Snooki and The Situation: I'd tell them to "Sit on it!" but they probably already have.
Guest Shot blog by James DuBuc
I want to meet the individual who created the modern-day boob-tube genre we call "reality television." I would love to sit with this person and hear the tale of how he or she came up with the idea of a show with no script, no paid actors, just cameras and regular folk like me. I want to know how they got past the whole “tell a tale, teach a lesson, solve a problem and leave the audience with something to think about” thing that comes to mind whenever I think of television when I was growing up. Yes, I want to meet this person … and punch them right in the mouth.
Aren’t these newer, slice-of-life "reality" shows such as Jersey Shore and Real Housewives of (Insert Metropolitan Area Here) supposed to have a point? We’re supposed to be cheering for someone, right? Isn’t there some sort of “voting” that’s supposed to take place? I could tolerate these shows if they had some sort of “thing” that I wish I could win.
At least the "classic" reality shows (I can't believe I just used that phrase) were--and in same cases still are--somewhat entertaining. I wouldn’t want to work for Donald Trump, but I’d be willing to go on The Apprentice just so he could fire me and I could whip it out and pee on his desk before walking out the door. Of course, this season he's pitting down-on-their-luck, once-employed entrepreneurs against each other, so in essence Trump is already raining on his own "ha-ha-you're-fired" parade.
I could see myself signing up for Survivor, except it reminds me of going camping with a bunch of really creepy people who probably badmouth me behind my back. I'm okay with the “strength” challenges or the “swimming” challenges, but I always flip the channel when it came to the “food” challenges. That was usually when the one person out of the group, the good looking attractive buff & built guy with the nice smile, would be chowing down on something like sautéed beetle rectum … ugh. Now THERE’S a mouth I want to kiss! Tic Tac, anyone? I'd rather go see what ole’ Fonzie’s up to, even on murky Happy Days YouTube clips. He’s also cute, and probably not munching on beetle butt.
But back to my point: What’s the goal of the new crop of reality shows? What gives? It seems like we’re just watching a bunch of really crappy home movies. But instead of it being some cute little kids playing in the park or celebrating a birthday, we’re watching “Snooki” and “The Situation” in a foul-mouthed drunken stupor in the hot tub. I don’t think “cute.” I think “douche,” as in she probably needs one, and he just IS one. These aren’t people I’d hang with, so why would I want to watch them on TV?
These new reality shows can’t be good for our kids. Think about it. You have an impressionable fourteen year old daughter. You want her to grow up to be a mature, responsible young woman, right? You want her to be polite, respectable and have manners so that eventually she’ll meet her Prince Charming and get married, right?
Now let’s say you have a choice of evening entertainment for your little Princess to watch. Channel one is an old episode of Designing Women. Channel two is The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Now let me remind you that your daughter will be watching women who will set the tone for how she interacts with others and is therefore an expression of you as a parent. Make your choice now … I’ll wait. (Insert Jeopardy! theme music.) I can’t tell you WHICH show to choose, but in a few years everyone you know will describe your daughter as either “Classy” with a capital “C” or as a sniveling little “Runt” … with a capital “C”.
I say we put it to the test. I have a concept for a show that would not only be entertaining but educational as well. It might take some schmoozing with TV execs, since it’s a long-term show, but I think the ratings will be through the roof. Think of it as The Truman Show only with identical twins, each being raised in a carefully planned and scripted life. So let’s say we have little Johnny and little Jack. We’d snatch them from their mother’s arms immediately after being born (oh, the drama!) and separate them into two new families. Johnny lives with “Family A” and his life is molded around old family television shows. Jack, on the other hand, lives with “Family B” and his life is shaped by reality shows.
Johnny’s early years are pleasant enough. Picture him growing up in a household that is a healthy mixture of Happy Days, Eight is Enough, The Brady Bunch, Growing Pains and The Partridge Family.
Now without even watching a single episode, you already know how little Johnny’s going to turn out. He’s polite. He respects his elders. He studies hard in school. He gets his first girlfriend and she’s that sweet girl in his Algebra class that his parents often invite over for dinner.
Sure he gets into trouble sometimes--what adolescent boy doesn’t? But even when his mom and dad catch him ditching school or sneaking a sip of beer from the fridge, gosh darnit, we still love him. His parents have that “family meeting” and they tell him how disappointed they are in him, and he feels terrible about what he’s done. He swears he’ll never do it again, and we believe him. And when that day comes when Johnny drops to one knee and proposes to his girl, (after getting her father’s blessing, of course) we’ll be on the edge of our sofa chairs as she accepts, and we’ll wipe away a tear when he breaks the news to mom and dad. We want Mr. & Mrs. Johnny to have beautiful children that mom and dad dote over. Yes, we watch Johnny over the years and quietly say to ourselves, “I want my kid to be like Johnny.”
And then there’s Jack. His world is a healthy mixture of COPS, The Bachelor, The Anna Nicole Show, Jersey Shore and Real Housewives of New Jersey.
Dixie Carter's "This is not a whorehouse" rant seems so appropriate here.
So let’s talk about Jack. I’m guessing he doesn’t like authority, dabbles in drugs, has a mouth that would make a sailor blush and respect for elders and for women? Umm, sure. He’ll probably have a girlfriend or two or three, but if his parents know about them, they won’t want them sitting at the dinner table and if they do show up, they’ll probably want to wash the chair cushions when they leave.
If Jack does manage to get married, (oh let’s not kid ourselves--he’ll change wives like he changes his underwear, assuming he does the latter) she’ll look pretty but will be the foul mouthed gold digger who secretly wants Jack’s mom and dad to kick the bucket so she can get her hands on their money. Not that they HAVE any, but Jack has her convinced he’s the cock of the walk with his cool rocking Camaro and his gallons of cologne. Mr. & Mrs. Jack won’t just have children; they’ll breed like roaches. Oh joy. We watch Jack over the years and quietly say to ourselves, “If my kid turns out like Jack, I’ll push him down a flight of stairs myself!”
Now that Johnny and Jack are adults, (Johnny just started college. Jack just made bail … again), which one would you want to marry your daughter? Well, I guess that would depend on what you chose to let your daughter watch on TV as well. I’m guessing Johnny has a grand church wedding with “Class” and Jack enjoys a quickie Vegas wedding with his little “Runt.” Let me know soon because I’ve already purchased their gifts. I’ll be sending either a nice set of monogrammed bath towels or a chainsaw enema.