Reality TV: An experiment in narcissism gone terribly wrong

Flash back to 1992. Anyone remember season one of The Real World? Seven strangers picked to live in a house with no Jacuzzi and no fancy colorful furniture. The Real World. My introduction to Reality Television.  Let’s think of it as my gateway drug so to speak. In 1992, The Real World a low budget social experiment. Very low budget. In 2011, the Real World season 1 house is a crappy New York loft compared to the modern-day Real World house. This seasons cast would be stunned if they arrived at a house of that form (although it might actually be funny to watch the arrival of a new cast to a house with that decor). The cast mates did not look like your next Playboy bunny, or Men’s Health model. They were regular people on TV. Seven real people with real life problems.

Stars of the original reality tv show, colour
Image via Wikipedia

 

 

What happened to the concept of reality television. Over the years, reality TV has exploited the lives of  many, and narcissism is spreading faster than a California wildfire.

I admit, I once loved a good reality TV show.  I had a strange addiction (I do relapse at times) to watching other people’s lives, while my own was just passing me by. I wanted to be on the Real World, and live in a house with six strangers. I went to college I was used to living with strangers, I was ready to be made famous by MTV. Or maybe not.

 Nearly 20 years after season 1 of the Real World, now mostly every TV station has their own reality TV show. Reality fills up the programming of Bravo and E!. Who do I need to talk to about getting my own show over there? I am exciting to watch, right? The cameras can be on me right now as I type this blog. I can even drink a glass of wine while typing for added enjoyment.

The “reality” of reality television is that so many people are willing to do anything to grab a quick 15 minutes of fame. Once the cameras have stopped rolling, the next struggle is to actually stay relevant. Sorry reality TV stars, Americans have a short attention span, once your time is up, it is really up.  There are always more people available who want to take their place on television.

In similar fashion as video killed the radio star, reality television has killed the actor. Sorry real actors. Watching people yell, scream, and poor drinks on each other is a much more entertaining form of scripted television. What ever happened to the sitcom? Oh wait, they still do exist sometimes. From watching Real Housewives who aren’t really housewives, to Basketball Wives who have never been married to a basketball player (and most likely never will be), we have managed to take the time to care a great deal  about other people’s lives to see what drama they will bring us on a weekly basis. What would be on E! network if the Kardashian family never existed? Kim Kardashian’s wedding special is really a 2 part series. Really? Don’t we all know what happens in the end anyway. What could they possibly show for 4 hours? I wonder, maybe some good old-fashioned staged tears, and complaints about virtually nothing. People are watching. Okay you got me, I may even watch just to see what the big deal is.

Yet, reality TV did teach us a few life lessons, let’s see who was actually paying attention:

1. Virtually anyone can instantly have reality TV fame. An adventure filled life is not needed. If you have a lot of money, even better. Overdramatize every aspect of your life, and BOOM, you’re a star!

2. Talent is not a necessity to attract an audience. So all of you people looking for your hidden talents to become a star can now stop. Just come as you are and we will accept you.

3. A pretty face and a hot body (preferably one that has been enhanced by a plastic surgeon) can take you a long way in life. Or, at least to a second or third season. Substance is not needed. Again ask Kim, Kendra, or that Tila Tequila chick.

4. If your mom is super power-hungry for her own fame, even better for you! Anyone watch Toddlers and Tiaras? Mom’s start taking lessons from Kris Jenner immediately.

5. Love on television does exist, sometimes. If your can’t find love on the bachelor, maybe you will find it on the bachelor pad. Keep trying, reality TV love is out there for you. Okay maybe not love, but a real quick hook up and dramatic breakup for sure!

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Dating 101- Start By Breaking All The Rules!

An astronomical amount of money is being made off of exploiting single women. It is a market where people portray as wanting to help but really feed off of desperation.

Bookstores are over flooded with relationship books aimed particularly at women. The topics range from how to find a date, how to get that man to commit, how to get him to marry you, and the hundreds of different rules on dating. It is no wonder that so many women act a little bit crazy when it comes to dating. Some will never know what is right or wrong, what to really say, how to really act, and when to really leave because that man you are dating was never any good to begin with. But you followed all the rules, and you got him to commit. Even if that commitment makes you just a tad bit miserable on a daily basis.

There are seminars held for women on how to catch a man and keep him. While these seminars are not cheap, many women line up to attend. Do they work? I hope so because they take time and money. In fact you should be able to walk out of one with your very own personal husband. At least then I would know that I got my money’s worth. You pay enough money to learn how to find a man, so why not just give you one at the end of the class. Do they have similar seminars for men on how to find a woman? If so, do men actually attend?

Some women hold on to relationship books as if it is their very own personal bible, or textbook. Pages are highlighted, sticky notes hold important facts, and some women end up quoting these books to their friends and family. Next someone should create the college course on “How to find a man 101”, I am sure many female students and even professors will sign up to take that course. Heck, maybe they will let me teach it! Oh wait, I am still single so I guess I wouldn’t be the best candidate. But then again, I know how to find a man (actually we all do), but maybe I can teach a course in how to find one, since that is the main objective.

Steve Harvey has made a fortune exploiting women’s insecurities about being single. He has found a market that is a gold mine. The insecure single woman!  They have launched his book to the New York Times best sellers list, and someone thought that they even let him come with a second book. Everyday a new relationship book, or article is passed around from woman to woman. These books are the topics of book club discussions and, work lunch chatter. Even the Jersey Shore’s own Jwoww wrote a book on “The Rules” of dating. Don’t worry my book will be in stores soon, I hope it becomes a best seller.

