I abhor reality T.V. Let me qualify that…I abhor MOST reality T.V. I guess I have to acknowledge a small guilty pleasure called Top Chef. Also, I used to like Cops before my opinion of the legal justice system changed.
And I should probably qualify with the fact that a friend of mine starred on a Showtime reality show…did a fine job in fact and actually managed to keep his show out of the business of exploitation. I also know people in my community who have been contestants on reality shows, as well as an ex-neighbor that works on them. OK, let’s just admit that if these things continue, we will all know someone in this industry…the industry of the lowest common denominator.
As Bill Clinton said, it’s all in the arithmetic. The cost of producing the average, or even the above average reality show is significantly less than the traditional sitcom or network drama. Significantly. And a successful one will widen the profit margin for the investors ten-fold. There is no question that it’s a great business model.
Here’s what’s not so great in some of the most egregious shows: exploiting the desire for fame, the fifteen minute syndrome if you will, of uneducated or unfortunate human beings willing to be exploited for a few laughs…or a few moments of drama. Yep, let’s eat some more disgusting bugs, let’s throw another glass of champagne on another equally exploited silicone sister, let’s allow our personal lives to become tabloid fodder while our real lives fall apart.
Network executives have an unending stream of people willing to be exploited, to be shamed, to be humiliated. It’s really hard for me to watch…sad people seeking fame and fortune by creating for the viewer the ultimate voyeuristic fantasy…
“Rollerball” and “Hunger Games” are closer than we think. The Mayan Calendar has nothing on the destruction we can bring upon ourselves. If we continue to devalue and destroy the human soul of our fellows, we ultimately devalue and destroy our own. And then it just becomes a matter of time until “Russian Roulette” hosted by Ryan Seacrest tops the Nielsens.
Think I’m crazy? Keep watching to find out…