross and wrong.

But yeah. I actually think when we first moved into the apartment we had no bed, no couch, no working TV. So we became anti-TV, partly out of necessity, and partly to feel superior to everyone else we knew :)

And you know what? I really didn't miss it that much. After a hard day of work or school, instead of collapsing on the couch and watching the boob tube, I collapsed onto our hot pink bean bag chair and played guitar or worked on a home-project like covering all our ugly old cabinets with pages from a 60's science book.

Fast forward to today: I still have never bought cable since moving out on my own. Although, I do get several channels from the whole digital TV thing. Without having all the really good channels to watch shows like Weeds and Breaking Bad and so on (I can always Netflix them!) I have been forced to occasionally (ok, all the time) indulge in some TV bottom-feeding. I have gotten hooked on watching BS reality TV. Of course I try to always watch with an heir of superiority--"can you believe she's wearing that?" "why would she expect to find a husband out of these knuckleheads", etc., it speaks to me.

I conducted research in college on how reality TV skews our view of reality. But it's so true.
Anyways, the whole reason for this post was that my parents were over the other night and the TV was on. I've recently noticed that every time they watch TV now, they both constantly comment on the believability or "realism" if you will, of the shows. They are especially fond of doing this with cop shows, but any show will do. They watch and say things like, "oh, I'm really sure the crime scene investigators would also be the ones conducting the interviews". And I'm thinking--we all know this is fake right? I mean, I highly doubt the entire CSI team in Florida is comprised of super good-looking sexy scientist/cops too, but we all know that right? Now I'm noticing that they do it all the time, with practically every show. As if the purpose of TV-- reality show or no--was to simply capture the true, everyday lives and work processes we all experience.

Thank goodness we have people like the Bachelorette and Big Brother to remind us that no one wants to see "reality" when they turn on the tube. I wouldn't watch a show about a girl in her late-twenties who works 40 hours a week at a boring job for which she is grossly underpaid, then goes home and plays with her baby. And occasionally does something fun. Would you?

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