The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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How To: Reality TV not so real

Four-year-old girls running around in puffy sequined dresses with fake teeth.

Beautiful young people fighting with each other over something that might have happened one night at some club with the ex of an ex.

Girlfriends determined to change their boyfriends from unemployed-over-tanned-gel-encrusted-hair-tattooed-immature douche bags to, well, at least a douche bag with a job.

If this sounds anything like something you might have seen once, please raise your hand. Now, keep your hand up if this is your idea of a quality television show about “real life.”

Sadly these are the topics that plague televisions all across America. Reality shows have invaded our homes and millions of us have fallen victim to their undeniable self-loathing power.

Now, there are quality reality shows with an actual purpose beyond showcasing half-naked men and women running through mud competing for camera time.
Emmy award winning shows like “Project Runway” and “Amazing Race” have found ways to portray people working toward an admirable goal. Rather than vying for the attention of washed-up artists like Flavor Flav and Brett Michaels, competitors of these shows have the chance to show the world where hard work can take someone.

However, pointing out all the positive things about good shows isn’t nearly as fun as pointing out all the atrocities of other peoples’ “real” problems and heartbreaks.

A more significant point to consider is why we as an audience become so engulfed in the dramas that flicker across the flat screen.
I think the reason audiences are intrigued by the lives of reality show characters is in a way we’re vicariously living through these people. They act in ways not suitable for normal society, and it’s scarily fun to watch.

So the question at hand is, what do we do as an audience when we get sucked into these, let’s admit it, fictitious scenarios? The answer is simple enough, just remember these shows are usually scripted or these particular people are in very special circumstances.

Who wouldn’t want to parade their daughter around in a dress that costs more than most people’s rent for a rhinestone tiara? TLC’s “Toddlers and Tiaras” proves beauty pageants teach the youth of the country that beauty and a hefty entrance fee are the basis of all success. Special circumstance, indeed.

I wouldn’t be surprised if these same child pageant contestants’ biggest aspiration in life is to be the next Lauren Conrad or Heidi Montag.

Take away the pretty people, nice clothes, fancy cars, throw in a couple mullets, missing teeth and BAM. You still get all the mind-numbing bickering of estranged lovers.

Please remember that most of the situations that the “characters” are put in are set up by the producers. I mean really, I don’t personally know anyone whose life is that filled with drama—everyday.

In all seriousness, reality television really is a godsend when it comes to fixing relationships. VH1’s “Tool Academy” gives desperate women the opportunity to subject themselves to humiliation and emotional abuse at the hands of their boyfriends all to millions of viewers.

National television really is the ideal platform to admit that your boyfriend is a sorry excuse of a man who should be sterilized. A show like this is like free couples counseling for people who won’t admit they’re in a bad relationship.

Bottom line is, reality television can be very entertaining because it’s an escape from our own reality. Like watching a train wreck, sometimes it’s just hard to look away.

So here is it, the big epiphany at the end of the pop culture tunnel. If you find yourself starting a conversation with the phrases “Did you see what happened in so-in-so’s life that isn’t mine?” or “Can you believe Kristin is going out with Justin Bobby?” then it is definitely time to change the channel.

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