January 15, 2015 - 8:26 AM
In our species’ headlong rush to amuse itself to death, no form of entertainment is more loathsome than so-called “reality television,” an oxymoron populated by poxy morons. It started out innocuously enough with carefully chosen random people ad-libbing precisely written scripts as they pretended to be racing across the world or surviving on a desert island. The only problem with these shows is they were utterly boring, mainly because everyone involved was so unpleasant one had no desire to see any of them win a million dollars (it’s always a million dollars, isn’t it?)
Since then the genre has exploded and our screens are now littered with appalling people behaving in appalling ways. It seems our twisted appetite for entertainment can only be satisfied by watching train wrecks and freak shows. In the interests of balanced reporting (always my mantra as you know) I decided to take in a few of these ghastly exhibitions.
First up was something called “Toddlers in Tiaras” which involves some of the most dubious parenting you can imagine. Tiny children are dressed up as prostitutes and paraded in front of judgemental adults in an attempt to win their approval. Where are Child Protection Services when you need them?
Equally unsavoury are the programs on pregnant teenagers, in which children who lack either the maturity or the intelligence to make their own breakfast are having babies and getting paid to scream at them on TV. Absurdly, the makers of one such show even pretend it is some sort of public service announcement aimed at preventing the very thing it glorifies.
Next I discovered something called Kardashians. A Kardashian is not, as one might expect, an exotic breed of hound or a middle-eastern pullover, but a person of the opposite sex who appears to be famous for nothing more than having had extensive plastic surgery performed on her bottom. Not unsuccessfully, I might add, but that’s hardly the point. This is “celebrity culture” (another oxymoron) gone berserk.
Switching channels, I came across some truly sad people, each of whom possesses a mental illness which causes them to practice strange addictions like pretending to be dollies or having sex with a car. You think I’m making that up, don’t you? This is as exploitative as the kiddie hooker program, parading genuinely ill people as some sort of carnival side show. How could anyone call this entertainment?
There are myriad programs which excuse their pollution of our living rooms by pretending to show “real people” while in fact, they are merely caricatures. Those who inhabit opposite ends of the social scale do at least provide some educational value. The half-wits of Jersey Shore, for example, prove that evolution has not yet spread to every corner of the gene pool, while the equally vacuous hyper-wealthy of the various “real housewife” franchises demonstrate that no amount of money can ever buy anything of real value.
Of course, there is a perfectly valid reason we continue to watch these dreadful people: it allows us to believe we are better than them. Even if our bottoms are a lot more saggy. Now, where’s my remote?
— The Grumpy Old Git nearly had a TV show, but focus groups weren't impressed with an hour of watching an old man nap with his hand in his belt
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