Reality Check

When it comes to tv time, I’m very particular. I tend to go through phases, based on what the networks have to offer, and where my interests lie during the new tv seasons. My leanings in general though, are towards cop and doctor dramas. Hubby and I were big into CSI and CSI: Miami a couple years back. In the past I was an avid ER fan (yes, I DID cry when the series ended. Don’t judge me). Private Practice was attempted and soon left to languish; it was wayyyy toooo sloooowww for me. But I love, love, love Grey’s Anatomy. And FYI, Scandal, which was created by Shonda Rhimes, who is also the mastermind behind Grey’s, is an awesome show. It lies in neither the cop nor doc genre but it is so well written!

For a little variety I also watch Coronation Street, which is a soap opera out of England; Dr Phil (I know, he’s a major meanie to his guests sometimes, but I can’t help it!), and a few comedies like Seinfeld and Family Guy. Stewie is my idol, jus’ sayin’.

Now, I may upset some people by going where I’m about to go, and for this I apologize in advance. A lot of people are die-hard reality show viewers but this type of programming is off my list. Many attempts have I made to try a show and stick with it, but to no avail. Big Brother, Survivor and the like were at the bottom of the pile, but I gave them a shot. No go. America’s Next Top Model had me hooked for a few seasons, but I got tired of Tyra and the constant cattiness of the models, and gave it up. From there I moved on to the performance reality shows like So You Think You Can Dance. And let me just sidebar here for a moment. It would amuse me to say the title over and over again, but with a different emphasis on the words each time, like this:

So, you think you can dance?
So you think you can dance?
So you think you can dance?
So you think you can dance?
So you think you can dance ?

Yeh, it’s silly I know but it helped fill the time during the commercials.

The X Factor, and America’s Got Talent weren’t too bad, because some of the contestants were actually very entertaining. Not to mention the heartstring twanging stories some of them had to tell. **The single mom who put all her waitressing tips towards dance lessons for her son. The husband who survived a couple of tours in Iraq: he came home to his family, but has no job and a foreclosed house. He’s hoping that his dream of being a country singer can come true and make things right again. Sad stories, of courageous people, doing whatever it takes just to have a shot at the big prize.

What’s got me in this frame of mind right now, is the ad I just saw for SYTYCD, and the joy on the participants faces who are waiting backstage to see which of the others have been chosen to move on to the next level. What strikes me about these shows is how good everyone is at acting genuine. The secret meetings to pull people into your group, and the private supportive chats in the kitchen in the middle of the night. The “I just love working with *insert name of hot guy/girl dancer*, and I would just be so DEVASTATED if they were to eliminated!” But when it’s culling time, and they drop someone’s name into the pot, when that person is voted off, when the judges press the buzzer, you can see the “oh Thank God it wasn’t me!” on the faces of the others. When the planning and scheming behind the scenes comes together, and the bitch of the group is kicked out, watch someone at the back of the breath a sigh of relief. That is the reality of reality programming. Not the supposedly unscripted conversations, not the unfiltered confessions in the closet. The real ish of a reality show is that it’s every man for himself. I get the same feeling of dread and disappointment as I did when I read Lord of the Flies during my school days. The mob mentality, the get them before they get us way of thinking is what drives the machine, but in the end there can only be one winner, right? It’s scary. To me, anyway. When I was a child I was really naive and so I just didn’t see things as they truly are. But I’m older and wiser now, and I see the writing on the wall. Because I honestly believe that art imitates life, and if that’s the case….I’m gonna watch my back.

** the scenarios depicted above are strictly ‘for instances’; I have no knowledge of any such individuals on any realty show.


About Bella

I've reached my 40's with a few battle scars, but I'm still in one piece so I guess that's something to be thankful for. Married for a long time...well, what passes for long compared to many of my other friends. Almost 20 years. 3 kids: a teen and two tweens. Heaven help me! There's a lot about me to know but I always think that others won't find me interesting, isn't that sad? Writing is my passion. It's an outlet; it's a way to filter my world and the experiences I have. Blogging was a foreign concept to me when it first came out. But I GET IT now. It's therapeutic to unload. It's fun to read about the experiences of others. This is my way of meeting and greeting, overcoming the obstacles of time and distance. My hope is that you will stop and read my blog. That you will enjoy what I have to say, and we can have a chat. You're welcome anytime!
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