Friday, September 12, 2008

"Reality" Television

“Reality used to be a friend of mine”

-PM Dawn

“Reality Television” has ruined everything.  There are a million reasons for this: the fact that any 20-something willing to get drunk and behave recklessly can become a celebrity, the way the nation sits mesmerized by glorified karaoke contests while our nation continues to deteriorate in every way imaginable or the fact that real human beings select spouses by narrowing down a pool of potential mates that will do anything imaginable not to be kicked off the show.  Contrary to popular belief, the young are not solely to blame for this dumbing down of television, I know senior citizens that eagerly await each episode of “Dancing with the Stars” and educated grown men that think “John & Kate Plus 8” is an acceptable way to spend a week night.  So, while MTV may have pioneered this genre with “The Real World” (which was actually an interesting social experiment the first few seasons when there was some semblance of reality in the show), it is now the parents and grandparents of the original Real World fans that are keeping shows like “The Girls Next Door” and “America’s Got Talent” (a statement that is questionable at best) on the air.  And you can not tell me that a mother talking to her daughter about who Brett Michaels took to the hot tub night before is not bad for everybody involved. 

While anyone that is not dumb can see the negative effects of this constant stream of bafoonery paraded on every network has had on our society.  I want to take a second and look at how reality television has ruined a major component of the entertainment industry.  These shows have stripped away all the make-up artists, stylists, scripted interviews and images that these celebrities have spent years cultivating, in short they take the “Entertainment” out of “Entertainment Industry” by removing the very illusions that made these people compelling in the first place.  I don’t want to see Brittany Spears first thing in the morning, in my mind she wakes up looking like the “Oops! I did it again” video and carries on her daily affairs.  On a similar note, I have no desire to see rock stars and rappers degrade themselves for a pay check.  And let’s be clear, I like a good train wreck as much as the next guy, but there’s a limit.  I’ll watch Bobby and Whitney make mockeries of their entire lives and careers because R&B singers never really had that deep an effect on me, but watching a member of Public Enemy that has used drugs to the point of brain damage parade around a mansion full of loose women yelling formerly revolutionary phases that have now become comedic catchphrases is too much to handle, even for me.  

Out of this whole mess, these are the shows I find particularly offensive:

Luke’s Parental Advisory:  The man responsible for bringing strip club music to the masses should not have a family show...period.  I am not a big fan of strip clubs, I don’t understand the process of paying a marginally attractive crystal meth addict to act like she likes me, but I understand Luke’s impact on music (crunk and most of the dirty south, would not have happened without his influence), but this show is asinine and so is anyone that watches it. 

The Osbourne’s: Watch a heavy metal legend clean up dog Sh*t and curse at his kids...awesome.

Snoop Dogg’s Show on E!: I’m not even sure where to start with this one.  First, Mr. “Bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks” has been with the same women for like 15!  Second, the guy that shot a guy to promote his first album is afraid to get blood drawn for a routine medical check-up...come on!  Third, this show is so obviously scripted they should call him “Snoop Masselli” (the way they only change Tony Danza’s last name in all his shows), hire some better writers and just make it a sitcom.  There is no shame in rappers doing sitcoms, the Fresh Prince did it and he segued into a a career making such classic hollywood movies as Wild Wild West, Pursuit of Happiness and Men in Black 2.    

Celebrity Fit Club: Watching people that you vaguely remember from sitcoms and early 90’s one-hit wonders work out because they are fat, drug addicted or emotionally damaged is dumb and if you watch it so are you.

Run’s House: Let me be clear, I am a massive fan of Run DMC’s music.  When I was 7 years old my older cousin left a cassette tape of their first album at my house by mistake and I listened to it on my tan-colored Fisher-Price tape player until I knew the entire album verbatim.  This was my first experience with hip-hop and it inarguably changed my life: over 20 years later I am still buying CD’s, going to shows and checking web sites daily for updates on my favorite artists (I’ll grow up eventually, right?).  Also, because I was so young when I was introduced to their music they were like superheroes in my mind. For me it was Batman, Spiderman and Run DMC, and not always in that order. 

Watching what this legend has become is bothersome for a variety of reasons.  First of all, I don’t want to see the man responsible for “Sucker MC’s” get yelled at by his  miserable, whiner of a wife and mocked by his unappreciative kids that have no problem spending his money but no concept of what he did to make Hip-Hop the multi-billion dollar global enterprise it is today.  In my mind, he wakes up dressed in all black with unlaced shell-toes next to a different girl every morning, and I fully want to continue that fantasy. 

I do not want to watch him write a book while laying in the bathtub, pull strings to get his daughters in Maxim or explain the value of teamwork to Russy and Diggy.  His kids are possibly the worst people in all of reality TV, they all claim to want clothing lines with no background in fashion, merchandising, production, marketing, finance or any of the other disciplines necessary to run a successful fashion business.  If they think it is easy they should call the people that started Cross Colors, FUBU, Z. Cavarichi, Skidz, BUM Equipment, Wu Wear, Naughty Gear or Hypercolor shirts and ask them how easy it is. 

Clearly, I do not enjoy reality television. In fact I would rather listen to PM Dawn albums from beginning to end (the album cuts, not just the singles that everybody likes but is embarrassed to admit) then be forced to watch this nonsense.  

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