Reality (TV) Check

Sometimes I get stuck in my blogging. I need the world around me to provide subject matter and sometimes it fails me. But then…then there are days like yesterday when I click on the Entertainment tab at Huffington Post and my senses are assaulted with stories that threaten to make the top of my head blow clean off. Usually, that’s my reaction to the Media tab where they quote Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly all the time whereas the Entertainment tab is generally just a lot of boring pictures of Kristin Stewart looking constipated and rehashes of Glee.  But these little tidbits from the universe of reality television are just the kind of combustible mixture of crazy that sends me into full on ranting mode.

According to Pop-eater, girls are trying to get pregnant to be eligible to audition for Teen Mom. I’ll give you a minute to collect the brains that just shot out your ears. Yes. There are girls out there who think being a professional teen mother on MTV is a pretty rockin’ gig. And that should surprise no one. MTV was so wrong to put this stuff on tv and PAY THESE YOUNG WOMEN $60,000 PER SEASON (if what I read is true). I’ve heard people say that this show doesn’t really glorify teen motherhood and these girls are really trainwrecks and blah blah blah but HELLO. They are on the cover of People magazine. They get paid more to fight with their baby-daddies on tv than I make for doing honest work at a non-profit organization. They look like they’re doing ok. And teen-agers are notoriously delusional. When I was 16 I thought I was going to win a Tony award in musical theatre and a Pulitzer for my poetry. And I don’t think there even is a Pulitzer for poetry. Telling teen-age girls that being on reality tv is a bad idea will not resonate with them. MTV should pull the plug before girls across the country ditch condoms in search of fame and fortune.

Then, Khloe Kardashian likened TSA screening procedures to rape. OK…yeah…I have never been the victim of a sexual assault and I thank my lucky stars for that. But I do understand the basics of what constitutes rape and consent is the most notably absent factor. Since flying is a choice, you’ve already taken one big giant step toward consenting to one of the TSA screening methods available. You might not like the scatter-shot screener that takes a faceless pic of your nekkid silhouette, so you can have a pat-down by a person of your same gender who is 90% likely not to be attracted to you, who is getting paid to touch you for non-sexual, non-violent reasons. And you can walk. the. fuck. away. from the whole process at any time. You might not be able to get on an airplane, but that’s not rape. That’s you making a choice not to consent to the procedures in place. Everything about airline flight is voluntary. Nothing about rape is voluntary. To compare the two is to insult those who have survived sexual assault. Khloe needs to apologize to rape survivors for trying to compare their ordeals to her discomfort with the security screenings she faces when she flies – first class – to cities of her choice to shop and talk baby talk to her husband.

And finally, TLC is getting ready to air an epic meeting of the minds when Kate Gosselin appears on Sarah Palin’s reality show. Never mind the basic barf factor of reality tv crossover acts. Never mind the danger of letting Kate’s girls loose in the same state with Levi Johnston. Never mind the fact that I wouldn’t cry if a bear ate both of them so I never have to see them again. No, the grossest part of this is that they bond over how hard it is to be scrutinized by the media. No doubt they also talk about how much it sucks having the media criticize their kids. And that makes me want to kick them in the heads until they understand that the media wouldn’t give a shit about them or their kids if they didn’t FLING themselves in front of every available camera. Kate. Sarah. You are whores. You pimp your kids. As long as you do that on purpose, you don’t get to complain about being treated like kid-pimping whores. You want the media (and bloggers and your kids’ friends on Facebook) to leave you alone? Quit television and get a real job.

I think we may have a crossed a vital line where reality tv has become more appealing than actual reality and we need to think about dialing it back before we get vaulted into some sort of Truman Show or Pleasantville scenario where we’re living on tv, only with more epic failures playing out in real time and fewer happy endings.

Hmmm. Happy endings. I wonder if there’s been a reality show set in a “massage” parlor yet. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

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8 comments for “Reality (TV) Check

  1. December 8, 2010 at 10:47 am

    You know, my wife and I were watching Teen Mom the other night and that was the first thing that popped into my mind: I bet 16 & 17 year old valedictorian candidates are taking their temps to make sure they hook up w/ their Dorito-breathed boyfriends on the right days. Not surprising at all.

  2. December 8, 2010 at 10:56 am

    UGH I hear you! Reality tv focusing on “surviving” on an island is MUCH different than a bunch of teens “whining” about their babies and parents and baby daddys. I watched one episode of Teen Mom and was disgusted! Not sure how much more irresponsible MTV could get.

  3. December 8, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I just want to know, when do I get MY reality show?

  4. December 8, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    I hadn’t heard ANY of this so thanks for putting it out there. It is so sad that teen girls think that $60,000 a season is worth it in the long run. You can only be a Teen Mom for so long. :( So sad.

  5. December 8, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    And THAT is why I no longer watch TLC. It used to be a good network…BRING BACK TRADING SPACES!!!!!

  6. DMCostorf
    December 8, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    “You are Whores”
    *standing up and applauding you*

  7. amy
    December 8, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Thank you. and yes my brain shot out of my ears regarding Teenmoms. Oy.
    The only reality that I watch is “Top Chef” and “Chopped”, “Project Runway” and “Cake boss”. Otherwise it is all DRECK. On top of that Kim K. made 6 million last year and the “Situation” made more than my husband and I did for 2 years.
    Where is the justice of this?
    Yep bring back “Trading Spaces”.

  8. December 8, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Oh God please Sarah and Kate together?! Please people do not give those women a voice! Stop watching! That’s my rant. Thank you

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