There was a brief moment in my life when I watched reality television and sort of enjoyed it. That was back in the ‘90s and the show was “The Real World.” This was not like the “Real World” of today, with models pretending to be real people getting wasted all the time.
No, this was the early ‘90s, where the cast of the show were often repugnant looking, but had actual real problems and had to deal with a bunch of strangers in a house.
I stopped after a season or two. I usually joke to people it was the episode when the cast in San Fransisco threw out the memorable person known as Puck from the house. In reality, I hated the idea of reality TV.
Yet, others continued on, and the idea of basically unscripted programs grew into the monster it is today.
“Jersey Shore,” “16 and Pregnant” and basically 90 percent of what’s on MTV I find disturbing. I’m no moral authority by any means, but making mini-celebrities out of talentless hacks and underage moms is pretty awful, especially when your target audience is around the age of the knocked up teens on the TV screen.
Gina, my wife, made me watch “The Biggest Loser” the other night. Compared with most reality TV shows (the mocking of talentless singers on “American Idol” by talentless has-beens for instance) this show almost seemed like a positive spin on the genre. I thought this for about the first five minutes in.
Then I realized how awful these overweight people are treated by the trainers on the show. How they often treat one another also, at times, seems like it’s forced to create some sort of drama, because if you think about it, reality can be mostly boring.
Recently I purchased the new season of “Beavis and Butthead.” What I loved about the new season was that these two cartoon characters moved on from mocking terrible music videos to mocking terrible reality shows.
While watching the season, I was often shocked by the reality programs MTV thrusts upon the public. Spoiled rich kids running amok, pregnant teens, kids with embarrassing parents — it feels like the scum of society has moved on from Jerry Springer and decided to get their own shows.
It seems like few channels air programs that are written by people and performed by actors. “Breaking Bad,” “The League,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Parks and Recreation” to name a few are the grains of hope that someday may reverse my stance on not having cable TV.
Let’s hope the reality TV boom will go the way of the VCR. Obsolete.