It’s Theme Thursday again and this week’s subject is Reality TV.
And that’s awesome because I love Reality TV…which is kind of embarrassing because I’m an ENGLISH MAJOR.
My blog should start with the line “I love Shakespeare.”
And I do…I love Shakespeare and Chaucer and Arthur Miller and Harper Lee…in fact, if you haven’t read To Kill A Mockingbird, you need to get off the computer, go to the library, get a copy and do nothing else until you have read the whole amazing thing. It’s on my list of top ten books all Americans should read before they die.
But I love Reality TV too.
Not all Reality TV…not those horrible shows that allow parents to exploit their children…Dance Moms, Toddlers and Tiaras, that horrifying new Honey Boo Boo mess…those seem like borderline child abuse…but maybe that’s because I freak out if my mom tries to show people my awkward adolescent pictures; I can’t imagine the amount of therapy I’d need if those years had been documented and witnessed by millions of bored, judgmental Americans.
But if consenting adults want to flaunt their particular brand of crazy for the chance at fame and fortune…I say that’s good TV. America’s Next Top Model, Hell Kitchen, Cops, I Love Money…bring it on! I’ve actually even used it as a classroom motivator. Before starting the online monitor phase of my life, I worked with inner city kids in St. Louis…and one semester I made a deal with my little darlings that if they stayed focused an worked during class, we would take the last five minutes each day to discuss the latest Flavor of Love episode and vote who we thought should be the next to go.
I’m not exactly PROUD of that educational decision…but it worked.
But I think my favorite reality shows are the precursors to our modern reality programming… those court shows where “the litigants are real” and “the judgments are final!” The things people will sue for—and admit to on national television—send me over the edge. Like, just the other day I was watching The People’s Court and this guy was suing the daughter of a former friend because her dog attacked him and bit him in the crotch.
“Your penis?” The judge clarified.
And I started giggling like a junior high girl.
Now, in my normal reality I try to be a compassionate person. I wouldn't giggle at the victim of an unprovoked crotch biting. However, in my normal reality, most people I know wouldn’t discuss their genitals on national television—much less pantomime the alleged attack with Michael Jackson-esque crotch-grabbing maneuvers. And they certainly wouldn’t explain that they needed $6,000 because their poor scarred junk is now less attractive to women.
So, yes, I giggled.
And when the guy’s girlfriend testified and finally admitted that his penis wasn’t any uglier than any other penis, I laughed so hard I almost choked to death on a handful of popcorn.
Critics of Reality TV say that this is because I am practically a sociopath, that these shows satisfy my base human need to feel superior to others. And I don’t know if that’s really it…I don’t know if I feel SUPERIOR exactly…but I admit Reality TV does make me feel good about my own life.
Like the night after the Crotch Biting Case…my husband and I were lying in bed talking and feeling a little stressed out because things are crazy right now. One of our dogs is getting older and starting to have health problems, we need to rebuild our back porch, and we’re paying two mortgages until we can rent or sell my old house…we have a lot going on.
But still, I could lean over and whisper lovingly in his ear “At least we didn’t talk about your penis on national television.”
And just like that, I’m grateful for my own life again.