The New Brain Drain: Reality TV
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It’s well beyond ‘out of hand’. This trend has reduced the Intelligence Quotient of American Television to nearly Absolute Zero.
Originally, ‘Reality TV’ was a stopgap tactic to sidestep a massive screenwriters’ strike against the major networks, because they required minimal screenwriting and only simple directing. Practically anyone can produce one of these shows, after all.
A few of these shows sprinkled here and there in the programming of every major network would be one small annoyance, since nearly all of the programming on commercial television is essentially just that to begin with. What makes this trend such a plague on TV entertainment is that it has become a contagion.
Most of them center on just a few themes, including danger, dating and family feud situations. Most of them have rather cheap production. In fact, to go further, it seems as if the same few people are producing all of them. The formula goes almost completely unbroken from one reality show to the next, particularly in the case of the dating shows.
I just watched a show called ‘Elimidate’, where one person goes out on a date with three or four other people, and then eliminates them one by one until left with ‘the perfect date’ or at least the best one available from the beginning selection. Predictably, the female contestants are beauty queens with nubile bods and adolescent attitudes, and the male contestants are twentysomething studmuffins with adolescent attitudes. Of course there is silent commentary mocking anyone on the show who happens to be speaking, which seems to be par for any of these silly shows.
May I add that I was too bored to leave the TV off and too lazy to put on a CD or DVD? That’s my plea. Of course since there’s a certain energy to the situation and the production, there is a temptation to watch these things, but they still suck. The problem with putting up with ‘light viewing’ like this is that we must consider its resemblance to ‘light reading’: it’s an unhealthy habit that’s too easy to acquire.
This whole fad is beginning to characterize a huge chunk of America’s present commercial TV programming, as I said, and people are likely to say “then just don’t watch it!” in backlash against my warnings here.
Don’t say I didn’t tell you so when you come to realize that this type of programming has become a bane and a brain drain, and absolutely positively needs to go down the crapper.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t look to be any end to these shows, nor the reiterations by different networks of each others’ unoriginal ideas. They’re going to keep coming and coming, and you’re going to get the… craps of it.
It’s just like slasher movies. They kept making them for about twenty years, and then just plumb ran out of ideas (until this summer with ‘Jason vs. Freddy’).
The collective mind of America is a toilet, and it doesn’t flush.