Since dating advice is a big market for success, let me add in my own two cents. (Maybe I will be famous tomorrow)

With all the different so-called “rules” of dating, there really are No Rules! Rules are meant to be broken, so just break them. You may find that you get better success breaking the rules than following your highlighted sentences in your dating advice book.  Dating is not simple. It does not break down into a map, or a blueprint that will lead you to a husband at the end. If it did then we would all be paired up with someone. Dating is complex, because people are complex beings. Not all women are alike and certainly not all men are alike. Therefore, look at the person you are dealing with, and make your next move person specific.

Other Things- Not Rules

To call or not to call: As a woman should you ask a man for his number? Well you can sit and wait for him to ask. But what if he doesn’t ask?  The you will sit and drive yourself crazy wondering why he has not asked for your number of course. So if you want to talk to him, ask for his number. If that turns him off or sends him away, then tell him to kick rocks that was not the man for you. And you will have to admit to yourself that he was ambivalent about you in the first place because he never asked for your number.

To email or not to email: When dating online you may wonder if you should send a message to a person of interest. Well if you want to talk to him then you should. Why not? Oh that might turn him off right? Well again, tell him to kick rocks. You are saving yourself trouble for later. Send a message, if there is interest, then its not a problem.

To ask out on a date or not ask out: Well do you want to hang out with him or not? Yes, a man will ask you out if he wants to spend time with you. But, if you want to go out with him and see what the vibe is like then invite him out. Keep it simple please! For instance, if you were going to see a free concert, grab a cup of coffee, or go to the beach, ask him if he would like to come along. No harm in inviting him to spend time with you. You were going to go anyway, so if he turns you down you can still have fun without him. Again keep it simple! I say that because you don’t want the awkwardness of who is going to pay for this date since you asked him to come along.

To make the first contact after the first date: Sure why not! Just not too soon, you don’t want to smother. But if its the next day, and you want to say hello, call, text, or email. If you are afraid of him losing interest because of that small contact, well you already know…tell him to kick rocks! If that turns him off, then he really wasn’t that into you anyway.

Save yourself the trouble of ending up in a complicated situation later by weeding out the bad ones in the beginning. Please don’t be afraid to quote Jay-Z and say, “on to the next one”! And trust me there will be a next one.

If Facebook is the devil, then I guess the internet is our modern day Hell

Let me be honest, I love Facebook! When it first came out, I hated it, really hated it. It was the nosy, tell all, put my life on blast, gossip site, but now I love you facebook! I never thought  I would break up with myspace, to start a new relationship with facebook. Myspace was good to me, treated me well, but like most relationships we eventually outgrew each other. Myspace is like a sorry ex boyfriend who is not as cool as my new boyfriend, Facebook!

Devil :   Happy little devil with pitchfork with little hearts Stock PhotoSince I live on a Island thousands of miles from the mainland, facebook has been the major link to the my friends and family scattered throughout the continental US. With facebook I feel like I have never left my best friends and they can see my pictures of the island. I can  keep up with family members who I haven’t spoke to in years, and I now know what happened to those people from High School who I thought I would never see again in life after the music stopped on graduation day.

Facebook, you are not so bad after all. You do have some negative, annoying traits that I can’t stand,  but it wouldn’t be a real relationship if you didn’t right? So I guess I will just like what I can tolerate about you, and ignore the rest.

I know a lot of people who use facebook, I even met a guy who asked me if I had facebook after I denied giving him my number. Of course I lied and said no! I didn’t want to ever be a memory in his mind after I escaped his conversation. So it has become a common thought to just assume that everyone has a facebook account or two.

But lately I have met a few men who do not have facebook accounts!  Yup, they really are not on facebook, how do they survive!  All are random men who do not know each other. So, it’s strange that they all have the same response when I ask why; “Facebook is the devil”.  The devil? To me it seems a little harsh to call it the devil. Then I thought:  facebook is not the devil, but people who use the account can turn it into what may eventually become their own personal hell!

I will admit facebook is addicting, one of my friends recently compared it to crack. And yes it can cause trouble, if you allow trouble. However, you can have a safe, friendly account if you use it the right way. I know people who have gotten into fights with their partners because of pictures that pop up through friends tagging, random friend requests, racy comments, or the high number of friends they have. The truth is, if you respect your account, and respect your partner then there really should not be anything to worry about. You can always delete people who do not respect your relationship! Don’t do dirt, and the dirt won’t be able to find you.

The devil and facebook do have something in common: they both prosper with the power from mankind. People give the devil and facebook the power to work in evil ways. The internet is full of a variety of information about the lives of many people. I will admit that I have googled men that I have went out with just to see if I could find out anything about them on the internet. Yes, a lot of people do that! Personally I like to know what I am getting into to beforehand.

With facebook, people get a firsthand look into the lives of others. They will end up knowing your friends, family, exes, and friends of friends. Pictures of dinners, vacations, and even your work environment may pop up.  Life becomes an open book, and if you dig deep enough you will know the full story (or have enough information to create your own story). Facebook stalking has become the common silent conversation, new age snooping with less work.  Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of the individual to make sure your life is clean, and there aren’t any shocking, incriminating photos that will compromise your own integrity. Maybe with the new internet generation we will all live a more moral life because of what may come out. Probably not. But be smart when using the internet or facebook. Pictures are taken and posted everyday. So even if you are not on facebook, it doesn’t mean your picture won’t show up somewhere.