I don't really spend that much time watching television any more. Of course I used to be a slave to the boob tube just like everyone else, but with the popularity of TV show box sets, iTunes, and internet streaming, it's gotten to the point where I can go weeks without even turning it on.
But when I do switch it on to check out what's happening I've noticed a disturbing trend. Is it just me or are there a scary number of reality TV shows on these days?
Now I'm not very familiar with them, I must admit, but of course that's never stopped me from having strongly held opinions before so lets get down to brass tacks. I'm firmly of the opinion that reality television is going to result in THE END OF CIVILISATION AS WE KNOW IT!!!
As far as I can tell reality television serves one purpose only, to embarrass and vilify the people on it. Sure, it's in the context of whatever the show is about, but the result's the same. A cooking show? The judges stand there and yell abuse about the poor contestant's bouillabaisse. A renovation show? They're pitted against each other in such a way that by the end of it they'd cheerfully nail gun the other to a wall and are made to look like complete prats to the public. One of those adventure survival shows? They're stuck in awful situations, the worse the better, and we all sit on our couches and chuckle as they're forced to do painful, humiliating and dangerous things for the chance to win some vaguely hinted at prize.
Are you sensing a trend here?
TV has always been about escapism. You watch people doing or having awful things done to them, but it's okay because you know that it's not real and at the end of the hour everything will be neatly sewn up with a happy ending. But with reality TV, these are real people, with real people feelings. So why is it okay to take so much joy in their pain and trauma? Some might argue that they put themselves into the situation so they deserve what they get, but that doesn't excuse our behaviour. Insensitivity is insensitivity.
I remember watching an episode of Doctor Who where, in the future, reality television had evolved to a point where the repercussions had grown worse and worse to appease the public, the result being that the loser were executed live on TV to make it more interesting. In true Doctor Who fashion they weren't really executed, and it was all solved by the end of the episode, but the point stands.
And THAT is why I think reality television is evil...