Sick of Reality TV
June 29, 2016
Filed In: Philosophy
Television programming has the unique ability to bring people together. Perusing Twitter after an episode of “The Bachelor” or checking out the blogs after an explosive episode of any popular show gives one the sense of just how transcendent it can be. One of the more popular genres of television programming in the past decade has been the rise of so-called “Reality TV.” The thing is, none of it is real, and I’m sick of it.
Entertainment is meant to be a form of escapism, removing us from the cares and concerns of our current state in life and, for a time, immersing us in someone else’s story. The best storytellers are those who are authentic, relatable, and believable, traits that are conspicuously missing from Reality TV. As humans, we crave connection and authenticity, so being manipulated by a set of writers or editors is a truly revolting experience.
The problem with Reality TV is that the scripting is so invasive that it prevents anything real from transpiring. Characters, whom we’re supposed to believe are opening their lives up to us, are instead just character actors. They play a part and not necessarily the person that they truly are. This is antithetical to the premise of the programming. Even if characters are given leeway to be themselves, in post-production, the editors and producers cherry pick clips in order to fit their narrative. All that remains is a story so divorced from reality that it bears no merit.
This is a problem in almost all programming today. Competition shows, lifestyle shows, and even entrepreneurial shows have fallen victim to this plague. What’s left is what’s sure to be known as the “Missing Era,” a period of time in which there was no substantive contribution to the art of entertainment. In 20 years TV Land will still be showing “The Andy Griffith Show” and “I Love Lucy." Programming from days gone by will endure because they were what they represented themselves to be: fiction. What we have today is heavily scripted programming masquerading as reality.
The solution is to change our demands in programming, but this is a large ship to turn. We collectively get what we crave, which is why family programming has been squeezed out by racy, borderline pornographic storylines. As with anything else, effecting this change will take us individually refusing to tune in or click on those shows which are devoid of any value: entertainment or otherwise.