I don't watch very much "reality TV," unless you count HGTV (my wife's favorite channel), the Food Network and the Travel Channel among that category. No, I'm referring to shows like "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race" and others that run on the big four traditional networks, as well as some of this other unscripted stuff that pops up on MTV, VH1 and the like.
But, first, a quick aside....does anyone remember when VH1 launched? It was supposed to be music videos for the rest of us, that is, those of us over 20 years of age. And their original lineup of veejays included such luminaries as Don Imus and Rosie O'Donnell (no, I'm not kidding).
But I digress....
A couple of stories in the news recently made me think a little harder than usual about reality television. One was the arrest of someone called "Snooki" from a show on MTV called "Jersey Shore." Now, I've never watched this show, but have recently seen some clips on various news programs, mostly on cable. Snooki apparently also announced recently that "Obama" (note: not PRESIDENT Obama, or even Barack Obama) was the party responsible for taxation of tanning beds or the use of them. If I'm not mistaken, this was part of the recently passed healthcare reform bill, and the tax was a kind of sin tax, not unlike taxes placed on cigarettes or liquor. But Snooki went so far as to say "Obama put the tax on tanning against us," or something similar. Now, let's think....this show is about some young people who happen to be on a reality show on a somewhat minor cable channel, and many of the show's cast indulge in tanning, but for her to think that the President of the United States would do ANYTHING as a direct affront to this group of people is pretty silly. Even for this group.
There's another young man who's in the cast of this show whose nickname is "the Situation." I have no idea what that means, nor do I really want to know. At all.
The other reality star who's been in the news the last few days is Michaele Salahi, who's 1/2 of the White House state-dinner-crashing couple that were in the news a while back, and who's now a member of the cast of yet another of the "Real Housewives" franchise, this time in D.C. Apparently some or all of the cast were on "The View" this week and Mrs. Salahi was making some point or another and Whoopi Goldberg, one of the talkers on this show, emerged from backstage and tapped Mrs. Salahi on the arm to get her attention. Sometime later Mrs. Salahi publicly accused Whoopi of hitting her.
Apparently this gal has a history of this, as I read this morning of a similar instance in a courthouse somewhere in which Mrs. Salahi accused someone of striking her, when they were simply tapping her on the shoulder, again, to get her attention.
The other more distasteful instance of reality television influencing, well, reality, was the "balloon boy" incident a few months (or more) ago in Colorado. Apparently that child's parents, particularly the father, had been trying desperately to get the attention of one or more reality TV producer and determined that this stunt, which did NOT endanger the child as originally thought, would be the way to go about it.
These reality TV folks don't know what they're missing. Why, they could come to my house. Right now. And film me for a couple of days. Working, talking on the telephone, writing E-mails to my employees, co-workers and friends. Exercising. Showering. Eating. Sleeping.
Sounds exciting, doesn't it? I suppose "The Truman Show" isn't as far off as it seemed when that little gem of a movie first came out.
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