boon-dog-gle: (noun) work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy.
free: (adjective) provided without, or not subject to, a charge or payment.

9/14/06

reality television...

I admit it: we watch too much t.v. It's been even worse than usual the last month or so since we got cable t.v. along with our cable internet. I think the novelty of dozens of channels will wear off eventually. But even still, we'll probably have to start setting some limits, marking out which shows we want to watch and shutting the t.v. off when they're not on. Especially when we have a foster child placed with us, that will be necessary. I was raised by television, but that was back in the good ol' days when there was quality programming like Thundercats and Transformers, not the smut you see on t.v. today like Pokemon and That's So Raven.

Anyway, I'm not into that much reality t.v. I've never watched a full episode of Survivor. I can't stand the shows where people swap wives or lives or whatever, or the shows where an uber-babysitter fixes a family's problems in two days. None of the dancing, ice skating, or plate-spinning shows are for me. I like the first few episodes of American Idol every year. You know--when they show the really really bad singers. After that though, I usually lose interest. There are some reality shows, however, that I really dig.

I discovered Hogan Knows Best the second day we had cable. It is awesome, and yes it is "that" Hogan. It records the lives of Terry "Hulk" Hogan and his family, including his wife, daughter, and son. Aside from the fact that the Hulkster was one of my childhood heroes (I cried when he lost the championship), the Hogan family always finds themselves in really interesting situations. But what is really cool, is that the family really cares about each other. You can tell that Hulk and his wife really care for each other and want to be good parents. The kids are almost as down to earth as you could hope for--though they are still in the stratosphere--and they respect and love their parents. I kind of compare Hogan Knows Best to The Cosby Show, except they're white, super-rich instead of kind-of rich, with 1/3 the kids, and the dad is a former pro wrestler instead of obstetrician. Other than that, very similar.

For both Suzanne and I, our new obsession is Miami Ink, which is a show on The Learning Channel. It follows the goings-on in a Miami tatoo parlor. We like it because the characters are very much characters. They are real artists too, and in every episode you get to see a bunch of people get cool tatoos and find out why they are getting them. Long before seeing this show, I've really wanted to get a tatoo, and I only want one worse now. Unfortunately, I don't do so good with pain and I'm afraid I'd chicken out after the first needle prick. Maybe some day.

The other show I've really been into is Rockstar. That is the CBS show where a "famous" band picks a new lead singer from a bunch of unknowns. Overall (i.e., except for the first few episodes), it is a way better show than American Idol. The singers are very, very good, and usually good musicians too. That is, they can usually play an instrument or two and write music as well, and most of them have good to very good stage presence. Last year, they picked a new singer for the '80s and '90s group INXS. I used to love INXS and I think they made the right choice. This year, there was a new group formed from various members of former great bands: Tommy Lee of Motley Crue, Gilbey Clarke of Guns 'n' Roses, and Jason Newstead of Metallica. They were supposed to be called "Supernova", but yesterday morning before the final episode of the season aired a judge ruled in favor of another group with the same name that the new band could not use that name. It was pretty embarrassing and chicken when the name fiasco wasn't even mentioned in the broadcast, but whatever. What was really embarrassing was that during the second to last commercial break there was an advertisement for the new Survivor that is starting soon, and the advertisement featured the music of the new "Supernova" group with the eventual winner singing with them, even though the winner hadn't officially been announced yet. Thus the indication is that the winner was decided beforehand, and the show was rigged. There had been rumors of this for weeks, and that faux pas only confirmed such suspicions. Besides all that, the last episode featured really weak performances (which may indicate that everyone knew the jig was up) and the worst singer (in my and many others' view) won the job.

The possible "fixing" of Rockstar just confirms what we all know about about reality t.v.: it ain't real. It's marketed, edited, and sometimes scripted, just like all other t.v. Even a show like Miami Ink where you can tell the characters are very authentic is still edited so that it has an episode arc that can fit into 47 minutes of airtime. Take it from a reality t.v. watcher: if you want to find out how people interact and respond in reality, it's better to just go get involved with people in reality. That's really the only way to learn and grow.

2 comments:

Craig said...

Of course you know, Nick: the purpose of a remote control is not to find out what's on, but rather to find out what ELSE is on. Sounds like you've made application.

nickg said...

I've thought about having my remote bronzed.

G.K. Chesterton...

"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."