By Travis Vermulm
In the early 90’s a television show release on MTV; this show was called “The Real World”. “The Real World” put a group of real people into a house to live together in various different cities. It was an interesting concept and something that had never really been done before, and it was called “reality television”. “The Real World” was a huge success and started a trend in television that would grow beyond anything anyone could imagine.
Today our channels on TV are overrun by “reality television”. At first it wasn’t too much of a problem. There were specific channels that broadcast the shows and the rest of the channels just stayed with normal sitcoms, dramas, documentaries, and various other series. I never have liked reality shows, but at least in their early life they did not bleed into the parts of television that I frequently watch.
The time has come though where every channel has decided that the only way to make money is to have at least two reality television series’. Have any of you watched the HISTORY CHANNEL lately? (Rhetorical question of course) If you have you may have noticed that there really isn’t a whole lot of “history” on the channel. Ironic, I know, but the normal documentaries and educational TV shows have been replaced with shows like “Moonshiners”, “Duck Dynasty”, “Alaska Gold”, and “Amish Mafia”. The show justifies this change by claiming it is “history in the making”, but really it isn’t.
The thing about reality television is that, again ironically, it isn’t “real” at all. Don’t believe me? Go watch a series called “Harvest”. It was broadcasted for two seasons and was cancelled because it got no views. After you watch that show, go to any of the many farmers around the state of Montana and ask them about the show; you will get a pretty good opinion on reality shows. Still not convinced? What if I told you that I knew five people on that show? (I do) What if I also told you that three of these five people I knew are from my hometown of Cut Bank? (they are) And finally, what if I told you that those three people told me that on the show: fights were staged to cause drama; most of the landscape and storm shots were filmed in different states with harsher weather conditions to cause drama, the people who were the main focus of the show were often given scripts. Sound like reality to you?
Our brains are being polluted with “The Kardashians”, “Honey-Boo-Boo”, “Duck Dynasty”, and even “Survivor”. I mean we literally have a show where people from America go and “survive” somewhere that people actually live in every single day and fight for. “The Kardashians” got famous because of their rich father and Kim’s not-so-clean videotape. “Honey-Boo-Boo” is actually a spin off from a little kids pageant show (which is bad enough) but it displays the life of a child who treats her mother with no respect and seems to exhibit no intelligence. “Duck Dynasty” is the best of all of these and even it plays on our love for seeing other people do stupid things.
Reality television is staged, worse than that it is smarter than we think it is. The producers of these shows know what their audiences want. The audiences want to laugh at other people and pass it off as “just a show” so they don’t feel guilty about it in the morning. Tell me what is funny about a person singing terribly on American Idol while the judges scorn him/her? Do you realize that behind that person in line is a much larger group of very talented individuals who won’t even get to see the TV broadcast judges because there are about three other panels of judges that determine whether or not a person will appeal to the nation of people watching?
It ruins the idea of entertainment, it represents the unkind nature of so many people these days, and it brainwashes us to forget our own intelligence for the sake of a cheap laugh. If I had to pick the one thing I hate the most about this decade that I was born into this would be my pick. Reality television needs to end, now.