Chick stuff, Copy that.

Get REAL

      

Real life doesn’t come equipped with background music. There’s no re-takes, no script, and no fast forward.

Yearn for a world of cunning deceptions, illicit romance and characters teetering on the brink of chaos? Nah, me neither. But, just tune in to shows like Housewives, Bachelors and Bridezillas, and you’ll get a hefty dose. Is getting ‘Married at First Sight” a remotely good idea or is ‘Amish Mafia’ a thing? Would anyone really want to ‘Swap Wives?’ The idea of being a ‘Survivor’ on a wild isle is difficult enough; maneuvering it naked, hell to the no. Maybe the sheer crazy of it all is reason enough to watch reality TV but in my offbeat experience, real life coughs up more than enough drama without adding technicolor crazy.

Reality shows let you experience life’s idiocyncrasies and dramas by osmosis, right from the comfort of your own couch. While they are often a bit redundant, bizarre antics of a celeb family can provoke emotions the daily grind fails to deliver. (thank goodness!) Once upon a time, media experts thought reality TV was a passing fad, now it dominates channel lineups.  Sure they’ve been criticized for dumbing down their audiences, but to many, it’s the recreational payoff that counts. To be fair, some might be educational, some even inspire, but hey, ‘Honey BooBoo’? Seriously?

Imagination and fiction make up three quarters of our real life. Simone Weil

While visiting another dimension that allows you zone out from real life for a half hour might be cool, I’m still kind of sketchy about how much they actually resemble ‘real’ life. Peeping into each mundane moment of people’s lives, albeit contrived, is a little too George Orwell for me. It also begs the question ‘why’? Disguised as entertainment, some of the worst values and personal qualities have been enshrined, things we teach our children every day not to do or be. Even the craziest show somehow doesn’t get ‘voted off the island’, along with any stalwart naked adventurers.  And it helps no one’s entrepreneurial initiative or spirit to be rewarded with a sneering ‘You’re fired’.

We all know where THAT’S gotten us.

Like mini appetizers, crises, devastation and shock are served up nightly while actual real life is contoured in shades of gray. (maybe not 50 shades but still). What would happen if no one watched all this reality? That theory can be tested in a whole lot of scenarios. If the much maligned ‘fake news’ actually ducked out and the person pointing the finger was no longer written about or recorded, that could pose a true dilemma for someone hellbent on attention. Womp womp.

The boundary between real life and acting is hard to fine. James Mangold

If reality TV lost viewership, it would have to be redefined, redesigned and reborn but who could predict if the next iteration would be even worse? Unfortunately, there’s just enough prurient interest in these shows to keep them on the small screen for the foreseeable future. I suspect it’s not the stuff we’d like to stuff in a time capsule as evidence of a sophisticated, educated society.

Real life doesn’t come equipped with background music. There’s no re-takes, no script, and no fast forward. Well, that is unless you’re in a really, really unhealthy place of constant cat fights, and back-stabbing, where outlandish, destructive behavior sits neatly in your lexicon. What, you really thought those people living and arguing in the same house are not acting?

There is precious little ‘real’ in reality shows. And, newsflash, the Kardashians will never qualify as authentic anything. Sorry, not sorry.

The main difference between real life and reel life is the background score. Rammurthi Serene

To be sure, there are some shows that get my attention; some I consider positive and even inspirational that incite our better natures. There might be some redeeming value in shows that shine a light on life altering problems with drugs or hoarding, especially if they come with understanding and concrete ways to help. If you’re an inveterate DIY’r, Flea Market Flip might be for you. Busy baker? There’s a plethora of creative, even competitive cooking shows like Chopped or Great American Baker. And what could be more traditional than talent shows that give a kid a break like American Idol or The Voice?

Knowing the small screen can deliver as much good as not, programming that celebrates the less than lovely parts of our nature becomes a frustrating puzzle. Still, reality TV isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, in its best variations, it serves a whole bunch of useful functions. ‘House Hunters gives more than a few tips to newbie buyers about how far their dollar will go and not having higher than logical expectations. Watching ‘The Amazing Race’ might be a painless way to teach about world cultures and teamwork. Travel shows that illustrate amazing challenges and gifts of diverse populations, some we may never meet, are both educational and enlightening.

Is this real life – or is this fantasy? Queen

We can pick and choose what we feed our mind and soul. Reality TV can be the quintessential ‘don’t try this at home’ or an invite to honest thought. Personally, I’d prefer to watch paint dry, learn Latin or have a minor root canal, than switch on ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ or ‘Dance Moms.’ But that’s just me.

Choose wisely.

I think our own lives are pretty interesting, often damn dramatic on their own. Why experience anyone else’s imitation manufactured life? Next time you have the urge to tune in ‘The Kardashians’ or ‘Real Housewives’, just imagine having to walk in their giant high heels every day.

Your life is looking better and better.

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