When I read A.M. Golden’s Comment of the Day in yesterday’s Open Forum, I realized how long it has been since I wrote anything about TV reality shows, truly a center of popular culture ethics rot for decades now. I have been remiss indeed. I had written about many of these monsters in the past, from “Survivor” and “The Apprentice,” to “The Bachelor” and the fat-to-fit shows, and the even more horrible “let’s watch these miserable D-list celebrities debase themselves on camera so we can feel superior” shows starring attention addicts like Anna Nicole Smith, Scott Baio, the Kardashians and Danny Bonaduce.
I used to write a lot about “American Idol” when Simon Cowell was humiliating deluded contestants who shouldn’t have been allowed to sing in the shower, much less on national television. Criticizing these shows was almost too easy, like shooting celebrity fish in a barrel. I got sick of it, frankly.
A.M. did me a favor by flagging the return of two such shows. As he points out, they really are cruel and exploitative. Reality shows have coarsened our tastes and dulled our ethics alarms. Send them to Hell.
Here is A.M. Golden’s Comment of the Day on two re-booting reality shows. At the end, he asks, “Agree? Disagree?”
I could not agree more.
Two reality shows from the past are re-emerging far too soon with reboots.
The first is “The Biggest Loser”, a weight-loss game show that pushed overweight contestants to the limit with ridiculous and humiliating challenges, caused physical injuries that persist years later and pushed healthy eating on the air while pressuring the players to reduce their intake to unhealthy levels in order to show dramatic weight loss that was presented as being the result of one week’s work when it was often longer.
The reboot promises a more healthy environment. I’m not betting on it. Realistic weight loss is not exciting and boring does not bring in advertising dollars.
Because in any television show, it’s always about the dollars. Continue reading