I wish I was going to come into this with some sort of “here’s a way for turning your weaknesses into a strength” angle, but I don’t think that’s present here. The basic fact of the matter is that a seared Ahi tuna with spring greens is wonderful, but sometimes you really just want a greasey burger and fries. A roasted chicken with seasoned fingerling potatoes and balsamic glaze is a worthwhile culinary creation, but I’ll be damned if I wouldn’t take a box of white chedder shell mac n’ cheese for a last meal.
My point is just that there are finer things in life, things that are worth the time and effort that go into them, but sometimes all we really want, crave, and maybe even need are the crap. The Velveeta cheese. The mental diet equivalent of “mechanically separated chicken” (that’s the first ingredient in most packages of bologna you’ll find).
I’ve battled with my weakness for trashy reality TV for years, but with growing older comes maturity, and that maturity materializes with recognizing one’s limits and one’s nature. Turns out that an indellible fact of my being is that I just love this sh*t.
Flavor of Love. MTV’s Are You The One? Love is Blind. Sexy Beast. The Circle.
I love the fights. I love watching them gossip and bicker and drunkenly profess undying love for someone they’ve known for three hours.
I recognize that magic of TV editing, let that not go unsaid. I realize that the show editors can cut, clip, edit, and paste the footage to make anyone come off to look almost any which way. So in that way, I try to keep a healthy barrier between myself and the FULL enchantment of the brainless web it weaves.
But this latest round of binging I’ve done really brought to bare an important question: How the heck is this even legal?
Like, I understand that everyone on the show likely has to sign contracts, sign waivers, and give permissions to be there and have their likenesses be used and such. They sign up for the ride, I get that. But, I mean, we give ZOOS the ethical side-eye for how they treat their captive animals. How is it okay to take a bunch of young twenty-something’s whose hormones are peaking, throw them into a house with a bunch of unerringly hot people, liquor them up, put cameras on them, and whisper, “Go on. Go. Fight!”
Obviously, this isn’t a legitimate grandstand. I’m not on this little soapbox of mine in any serious capacity, and I’m guilty as HELL for consuming it after a hard week of work, it’s just struck me as funny. We worry about the dignity of captive animals (c’mon, obviously, rightly so), but cheerfully commit similar abuses to our youth for the sake of entertainment.
No kidding, season three of Are You The One? showed one guy having a mental breakdown in one of his private confessionals, whereupon he said, weeping, “I can’t do this anymore,” and tried to exit his confessional and hide behind the camera he’d been speaking to while telling himself to “Pull it together, man.” You know how I know that? Another camera on the ceiling filmed the whole thing. These people can’t take a shower or drop a Number Two without a production team seeing the whole thing.
I don’t really know what I meant to get out of this rant, but I feel better now (lol). Next time you just need a mindless laugh, check out any of the above shows. Just make sure no one sees you do it.