Oh Oprah, why have you forsaken us?
We watched you to learn how to make ourselves feel better. It was about empowerment. We wanted to grow, from the inside out.
We’re about to start the second fall tv season since you left us alone in the tv wilderness to start your own channel, and we’ve been drowning in a tragic sea of programming ever since.
The latest reality/exploitation show is a spin-off from Toddlers and Tiaras following the life of 6-year-old Alana Thompson. She’s the pixie stick sucking, Mountain Dew pounding child who had parents everywhere gasping at her (and her mom’s) behavior. When scandal like that hits, there’s only one thing tv producers are going to do: milk it.
The show is about a 32-year-old grandmother who attends food auctions, has nicknames for everyone in her family (daughters are Honey Boo Boo, Chickadee, Pumpkin and Chubbette, while the father of the clan is Sugar Bear), and just happens to have a pageant obsessed precocious 6-year-old, who constantly says ridiculous (and sometimes funny) things.
“You’d better redneckognize!”
When a show with people born and raised speaking English is subtitled, you know this is not about raising the bar. This about finding the lowest form of comedy possible, and exploiting it as much as possible. The opening ‘theme song’ is mom, June Thompson, farting. Seriously.
We watch shows like Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo, Teen Mom, Kardashians, Jersey Shore, etc to feel better about ourselves because we’re not as bad as them.
But who’s getting the last laugh? Pauly D made $11M last year, and Snooki can’t not appear on the cover of a tabloid every week.
These shows are a roadside train wreck that you can’t unsee and can’t turn away from.
Blogs are like that too.
Have you ever noticed the most dramatic, flawed, tragic ones are some of the most popular? It’s not genuine empathy we feel for these people, it’s “OMFG, I’m glad I’m not you.”
Oprah, in a world without you as our personal guide to spirituality and growth, we’re dancing with the Honey Boo Boo Snooki Devil because it’s easy. It’s like candy for our soul, so sweet that it feels good, but we end up rotting from the inside out. No longer are we aspiring to greatness, we’re just trying to stay ahead of the lowest common denominator.
Please come back and save us before next Wednesday, dear Oprah, because you know we’re going to watch again. and again. and again. We can’t help ourselves.
So .. did you watch? Will you watch again? What are your thoughts on reality shows like this?
Photo courtesy TLC
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