Things I Don’t Like About Television, Episode 2: Reality TV

Why do I hate reality television? Let me begin with a story.


It’s About MTV

On August 2, 1981, a glorious cable network was launched. Its first offering was “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Music Video Television featured a wide assortment of videos and awesome personalities (known as VJ’s) to introduce them. However, much of that started to come to an end the moment it introduced The Real World.

The Real World was a show created by MTV by accident. The original pitch was to create a soap opera for the network, but they couldn’t afford writers and could only afford so much to pay real actors. As the idea “evolved,” there was the agreement to find perfect strangers and let them live with each other for a short period.

I never liked The Real World, tbqh. Even years after that show was created, MTV would have awesome shows (like Liquid Television, Daria, and other things where music celebrities would pay a visit) but neglect those programs. Specifically, MTV would move Daria around the schedule while they played the shit out of Real World, especially on Fridays. And the show lives on. Now called Real World, its 31st season was set to start in 2015.

Of course, it that’s not all concerning MTV. Road Rules would come along and that show was atrocious. MTV would add other shows featuring celebrities and relative strangers, like The Osbournes, Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, Jersey Shore, and Viva La Bam. I should count Jackass here as that’s the show where Bam Margera was first seen and it did feature real life stunts performed by Johnny Knoxville and his friends.


Of Course, Reality TV Would Spread

VH1, MTV’s sister network, would later feature reality shows. VH1 would ultimately give us “Celebreality” programs, like For the Love of Ray J (barf). It’s hard to believe I thought VH1 at one time was the better network.

Now, it’s one thing to feature celebrities. But even that won’t guarantee quality and I just don’t care about perfect strangers trying to grab their fifteen minutes of fame. I don’t care about teen moms or any of that because most teenagers are boring. I didn’t even like teenagers that much when I was one, so why would I want to see shows featuring them now?

Worse than that is the fact that MTV — and VH1— basically stopped actually showing videos. Videos were being pushed further back in the schedule until one could see only one video every ten minutes in a two-hour span (and each was followed by a series of commercials.) These channels might still show videos from time to time. However, they do so very late at night, too many of the videos are repeated ad-nauseum, and a lot of them are crap. It’s much like the radio nowadays.

Other basic cable stations are also in so deep with reality. TLC is notorious for this, as it went from a channel where we would find more educational programs like hospital visits and childbirth to the circus it is today. I didn’t care about Honey Boo-boo, or 19 kids and Counting — two shows that have since been canceled due participants with histories as child molesters — or other disturbing shows where mothers would live vicariously through their poor children. I have always hated the idea of young girls being dressed up as Barbie Dolls and paraded around since I heard about the JonBenet Ramsey case and how beauty competitions for minors were run.

E! of course had long thrown it hat into the ring. Two current shows — Keeping up with the Kardashians and Totally Divas — are not my cup of tea, to put it mildly.

Oh, and don’t get me started with that other crap on network television. I cannot stand more than 10 seconds of these types of programs, either. I never cared for The Bachelor/The Bachelorette shows, Survivor, Fear Factor, Big Brother, The Amazing Race, or The Biggest Loser. I find those shows excruciating to watch.


Now, Why Do I Hate Reality TV?

As I mentioned above, there are just too many of these programs. When more and more television networks decided to have programs that were based on real people, they were in essence copycats. They were more or less the same. I quickly became bored with that.

Also, the above examples are rife with strangers and other characters I can’t bring myself to be interested in. I don’t care that much for created characters when I don’t have a good reason to for root for them, so imagine how I would then feel about a bunch of strangers I never met.

Related to the above, what really irks me is that reality TV replaces programs with actual scripts and storylines. On top of that, the reality shows are highly edited. There is so much footage and what is shown is used so producers can tell a story and make certain participants look bad, or worse than they already are.

I guess we have “Cops” to thank for all this, as it was the first reality show that made this trend popular. Honestly, I don’t find it entertaining to see cops arresting some people. I do not want to watch self-righteous and cocky officers talk about their jobs. Since I generally don’t like cocky people to be honest, why would I like to see that in police officers? And this is the show that had taken over G4 (when it was on its last legs) and pushed “America’s Most Wanted” (a better show, imo) out of the FOX lineup.

Next, I will be talking about clip shows, et. al.


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