The Real Housewives of New Jersey – if you’re lucky enough to be unfamiliar with it, is a reality show that remarkably commenced its third season last night (in the US) and revolves around the real lives of some real housewives in…well, if you’re intelligent enough to not watch it, it’s possible you can just guess the rest. A program dedicated to the vile, spoiled, trashy label whores we avoid in supermarket aisles with their big hair, long nails and hideous personalities. Now, that there, is what I call television. But how in the world of fuck did it come to this?
If you were an alien landing on Planet Earth for the first time, stretching your three green legs (well, I think it’s a leg) after a long intergalactic flight and having a little potter around whilst you wait to check-in, you could be forgiven for thinking that Earth was the trailer trash park of the solar system.
You’d check into your Astral Travelodge, relieve the mini bar of its Pringles, turn on the television/open magazines and assume that the females of the race are a bunch of half-witted tarts, half woman/half plastic, that wear terrifying face paint and horrifying clothes that inadequately cover their swollen bodies and that totter about in ridiculous shoes that they think make them look slimmer, but in actual fact make them look handicapped. Yes, your legs do look slimmer in those high heels, but on the downside, when you walk, you look like a spastic.
The men folk would appear like priapic gristle-headed Neanderthals whose only pleasures were football, sports cars, pointless gadgets and wanking over the women in the previous paragraph. What else is there? And who, despite still relying on their mother to do most things for them including part their hair and wash their dicks, are misogynistic gynaephobes who are only able to demonstrate anything even nearing emotion after several metres of beer and snorting four dozen flaming Sambucas.
And for the most part… you’d be absolutely right.
Reality TV has done little to quell this image. In fact, with its ability to turn trailer trash nobodies – who shouldn’t even be allowed access to stickle bricks, let alone leave the house without a carer, let alone be allowed outdoors without a tongue restraint, let alone be given air time on television – into celebrities of sorts, it has done for the human race and celebdom what fake designer handbags have done for the real thing; made the authentic ones look tawdry and not just not worth having, but something repugnant that should be avoided.
Big Brother was tolerable for a season, when it was still considered a social experiment, but by the time the third season came around, it had started to parody itself and despite set changes, the formula remained unchanged, the people were still the same: different names, different boob jobs (often on the same body), but still the same. Towards the end you could guarantee the gay man, the big fake-titted one, the even bigger fake-titted one, the really massive fake-titted one, the whacky one, the gobby one; and you could be fairly sure that most of them, save one if you were really lucky, were at least high-end obnoxious. And the dirty bastards that we are (that’s why we tune in) pleasurably watch these loathsome creatures behave like spoiled and brainless vile cretins in public.
We still all love a public hanging.
Since then television as we know it has been under constant attack from a glut of poorly designed, cleverly edited reality TV programmes, some so absurdly dull that it makes you wonder who you are sharing the rest of the planet with. Now, we get to watch normal people cook for each other, cut each other’s hair, go to job interviews and countless other menial things that we generally don’t even enjoy doing ourselves. If someone asked me if I wanted to come over and watch them cook a meal, I’d tell them to stick cloves in their eyes, chilli in their knickers and then go and fuck themselves with a studded rolling pin.
The argument for watching television used to be that it was a form of escapism. In what way is watching people even more dull than yourself do dull things, escapism? The more I watch TV, the more alienated I feel, I suppose that’s escapism. And if the purpose of TV is escapism, then why are we watching reality TV anyway?
So now we have the term ‘reality TV star’ in our vocabulary. More proof that as a species our intellect is in decline and that the declivity is pretty steep. Trash culture has reached critical mass.
Personally, when I witness a car crash in the street, I look away and carry on wherever I was going (to watch snuff porn). The vulgar people that stand around gawping and wishing they’d brought popcorn make me uncomfortable and nauseous. Similarly, I don’t want to watch narcassistic proletariats with zero charisma splurging themselves and their vile bodies in front of the camera because their retarded friends think they’re whacky and have convinced them that they may have star quality. I don’t even want to be a casual viewer. I’m a ‘really don’t give a fuck about celebrity, get me outta here’.
Schadenfraude is one of the more despicable human qualities. There’s nothing more amusing to me than watching a small child in bare feet running screaming across hot sand trying to get to the nearest shade from a deckchair twenty feet away. Ok, so I’ve laughed ‘til I’ve cried. I’m not proud of it. In fact I’m laughing again at the thought of it. Actually, fuck pride, it was funny. But delightfully watching the gratuitous downfall of some repugnant character, when they are selected just for that reason – because they are bound to irritate the populace, and then edited to make them appear much worse than they actually are, well it’s not even reality. Intentionally selecting these objectionable individuals and parading them in front of us to despise is no better than including burns’ victims in a beauty contest, so we can all be repelled at their funny melted faces.
“One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut
TV is getting more and more sordid, costing less to make, costing more to watch and generally insulting our common intellect and accelerating the fall of humanity. And reality TV is even more painful. If other people were that interesting, we wouldn’t have television in the first place, right?
So don’t miss season three of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. They shop, they put on make-up, they bitch, they collect their kids from school, they get their nails done. Edge-of-the-seat stuff.
Remember when TV personalities were called that because they had one?
Share your thoughts on the declining quality of television since the advent of reality TV by leaving a comment.
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