Friday, July 2, 2010

Time to Stop Being Nice and Start Getting Real

Disclaimer: I'll probably post about this more thoroughly at a later date, but I have zero interest in becoming famous. Yes, I want my words to be widely read -- which, I'd imagine, is the case for every single writer who is honest with him or herself -- but I'm not interested in having people "know" who I am. As such, please don't misconstrue anything in this post as being a case of "jealousy." These are just my thoughts and opinions on the current state of entertainment.

Recently, I touched base on the daunting topic that is the vast suckitude of NBC's "100 Questions." Well, this got me thinking...

There is a lot of crap out there in the entertainment world. (Let it never be said that I am averse to using understatements.)

You know what else got me thinking about this -- and this is where I surely alienate some readers -- a beautiful, unnamed female (who may or may not be the wife) is going to drag me to see the most recent Twilight movie this weekend. ("He did not just go there!")

Yeah, I just went there.

I'm sure they are good, upstanding people in real life, but Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson really should consider taking acting lessons.

[As mentioned the other day, when critiquing the "acting" of the cast of "100 Questions," I can't act. I never claim to have that ability. At the same time, I'm not earning millions to do so, which means it's okay for me to be a less-than-mediocre actor. Stewart and Pattinson have no such excuse.]

Before I forget, I should, in all fairness, point out that we are going to see two (2) movies and I get to pick the other one. So don’t cry for me, Argentina (or any other nation which feels like weeping at the thought of their beloved Ducks Out Of A Row guy being “forced” to see a movie he’s not particularly into… which is probably most nations).

Now, as much as I dislike such tripe as the aforementioned tv show and cardboard-caliber acting in a certain popular movie series, the true bane of my existence is reality tv.


If you know what those three letters stand for, raise your hands. No, raise them ALL the way up so everyone can see.

For those who don't, it's from "Jersey Shore” and stands for "Gym, Tan, Laundry,” which is, I believe, the daily regiment for one of the Jersey Shorers. (Apparently, he is taking full advantage of everything life has to offer.)

With “Jersey Shore,” MTV managed to take yet another group of "normal" people, put them on a tv show and turn them into pseudo-celebrities. [Anytime I read the term “reality star,” it makes me want to vomit.]

From the network's perspective, why not? In the term of finances, a reality show costs barely anything in comparison to producing an actual series. There is zero creativity involved, so no need to pay writers. And there is also no need to evaluate talent. All they have to do is find controversial, physically attractive people who they think will party a lot and hook up with each other (i.e., practically any young adult).

Why do people watch a show that boasts neither creativity nor talent? Well, having been young once, I think there is a fair amount of "that could be me" mentality when seeing these regular folks become famous, and that enthralls those who aspire to having fame.

"If I could just get on The Real World, people could see how great I am at acting."

"Have you ever acted before, or taken any classes?"

"No, but how hard can it be? Besides, why would I take time to try and perfect a craft when I want fame and money now?"

Here's my complaint: If I want to see real people living life, is turning on the telly (that's for my British readers...) really the best way to do it? I mean, what's wrong with just living my own life and interacting with normal people?

“But real life is so boring” whines the hundreds of millions of teenagers who avidly read Ducks.

“Have you considered the possibility that if you can’t find interesting things in this world then you are the ones who are boring?” asks the guy who avidly writes Ducks.

Score: 1 for old guy, 0 for youth. Ha! [Fortunately, the young will grow in time.]

Sure, the people I know are not prone to acting like drunken buffoons (well, at least not all the time...), but the interactions with them are at least genuine and reciprocated. Maybe I can’t do it from the couch (unless they either come over or I install cameras in all their homes…), but shouldn’t life be about “getting out there” and experiencing the world?

Although, I suppose if you’re merely concerned with GTL, maybe it’s not.*

I understand the value of periodic escapism. Sometimes it’s okay to turn the brain off for a bit and unwind.** But why settle for something which is clearly created to pander to the lowest denominator?

It’s almost as if all networks have the George Costanza response from when he was asked -- by “the head of NBC” in the tv show "Seinfeld" -- as to why people would watch the program Jerry and he were pitching.

Head of NBC: “Why will people watch a show about nothing?”

George C.: “Because it’s on tv.”

Yep. That seems about right.

* Full disclosure: I go to the gym and take care of laundry. I just don’t consider either to be a focal point of my life.

** I’m not being critical of watching television as a whole. When performed in moderation, it’s certainly an okay way to relax a bit. Of course, the “moderation” part is key.

Monday’s post: Further exploration of modern entertainment… handled in a hopefully entertaining manner.


  1. I just don't understand anyone who would actually want laundry as part of their daily life. :-)

  2. You reference Seinfeld and I'll definitely be back for more. Also THANK YOU for hating reality TV.

  3. "Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson really should consider taking acting lessons."

    amen to that. And when it comes to MTV I've long ago concluded that it's main goal is to "stupidify" people who are watching it.

  4. I agree with you...reality TV has become a substitute for interacting with our fellow human beings. People are more invested in people they'll never meet than their own neighbors, co-workers, and (worst of all) FAMILY MEMBERS!

  5. I am so with you. No alienation here. I find out about friends who are avid fans of "X" Reality show and I immediately lose respect for them...but I keep it to myself ;-)

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Hear, hear! I don't watch a lot of TV to begin with, and I can't stand reality shows! Those people drive me nuts. My friends love them so I've been forced to watch a few. It was such a waste of precious time!

  8. Great blog John (and I'm not saying that just because you're one of my favorite kids,in the top five for sure). This is my first comment (a major breakthrough) I don't really read a lot of blogs but I really enjoy yours. Evidently a lot of other people do to. Keep up the good work of sharing your insights on life.

  9. I was seriously hoping this was the direction you'd go before opening this post when I saw it on the dashboard. Humbly, I admit to watching the Real World several times (Puck & Pedro drama was better than any writer could have imagined back in the day). That was of course when I was still in High School!

    Worse though were the college years without cable. There was a show called the 5th Wheel. It was a retarded dating show that put a flock of retards on TV in hopes some would get naked on camera. One that stands out in my mind had a "model" in a hot tub just posing for the camera as the other two tried to actually pretend they were on a date. At that moment, I realized people were truly using it to try to launch their career.

    You know how wannabe models would pose for nudie mags in hopes of launching their carreer? Reality TV is basically the modern equivalent. Censored Porn with people NOT following an exact script!

  10. Twilight is AWESOME!!!!!

    Someone who may or MAY NOT be...John's wife.

  11. argentina is crying for losing to germany in a blow out.
    dig the seinfeld quote.
    i'm gonna see the twilight films too. i won't be as brave as you to advertise it.

  12. "Why do people watch a show that boasts neither creativity nor talent?"

    I am really fascinated in the answer to that question.

  13. The only show that I watch that could remotely be called a "reality" show is So You Think You Can Dance. And that requires incredible talent and creativity. I do not get the ones like Survivor, etc. So strange.

    Real life is usually much more interesting and strange than tv anyways (at least mine is)

  14. Love this post.

    My first thought about reality teevee?

    Get. A. Life.

    But you've reminded me...I need to do some laundry.

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