The Real Reality (ms)

As I sat watching the flat panel screen in the front room I was advised by a breathless voice fairly exploding with excitement that a new reality show would soon be available for my viewing pleasure. Mister Excitement said it would feature some star, along with cast and crew, in search of someone who did something or who wanted to be the next whatever. Well, I thought, there’s a spellbinding hour.

Reality shows are enough to send me in search of a station that shows old movies or stories that at least had some literary value. Somebody wrote those things then actors brought the words to life. I suppose the problem is all that costs money. Everybody had to be paid so before long you could be talking big bucks just to put an hour on the air. I don’t know for sure but I would imagine a reality show costs a whole lot less. No cast to speak of, not a big crew, once you build the set you needn’t replace it…acceptable economics.

Of course the good side is folks who might otherwise have their talents and abilities confined to a club in East Nowhere (just down the road from Where The Heck Are We Ville) get a chance to play to a national audience. If they have “it” (whatever that is) they can go on to major stardom. So, in that regard it works out because someone gets a free ticket to Make Believe Land, that place where stars are known to dwell.

I guess the fact that I don’t care a whole lot about the would-be stars that appear on the shows is my main hang up. Pawn shop owners, bounty hunters, alligator wrestlers might hold my attention for an hour but I don’t think I would be back. Maybe I’m just mad because they don’t have a reality show for the guy with the grayest hair or someone who can remember a tune from fifty years ago and recite most of the words. Better yet someone who can remember shows like Ed Sullivan on Sunday nights with acts like the guy spinning plates at the end of willowy sticks. Why, he might have had nearly two-dozen plates spinning by the time the curtain came down. In a way I guess that was the reality show of its day but its probably better thought of as escapism.

Pack up all your cares and woes here we go off to the land of spinning plates and knife throwing acts, of magic and comedy all neatly packaged in one-hour blocks. For that hour forget the bills, the home foreclosure, the cost of the kids braces, the oil leaking four-wheel junker parked in your drive. Watch those plates go, look at those knives, isn’t that something!

You know, truth be told I guess things haven’t really changed. The stage is different, they’ve put the plates away and replaced them with alligators but the name of the game, well, that’s still the same.

–Mike Stevens

~ by admin on February 4, 2012.

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