Joe Thomson Wait until you see what is next

The reality T.V industry will crumble eventually.  Make no mistake about it, all things come to an end, this thing too will die.  It will get a lot worse before it ends, but it will end.  Reality T.V has a weird duality to it, I think every new show that enters the zeitgeist begins as a spoof.  People began watching Jersey Shore as an extended point and laugh moment to share with their friends. “Can you believe these people?” is a common phrase tossed around at the beginning of every reality series run.  But then, something strange happens, the characters begin to appeal to us.  We begin to identify and sympathize and idolize and before you know it Honey Boo Boo and her family don’t even disgust you anymore.

To me, reality T.V illustrates precisely which qualities are most prevalent in humans today. Empathy and apathy. Empathy, eventually forces us to identify with horrible, talentless people so long as they show some sign of being human.  Their livelihoods somehow become important to us and provide a catharsis in our disconnected lives.  But we would never develop an empathic connection to Mike ‘the situation’ if not for our collective apathy.  We will literally watch whatever is in front of us, it requires no work or thought, it just exists in our world and wears us down until the notion of watching a fat guy driving on an ice road entertains us.

I avoid reality T.V like the plague but only because I know I will be sucked into the innocuous drama if I don’t.  One time I spent an entire weekend watching a guy tow cars around, every time he towed a car some fight occurred and sometimes explosions.  I tried in vain to convince myself that the over produced drama of Lizard lick Towing was in fact real, but common sense overcame me.  I still ended up momentarily invested in the relationship between the tow truck driver and his secretary.  That show made me realize the end is near, but not before some serious shit is flung at you in the next few years.

“Reality” is dying. The Honey Boo Boo’s of the world are just a newer version of actors, being directed to create a dramatic event that will entertain the masses.  Scripts have been replaced by producers pulling strings to get, from their characters, a desired set of scenes that fit into a pre determined narrative.  The tag ‘reality’ is thrown on it and we’re happy to buy into the idea that, while staged or at the very least controlled, it has some glimmer of authenticity to it. Fine.  That’s where we’re at now, but what will happen when a generation that has come of age immersed in the art form that is reality T.V, gets the chance to become the new stars?  There will be someone, or a group of someone’s, so skilled, so well trained and so motivated to conquer the world of reality T.V that they will perfect the performance.  They will perfect this, useless albeit profitable art form and become the greatest star of our time, and we will all hate and then love and then love to hate and then hate to love this person.  

And that’s when it dies.  That’s when we will get bored with this and some new form of entertainment will sweep us away.  Maybe it will be tap dancing or miming.  Maybe it will be something that requires a tangible skill, or maybe it will be something that doesn’t.  Whatever it is, we will be entertained by it and around the same time Honey Boo Boo will die of a heroin overdose in the extended cab of a 2015 Dodge Ram.

Comments

This is such a stellar article

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