A couple of months ago, I was stuck in bed sick and wrote a column about how addicted I was to reality television. It was like a moth to a flame — give anyone a full day to lie around, some sherbet, and a remote and you know at some point there will be a reality show on the screen, I guarantee it.
It’s no secret that reality television has taken on a life of its own in the past five to 10 years. It has gotten to the point where you can’t identify some things as reality. Every channel has one reality show, one show that features real people and their everyday lives.
But with the reality craze has come obvious ethical issues. What is too much? Where do you draw the line on what is shown on television and what isn’t?
The arguments go both ways. Some of these shows glorify bad situations and even create drama. Some of the people who are made famous by these shows are not even close to someone I would consider a viable role model for the nation’s children. At the end of the day, however, these people (these families) sign waivers and allow cameras into their homes.
What is even real anymore? This has become like the matrix. Shows govern what people wear and where they go to lunch to have drama-filled conversations. Producers even put words in the mouths of people and “steer” situations towards a more incising ending.
The truth is there is no line. Networks will keep pushing the envelope. Challenges will get more extreme. Shows will become more and more far out. The people we have to trust to be ethical and practice good judgment will continue to walk that thin line.
But then, there are things that really show how dangerous true reality is. Last month, one of the men whose family was featured on one of the “Real Housewives” spin-offs committed suicide. Everything the media has come out with since has shown that Russell Armstrong was scared, and told his family so, that he would be shown in a negative light because his public (and taped) divorce included money issues and domestic disputes.
The show wasn’t canceled. Instead, before the season premiere last week, they aired a teary, four-minute segment on how the housewives feel. Bravo! is still airing the second season of the show, which will reportedly show Armstrong’s marriage collapsing.
So, I guess, this is my apology. Yes, it is addicting, but consider this my final note before sending myself to reality TV rehab. Things have gone too far. There is no clear delineation anymore. What is right and wrong? It doesn’t matter, they will air it anyway.
Perhaps I am a year or two late. Maybe I should have quit when Bret Michaels couldn’t find a girl to be with him on the third straight season. Or I could have given it a rest when “The Hills” ended, and it turns out they were on a Hollywood set. But now I am done, I swear.
Wait, it’s Thursday. Isn’t Jersey Shore on tonight? I will quit tomorrow, I promise.
Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652.