Feb 18, 2013

Hell's Biggest Pawn Catch: New Orleans

Reality TV is always a touchy subject. It's at the point where a large majority of people recognize that almost none of the multitude of shows out there are completely legit, but there's always the hope that, yes, this is the ONE genuine show. In all the sea of staged auctions and talent shows that go nowhere, THIS is the one bastion of truth.

And people tune in and play into the drama. There's affirmations of personal betterment, changes of careers, rivers of tears from heavyset housewives as little Rhonda gets on stage and dances her little orphan feet off...

When the fad first started, when Survivor Season 1 was in full swing and MTV was rounding up all the horny teenagers they could find... I was fully on board the reality train. I think most all of us were, really. But after a while, stories started to pop up. Theories and allegations that, hey, maybe some of this is staged! Scripted! Maybe fully produced from the start! And did the Bachelor really marry Whatsherface?! Suddenly, reality TV became this swirling mass of controversy, a tornado of broken illusions and thoughts that the genre as a whole was largely done with.

Clearly that's not QUITE the case. We're still watching people ship large, strange item cross country and eat some eldritch concoction called "sketti." But what's different?

Nothing. Nothing is different at all. This is the same exact storm of ridiculousness as it always was, only with a change of wardrobe and a black eye inexpertly hidden behind some large sunglasses. But I recently noticed something about this circus of human failure, and now my outlook on the whole affair has changed quite a bit.

As I said, I was all into the concept of reality TV when it was relatively new. And like most people, I lost interest when it became clear that none of it was what it really seemed. How dare they fool us all like this! It's outrageous and I refuse to ever watch it again!

But really... does that argument make any kind of sense at all? I mean... I dislike it because it's staged? Doesn't that also mean I have to dislike pretty much ANY performed art? I watch Star Wars and am expected to briefly believe in space ships and laser swords, how is that really any different than watching Hell's Kitchen and believing that one of these assholes is really gonna start up a five-star restaurant?

The producers of these shows give us an at least semi-staged show, so we may as well treat them as any other show. Like a themed soap opera, really. (Just try to avoid the ones that will clearly end in crushed dreams for real people caught up in the charade. Unless you're into that sort of thing?) So, dear reader, I give you this free pass to watch any and all reality TV you wish, guilt free. You're not being suckered into a disgusting web of lies, you're simply admiring the web from afar, and perhaps enjoying watching OTHER people get suckered into a disgusting web of lies. You sick fuck.

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