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Monday, June 6, 2011

The WORST Consequence of Being a Reality TV Star

Yesterday, I was standing in a checkout line when I saw a magazine – which one doesn’t really matter – and the headline showed one of the women from Real Housewives of someplace or Desperately Real Housewives of somewhere with the headline, “Fame Destroyed My Family.”

I almost forgot to actually purchase my green tea because I was so distracted.  It’s not often that I’ve actually been struck dumbfound, but that’s about as close as I come.  All I could think was, “Fame didn’t destroy your family, stupidity did.”

Stupidity in the form of greed.  Stupidity in the form of vanity.  Reality television is nothing if not an excuse to encourage stupid behavior for the sake of entertainment.  The easiest way to create a reality program is to just pick one of the Seven Deadly Sins and come up with a framework to entice participants into reveling in the vice.

Anyone that agrees to be a part of a reality show knows what the deal is.  Perhaps in the very earliest days of the modern reality shows, people might have gotten away with saying that they didn’t realize what would happen.  However, that went out the window many years ago, possibly as early as following MTV’s first season of “The Real World.” That was 1992.

Even by the time of the first “Survivor” in 2000 with attention whore Richard Hatch at the center, it was hard to believe that participants weren’t aware of what kind of attention might come their way.

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

If you’re going into a reality show at this point – after gems like “The Anna Nicole Show” and “Growing Up Gotti” – and you want anyone to believe that you’re doing it for altruistic reasons…well, good luck with that.  To want to expose yourself to the level required for producers to be able to put together a viable entertainment product requires a healthy dose of ego, which invariably leads down the path of stupidity.

So, there are no victims allowed any more in reality television.  There are no secrets.  Even wacked out quasi-celebrities like Gary Busey and Jeff Conway know exactly what they’re signing on for.  Conway’s recent death, after his downward spiral was so lovingly documented on “Celebrity Rehab,” was a sad reminder of the scuzzy underbelly of the genre.

There’s nothing wrong necessarily with seeking fame and fortune.  Mankind has been doing it for millennia.  Just don’t try to pretend that anyone doesn’t know the risks that are entailed therein.  Explorers and prospectors back in their generations knew what they were getting themselves into, and today’s reality show stars, professional athletes and pop singer wannabes are just as aware.  If you chase the limelight, you run the risk of catching it.  There is to be no bitching once it happens.

There is one way to keep stupidity from ruining a person’s life.  That would be to actually not act in a stupid way.  Of course, that wouldn’t make for good television.  The Seven Deadly have nothing on the sin of not being entertaining in the modern world.  It’s the worst – and deadliest – sin of all.

21 comments:

So true. I watched the Real Housewives of something, Orange County I think, the other day. After each season they have this "gathering" where they discuss everything that happened. Every fight, every party. Everything! One of them said that the producers, on purpose, had showed her from her worst side, or whatever the called it. And I just like: hey, the producers never told you how to act. You did this, all by yourself.

(Sorry for my bad English..)

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