Friday, March 25, 2011

The Final Installment of a Very Narcissistic, and Apparently Endless, Odyssey into Why We Love Reality TV

Why does America (and by that , I mean me) love Dancing with the Stars, American Idol and Survivor?

There are many reasons but, most importantly, I feel they are a uniting factor in a fractured society (thanks to my Sociology 101 Professor from 1979 for that sentence. I knew that class would come in handy one day...).

We are, often by choice, split into so many groups, sub-groups and sub-sub groups that it's relaxing and fun to come together on a recreational playing field such as a television show. 

If you like Casey Abrams and I prefer Jacob Lusk and we choose to discuss it over pizza, it's not the same as if we are debating politics or challenging each other's views on global warming. It's also a wonderful distraction from tsunamis, the terror of nuclear accidents and unrest in the middle-east.

In a show like DWTS, it's also refreshing to see celebrities who normally live behind larger-than-life personae's (or, in Wendy William's case, the biggest boobs in the history of mankind. Could they be real?) show their weaknesses and, therefore, be outed as real people.....insecure, self-conscious and terrified at the thought of falling on their asses in front of America (and by that, I mean me). 
Who knew?

And when you have someone like Kirstie Alley shock everyone -- in a good way -- with her moves on the dance floor it's a shot in the arm for less than perfect women everywhere. Watch her win this year, not because she's that fabulous but because a huge demographic of women relate and sympathize.

The same goes for American Idol. It's the odyssey of an unknown, lost in a sea of hopefuls, waiting to show what makes him/her special in an effort to change their lives. It gives us all hope...and conversation. My friends and I love to talk about AI even more than DWTS. "Who's your favorite?" needs no explanation...everyone knows what you mean when you ask that question.

And Survivor reduces it all down. Apparently, from the hissy fits and breakdowns that occur after only a few days, people -- supposedly just like us -- wig out when deprived of their daily conveniences for just for a short time. They, and to some degree we, are reduced to our base selves. We wonder how we'd behave if we had to sit around in wet underwear for days on end, sucking weird mollusks out of their shells for breakfast while spiders the size of beach umbrellas scurry about off camera.

As many of you now know, after only a few hours without electricity, I become a raving loon. So, when these people must function without their hair gel and dental floss, all hell breaks loose.

People also like it because it shows lots of exposed body parts but, depending on the ages involved, that might amount to lots of wrinkles and sags. So, we are titillated but also relate and empathize with the rippling flesh of the slowly deflating survivors as they face uncomfortable nights and growling tummys. 

Survivor has deviated in the past few seasons from "regular" folk and has been focusing on very pretty people. I (and by that, I mean America) think that may be a mistake. If we want pretty, we can watch any other show on television.

And, when hopefuls are voted off these shows and real tears are shed (think the Casey Abrams drama last night) we are subconsciously reminded that despite the electronic/techo world we now inhabit, human emotion is still alive and well and at the bottom of it all.

Friday's here, people and since a house is only as clean as how clean it smells, I am off to randomly spray furniture polish into the air so that when Seth comes home he thinks, however briefly, that I have done something other than catch up on DVRed TV.

Thanks for reading this week and thanks to my new followers. I appreciate it greatly and hope you all have a wonderful weekend.


  1. What was up with the Casey drama last night? He looks sick...literally like he was going to throw up or pass out. He, by the way, is my favorite. ;-) I guess I need to go online and start voting. I really don't want him to go home. I LOVE reality tv. It's kinda spoiled the other drama shows I used to like.

    Happy Friday!!!

  2. I think we love it so much because it shows us that we are normal. Like you said, everyone inside is a scared, insecure child striving for the acceptance of their peers. It's gratifying for us to see other people (mainly celebrities) reduced to a trembling ball of emotion.

  3. He's my favorite, too, Maria. Although he is now tied with Jacob Lusk.

    Casey has colitis and they probably were scaerd that he he was going to puke or faint. He must be extremely intense--hencethe colitis which is both partially an anxiety driven disease and an anxiety causer. He's only 19.

    This year, for the first time, I havebeen voting from the beginning.

  4. Cat, trembling balls of emotion are always entertaining.

  5. Reality tv scares me. We have our own version of Dancing with the Stars... it lasted two years... then we ran out of Stars (there's only 4 million New Zealanders). American Idol... uhm, ok... I understand we can now see the Snooki person..., but I haven't been tempted yet... I don't know what Jersey Shore means... except perhaps it's on the coast... which would make it prime real-estate...??? BUT, I do know the trick of spraying polish and disinfectant into dark corners to make it seem like I've been busy :-) And, I know a cat who (which?) WILL NOT DO what he doesn't want to do... :-)

  6. You know I really enjoy DWTS stars, but Survivor lost it's allure to me years ago. Still, I love the Amazing Race.

  7. For some reason, I have never tried The Amazing Race...I hear from others that it's very good!

    Looking forward to seeing Kirstie burn up the floor with Maks tomorrow!