Reality Bites

March 2003 - Let's get real. I'm all in favor of reality. As a broadcast journalist, I write about trains, trusts, travails, transitions, trials and tribulations. Contrary to what some people might believe, I don't make this stuff up. I write about real things. But, I must say, that these days, TV is just a little too real for me.

The current television schedule resounds with reality. I guess it started back in the early Nineties when MTV forced a bunch of young people to live together. They called it The Real World. That show went so well that MTV forced another bunch of young people to live together. This group had to do it while driving all over creation in an RV. They call that show Road Rules. But, the reality trend didn't become really trendy until 1999. That's when a fat, naked, gay guy, a crusty old sailor, a woman with an annoying Midwestern accent and an upstart young river guide set the standard for television at the start of the 21st century.

I admit it. I was a big fan of the original Survivor. And, I'm not ashamed to say that I've followed the following Survivors. But, just look at some of what Survivor has spawned: Big Brother; The Amazing Race; The Mole; The Bachelor; The Bachelorette, featuring a jilted contestant from The Bachelor; American Idol; Star Search is back, but it's just not the same without Ed McMahon; Joe Millionaire; Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire (not the one who did, that's for sure!); Meet the Parents, where potential suitors must take lie detector tests; Fear Factor; The Osbournes, where the bleeps outnumber the words two to one. And, we certainly can't forget the latest incarnation: Bridezillas. Brides-to-be chronicle their transformation from being crazy in love to just plain crazy as they prepare to walk down the aisle. What will they think of next? Wait, don't tell me. I really don't want to know.

What I do want to know is why people are so anxious to be on these shows. A lot of these shows are based on the premise of finding true love. Hey, who doesn't want that? But, are people so desperate that they need a TV show to help them find the perfect mate? And, is falling in love - or getting flat-out rejected - something they want to do in front of millions of people each week? I know I don't. But, maybe that's just me.