I had forgotten how much I used to enjoy TV before work crushed my soul and ate my, as of yet unborn, children.
Then I remembered that during the mid 2000’s, TV made a brief watchability comeback of sorts, though now I see that not only did we revert to square one, we’ve already packed away the pieces.
I started watching TV again… I mean really watching instead of leaving it on in the background while snorting emails and shaking my fist in delirium at the invisible code-monkey-demons hovering over my over-caffeinated head, secretly inserting bugs into my work. I finally thought about what it was that made me so irritated about TV and started paying attention to find the cause. This was only a slightly less traumatic and pointless experience than self-trepination.
Reality TV — otherwise known as a compendium of caustic, cacophonous, kaka — at first didn’t seem to be the boob tube equivalent of herpes that it has now become. Practically every channel short of the shopping channels and public/gov access have some variety of faux reality entertainment contracted, I imagine, due to the shuffling of execs from network to network and copycat behavior.
See kids? Always use a condom.
I couldn’t have had this realization about TV had I not been outside the country for a while, thereby completely extricating myself from loop. The damage we’re doing to ourselves by watching this drivel rarely makes itself obvious until you stop the unprotected channel to channel voyeuristic promiscuity and take a good hard look at yourself. And then it hits you :
What really grates me is not only the sheer breath and depth of damage done to sane entertainment by this invasive species, but the idea that blithering idiocy, conformity and mediocrity are now the food pyramid for the daily TV diet. We have actually been trained to expect entertainment in the same format over and over and over.
We have shows like Style TV’s (a channel I know painfully well thanks to my ex) How do I look; a show that, if you’re a viewer like me, would seem to declare in no uncertain terms that your uniqueness and individuality are verboten in civilized society with all the delicacy of a steel-toed boot to the testicles. I’m all for not looking like a freak in front of people, but there’s a limit to how much of a cookie-cutter-Barbie you can turn a women into.
Speaking of conformity (conspiracy hat on), I think the Barbies are eventually destined to be fed into the commercial machine to become money mills at some future date so the entertainment can continue. How else would we have a show like Millionaire Matchmaker on Bravo exist? A show that makes me seriously consider whether I would really want to wake up next to some of the featured clients or rather have a steaming hot bowl of yak dung and vodka for breakfast.
BTW… I was told by a number of people that Bravo, which is now officially reality TV central and caters a sizable gay demographic, has a reputation for “converting” straight people to homosexuality and I say that’s a load of BS. I was visiting a friend who’s an avid fan of the network and he had it on the entire time I was there. The only time it would have even remotely turned me gay was when I briefly wondered if hemlock suppositories existed and whether they would be a less painful alternative to the slow suicide I was experiencing at the time. The only watchable show on the network now is Inside the Actors Studio, and even that’s a stretch considering some of the guests as of late.
I could go on to the Real Housewives of XXX or Jerseylicious but I’d rather not risk dying yet from the inevitable aneurism.
Then there’s the self-help malarkey : I.E. Supernanny. Here’s the gist of the Supernanny guide (this is basically every episode and I’m not even kidding) :
- Calm assertive authority
- Be consistent
- Instill discipline
- Employ manners
- Avoid laziness
If not for the last two, this show could have essentially been re-titled the Child Whisperer, but that would have been creepy. Besides, I imagine the term would have already been copyrighted by now for Hollywood to tell the Jerry Sandusky story.
Reality TV should technically only be palatable if you’re suffering from a legitimate condition such as depression or OCD or as comfort food for morons or just schadenfreude. But thanks to the never-ending marathon assault on our sense of taste by constant exposure, it looks like we’re being mutated into target demographics.
I think that should cover my brief examination of what’s killing TV and our sanity for now; also it’s 5:45 AM and it’s time for me to go to bed.