Reality TV shows still thriving

Published November 16, 2011, in MSUM’s, The Advocate

The epidemic continues. Reality television shows are still thriving.

So far, America has managed to snoop into the lives of almost every celebrity, and now we’re even keeping tabs on the so-called common folk.

The Duggar family, famous for the reality show that has an ever-changing title due to more kids appearing every year, has been known to cause controversies over their fertility. The newest issue arising from the Duggars: They are about to have their 20th child. That sounds like a nightmare to me, but hey  if they can handle it and are taking care of their children well, so be it. Let them have 30 kids if the wife’s body is still able to function after this last one. I’m sure Gerber and diaper companies aren’t complaining.

My personal hate for most reality television started at the tender age of 7. “Bug Juice,” a series on the Disney channel, which aired in February of 1998, made me cringe. I remember a large following of more mature children loved it, so I tried to give it a chance. I thought the relationships between each 12-year-old were a joke, the drama uninteresting and the entire show distasteful. Apparently, my inner TV critic emerged at a young age.

Years later, shows like “Newlyweds” and “Jon and Kate Plus 8” were to air, only to end in marital splits and a lack of privacy. Only time will tell if the famous polygamist Kody Brown from “Sister Wives” will end his four marriages (only one a legal union) due to pressure from the watchful eye of the public infringing on his not-so-private life. After all, TLC does have a fantastic record of breaking apart families. Who’s to say they can’t do it again?

Let’s face it. Networks love reality television because it’s cheap to produce and people watch it. The more ridiculous the subject the better. It is because of this affordability and popularity that shows have been made on almost every occupation (especially cake baking), obsession (especially hoarding) and celebrity (especially the Kardashians and Laguna brats).

Since new ideas had to be thought of, “Police Women of Cincinnati” and a show about balloons, “The Unpoppables,” were made, along with many other shows that were really stretching the limits of production.

However, a few of these programs could potentially make social changes, or at the very least raise awareness to societal issues. “Toddlers & Tiaras,” another show on TLC, exposes the mistreatment of little girls. They are being forced by their parents to participate in shallow contests that will inevitably feed complexes at an even younger age than little girls already acquire them — which is too quickly. It teaches them that appearances should be our main priority and that looks are an ongoing competition they must win. To think people have an issue with Barbies and Disney princesses when child beauty pageants are still being held.

Once upon a time, there was a show called, “American Princess” on WE (Women’s Entertainment). It sounded engaging enough to watch, so that’s precisely what my mother and I did. We also forced my father to watch it on occasion.

As I watched these American girls with terrible manners and no competence for etiquette or propriety attempt to conquer each feat of finery, I imagined how easy it would be to win the competition. If only they had picked someone who knew how to say please and thank you.

Maybe I’ll have my own reality TV show one day titled “Days of Our Meghan,” where viewers could enjoy watching me blow my nose, walk to my classes in tundra-like conditions, work and write whilst sipping filtered water.

Call the producers now. I think I’ve really got something here. Add a soundtrack to my life, along with dramatic camera angles, and there you have it.



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