I’m not going to pretend I knew what demands the writers were making or whether or not they were being sensible. I don’t have a clue what was going on except that my shows seemed to be on replay (i.e. reruns). I’m going to throw a theory out into the universe; it may or may not have merit. I will say that had they not gone on strike, half of the reality shows that we have on television right now probably would not exist.
The strike ended in February 2008, but it seems as though primetime television has yet to bounce back. It appears that there are some new shows starting this Fall season, but I have to ask myself… "Am I willing to replace a perfectly good reality show on my DVR for a scripted show?" If I look on my to-do list for my DVR, I see mostly reality shows. There is One Life to Live, General Hospital, Law and Order SVU, but then the rest are reality shows: The Real Housewives of Atlanta (I also record New York and New Jersey), Bridezillas, The Biggest Loser, The Apprentice, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Then there was Confessions of a Teen Idol, Sober House, Amazing Wedding Cakes, Project Runway, Rock of Love, Wife Swap. The list could just go on and on. Why are we so fixated on reality TV?
Thought #1 – We can relate. We all have some sort of dysfunction in our lives and these characters put the fun in dysfunctional. These REALITY shows are a REALITY check that everyone can be screwed up. Whether it is the affluent Housewives in their respective cities, or the pampered self-proclaimed princess brat that throws a flower arrangement to the ground because it wasn’t "blingy" enough and it didn’t reach her goal of showing everyone how much money she had (Shout out, Valerie Neito), it shows us that our families and lives could be a lot worse. After 60 minutes of entertainment we might just be able to turn off the tube and say, "Wow, my family isn’t as bad." Or as in the Bridezilla episode I referenced, I gave my then-fiancée a quick "see, it could be worse" smile of reassurance.
Thought #2 – We, as viewers, are simply nosey and voyeuristic. We love to know what happens behind closed doors. And with all access cameras set up behind the proverbial and literal door, our curiosity is satisfied. Don’t try to deny it. Look how many people pass by a traffic accident and stretch and strain to get a glimpse of some sort of blood or gore. It is just a fact of life. These shows give us an opportunity to see the drama play out right before our eyes:
- The Jon and Kate break up – how will they adjust?
- Sheree Whitfield didn’t get her "seven-figure lump sum" - we get to see her move out of her mansion and start supporting herself.
- Kourtney Kardashian is pregnant – how will she handle the aches and pains, physically and emotionally, of impending motherhood?
- Danielle Staub – when did you get hair extensions?
- NeNe Leakes – who’s your daddy?
We can find all the answers to these questions just by turning on the TV. Now, as I get ready to watch this week’s episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (I hear that Kim is going to get her wig ripped off), I leave you with some of my favorite reality TV quotes:
"I like making my own money! I find that an aphrodisiac."
- Ramona Singer, The Real Housewives of New York
"They released me early because I was a threat to the prison. "
- Khloe Kardashian, Keeping Up With the Kardashians
"I get a chance to meet 25 amazing women, and I know one of them is going to be my wife."
- Jason Mesnick, The Bachelor
"It's not bad to wear a promise ring because not everybody - guy or girl - wants to be a slut."
- Jordin Sparks, American Idol
"I want, like, four. Maybe I'll adopt 10. I want to have my own orphanage like Mother Teresa."
- Heidi Montag, The Hills
"Your people give money with blood on it. I met your people in Las Vegas. None of them have last names. You’re a poker player. A poker player! That’s beyond white trash. Poker players are trash, darling, trash."
- Joan Rivers, The Celebrity Apprentice
P.S. Please be aware that not all of the details in this blog may be 100% factual. As a very wise female who is not a girl, yet not quite a woman pointed out, "This is a blog not a research paper!"