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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
30 Rock


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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

You Make Me Feel Mighty Real

King of Blogs. Please vote for me on the left hand side of the blog. Trackback to THAT post, I get votes. Voting is all week long, thus the reminders. I know I'm annoying. I'm sorry.

Although I have watched my fair share of reality TV, I have witnessed the backlash you people bring for my doing so. I, along with many Americans, have this weird "car wreck like" fascination with reality television. I watch it, but admittedly I don't always know why I am doing so.

Everyone has their limits, including me. There are reality shows where I simply draw the line: The Simple Life, Nanny 911, Wife Swap and Fear Factor for example, just to name a few.

But for every reality show I don't watch, there's another one that I do. But the more reality shows I watch, the more I find one common denominator: a lack of any actual reality. In fact, I challenge you to bring it on. Give me a reality show, any reality show, and I will find the spin doctored loop hole. Yes, over the years I have grown to be quite the reality show conspiracy theorist.

Take The Bachelorette for instance. There are 25 supposedly equal footed guys vying for the affection of one big hearted girl. But early on it becomes quite apparent who you should root for and who should be given the boot. In fact, everyone can see this, except for said Bachelor/Bachelorette. This is why every season has it's token "psycho" who always manages to hang on a few weeks past his or her "sell by" date. Meanwhile, you sit there, screaming at the television, "Aww come on! Why did she keep HIM?!" She kept him, my friends so that you would do precisely that, rant and rave and of course, tune in to finally see him get the much deserved kiss off.

On shows like these, and even on The Amazing Race and say, Big Brother there are obvious "good guys" to root for. Maybe there is one clear good guy, maybe 3 or 4. But do you honestly believe these people never did anything wrong? No. One word and one word alone describes how these people can come across as perfect in every way: EDITING. Case in point, Bob Guiney. He turned the world on with his smile, got the coveted title of Bachelor, made out with lots of girls and THEN the world turned on HIM. You're kidding yourself if you believe Bob wasn't always that way. They just chose not to accentuate that side of him because THAT wasn't what America wants to see in their everyday heroes.

On reality shows there is a lack of any actual script, but that doesn't mean their lives can't still be scripted to a certain extent. They are given places to go, problems to overcome and people to meet. This isn't reality. Reality would be watching other people sit on their couch and watch reality tv every night. But that's not exciting. So producers "create" a reality for these contestants to live in, which, wherein lies the irony, considering the second you create reality, it's no. longer. reality.

Then there are shows people love to hate like American Idol. You might think, well what's to control there beyond what they wear and maybe sing? Well my friends, the answer is A LOT.

One thing I can only take in small doses about AI is the audition process. Other folks love it. They love watching horrendously bad auditions. In fact, they even added EXTRA episodes of that this season! But this girl is not buying it. In the case of really bad auditions I think either one of two scenarios come into play: 1. These people were hired and/or are playing up how bad they are just to get on tv or 2. These people are so bad and that's precisely why they got through.

Come on, do you really think that they don't sing at all before they get to the judges? They do. And yet, so many horrible singers still get through and get on air...hmm. Then of course, you can take it even one step further and believe that through the magic of, say it with me, EDITING, they are never in the same room with the judges at all.

And while we are on the subject of judges, that too is, I'm afraid, staged. Everything down to the casting of said judges is premeditated. You've got Paula:Good cop. Simon: Bad cop. Randy: In the middle cop. They each have very distinctly different roles to play. Yet, it's been said not to be fooled by the amazingly rude Simon Cowell as he really truly, is a teddy bear. To this I say, will the real Simon Cowell please stand up?

Finalists are carefully selected in an effort to create a harmony of styles, shapes and skin colors. And when the formula messes up (i.e. last year when there were many more worthy girls than guys) they tweak it a bit. They might not be able to choose who actually stays and who goes, since America supposedly decides, but can't they technically vote right along with us? Or they do the magic act of creating new rounds where the ones that got away have to come back so they can save face and not take their ball and go home.

Then, once the finalists get through, Simon often hurls amazingly insulting remarks at the contestants. Did that make you mad? Mad enough to vote over and over and prove him wrong? Hmm, I thought so.:)

So I suppose the big question you all have (if you've made it to this point) is that, now that you know that I know, why do I still watch? That is a question I'm still trying to answer myself. For me, I think half the fun is figuring out the angle. Figuring out how they think they are going to trick me this time. Reality shows are like a giant rubix cube where I have to solve the formula. Ok, rubix cube may be a little too high brow, but you get the idea.

Still, they can lead this girl to the television, but they can't make her believe.



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