Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Reality of Reality...

What is our fascination with reality TV? More specifically, what is the fascination that makes us tune in time after time to watch a bunch of women compete for the affections of some eligible bachelor? Now, there are a lot of things that are easy draws…cat fights, hot tubs, flowers…then you get to the end and have exotic locations, pretty dresses and… big earrings. What’s not to love? Really, I still can’t quite put my finger on it.

So, the more I thought about it I started to think that maybe it was the promise of what the show holds - the promise of a fairy tale, happy ending. Is it the promise that the “right girl” is going to win in the end and she’s going to get the man of her dreams? But I don’t think it’s that either…cause reality TV history says something totally different:

So, if the Biggest Loser has a better track record at love than the love show-of-all-shows, then just about everything I said above is completely debunked. Truth be told, there are no pretty dresses, diamonds or hot tubs on The Biggest Loser. Regardless, for some strange reason at the end of every Bachelor season we all tune in – even those of us who didn’t watch one episode prior!

OK, I do have a confession. I really only watched so that I could see the new competitors on the upcoming Dancing with the Stars! Keep in mind, I don’t really watch DWTS either…go figure. Earlier in the day I saw the internet rumors that Kate Gosselin and Shannen Doherty were going to be doing the Merengue and the Cha Cha. The reality TV junkie in me had found her next fix. Oh, but was I even remotely prepared for the amazing surprise that awaited me…NIECY NASH. MMMMMHMMM, it was like my Birthday…oh the FOOLISHNESS!! I am giddy. I may wear my flower in my hair tomorrow as a celebration. The printer has the order for my TEAM NIECY velour sweat suit!

Now, if you are staring at your screen going, “who the heck is Niecy Nash?”, then you need to check out this YouTube video reel with some of her highlights. Personal favorite – at about 2:47 she shows up back stage at a Kimora Lee Simons fashion show during Fashion Week…with a box of Dunkin Donuts!

All joking aside, reality TV has really changed the way that we as American’s not only watch TV, but it has changed our perception of celebrity. Think about it, not too long ago, celebrities were the people who sang, danced, acted or were great athletes.
“It's a rather astonishing change in the way we regard public people. Public people were once defined as such based upon the fact that their remarkable skills had brought them to the attention of the public. Now, though, we appear to be entering an era in which the skills are unnecessary. One can become a public person just by being a person, in public.” – Bob Greene, Jewish World Review

How and why is it that we make celebrities out of people who are just people, in public? Really, is it possible that Snooki is going to retire a lot earlier than most people I know (OK,I realize this takes into account that she will actually be responsible with the money she’s earning ). And for what? Getting drunk on the Boardwalk in Seaside Heights? Really, like who hasn’t done that (wink, wink)?

Maybe the fascination is just that we are looking to be entertained; looking to be entertained by a “real” glimpse into people’s lives, adventures and antics.

Maybe it’s an escape; a way for us to forget the things going on in our own lives and for a moment, picture ourselves in the shoes (dancing shoes!) of someone else.

And maybe, just maybe, that’s not such a bad thing – because sometimes those escapes are what gets us ready for the new day. Those escapes are a chance to turn it all off and focus on the next sister squabble between two Kardashian sisters, or the next pound lost by a person who really wants a chance at a better life. Then in the morning, we wake to a whole new reality!

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