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Reality? Really?

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Posted: Thursday, June 30, 2011 12:13 pm

I'm sure much has been written about the onslaught of reality programming on television. And while it's a piece of our culture that will probably not change any time soon - I have to at least get my two cents in before it's so commonplace that nobody cares anymore.

There are a few shows that I like that are reality-based. I like the ones that have music. So I've watched American Idol and most recently The Voice. It's fun to see new talent emerge and there is a lot of good talent out there.

I've even caught some moments of America's Got Talent and been mildly impressed with some of the acts.

I've seen quiet a few cooking shows - my husband and I both like to cook. Except that one where the blond British guy gets angry and yells at everyone. I can't find the entertainment value in that. And, consequently, I've watched a few weight-loss shows. Those can be inspirational and informative.

The ones that I can't understand are the supposedly-serious relationship shows and the "Housewife" shows.

I'm totally speaking out of turn because I've never seen any of these shows. But the premise eludes me. Why can't attractive, educated and seemingly normal people get dates on their own? Why are we exposed to the process of a man or woman choosing a mate in an environment lends no "reality" to the situation? And I may be wrong, but do these relationships ever last or are they just fodder for an new reality show?

I have no idea why people watch any of the Housewives of any county. Are they exceptional people with good ideas and great relationships who can teach us how to live better lives? If so, maybe I'll tune in.

And who are the Kardashians? Why are we being urged to keep up with them? Why are they famous at all? Are they famous for being famous, like Paris Hilton and her twin Lindsay Lohan? I think one of them is a model, and one used to be an actress, but what about the rest of them? I have asked a few people who actually watch and like the show and they can't explain it to me either.

I'm sure something about these shows is compelling. I hear radio hosts and read bloggers who bemoan the poor bachelorette or housewife who was wronged by someone. They get legitimately worked up over this stuff.

The goobers on the New Jersey shore don't get any of my attention. They don't seem like people I would respect much if I met them. I have friends who live on the New Jersey shore and they're nothing like these attention-seekers.

I find this stuff about as "real" as professional wrestling. Or Doctor Phil. I think these people are manufactured and make producing televisions shows much cheaper because networks don't need to pay the outlandish salaries that people like Charlie Sheen end up feeling entitled to.

And that's a lot of the problem isn't it? Producing a decent comedy or drama on television is getting so over-the-top expensive that the really good ones, like 'Dexter' or 'Nurse Jackie' are being done on non-network stations that we have to pay extra to watch. And the halfway decent network shows only produce about a dozen new episodes a year.

We have about a thousand channels on our TV and our DVR records what we think we want to see and usually there's something worth seeing. But much of the time I used to spend watching television is now spent doing other things and I'm not missing it a whole lot.

My garden looks good and I'm actually writing real letters on real paper with pens and stuff.

I also just finished reading Dean Koontz's 'Frankenstein' series which got some mediocre reviews, but I enjoyed it and will fill you in next week.

Right now my Kindle is getting more of my attention than my television and that's not a bad thing.