it always surprises me how people of moderate to high intelligence and good morals can easily forfeit all of the above when it comes to their choices of entertainment. at the moment, i am specifically thinking of television and film.
i guess i should mention my "junk food" philosophy for my own viewing choices first. simply put, even the healthiest eaters/consumers on occasion like to indulge in a cheeseburger and milkshake... and the same can be said for any person who generally is choosy about what media and entertainment she consumes. on occasion i watch pointless shows, movies and random you tube videos because they're complete fluff, and then i go about my day hopefully choosing not to binge too long on "19 and Counting" or "LA Ink", to name a couple of my recently odd obsessions...
we all do it, i recognize that. here's what scares me, fellow americans: the obsession.
so, if you didn't know, abc's "lost" recently wrapped up - it sent eric into a binge, watching all of seasons 1- 5 in about oh, a month. he'd never watched it before, and i hadn't past season 3 (i gave up because i had a life at the time) as the end of season 5 approached, we were brain-sick. although it is a fairly good show, i can't imagine being a die-hard fan. i have friends who had parties for the final episode, and posted ridiculous statuses all over fb and the like about it afterwards... people - it's just a show!
that's not to say, however, that if there were a star trek series airing currently that i might not be a little bit obsessed myself - thanks to my dad and grandma, i am a die hard trekkie. BUT! that, of course, is different right?
but here's the really strange thing about current trends in tv that get me frustrated... the sheer gullibility, it seems, of the american public when it comes to these truly awful "reality shows". i know, this rant comes way late - i mean, people were going on about this ten years ago now.
it simply amazes me how intensely some people, who i find to be pleasant and intelligent in every way, choose to identify with the participants and "celebrity hosts" on shows such as "the bachelor", "dancing with the stars", "american idol" (maybe i could identify with dear simon), or my least favorite: "the biggest loser".
again, in my moments of junk food urge tv watching, i will confess to having watched these shows. i will even admit to having looked at the "biggest loser" website in a moment of emotional and existential misery and contemplated becoming a contestant - wow. but thank god - it passed! and the next day, i looked at my wasted hours of watching and cringed in shame.
you know the people i'm talking about. i'm thinking of a couple in their 50's right now who are devout christians, politically conservative, devoted to education and all things good - their favorite show? dancing with the stars. how? how can a person who would never think to wear anything made of lycra and rhinestones, and certainly not anything revealing cleavage or thigh, who would never sponsor a highschool dance or prom, spend a season wondering if the star football player will succeed in learning to do an authentic tango?
or the girls my age, who are certainly their own people, who are not shy to share their opinions and express their dreams of finding partners who respect them someday, who watch "the bachelor" in all its tacky glory, and seem riveted to shows like "sixteen and pregnant"? i am sick at heart when these shows come up in conversation. surely there is something better to spend your time on. surely these lovely and intelligent women can see how shows like this undermine the value of women at large and encourage negative and unhealthy attitudes toward sexual and emotional relationships... aaaagghhhh.
and finally, why i cannot stand "biggest loser" and shows of that ilk. they are marketed as self help, inspiration, and the like, as we see product after product spew from these franchises that are nothing more than sugar water saying it's a magic cure all. these shows take people who have obviously struggled with their physical and sometimes emotional well being, and break them down, exploiting them and putting them through extreme and sometimes life threatening "challenges", in order to produce what we all want: good tv. that's it.
as a woman who has struggled with self image, a bad relationship, and in the last few years - weight gain, i see most of these shows as pure poison. probably of the alcoholic variety - something that goes down smooth, makes you feel good, and then twists it all into pure misery in a very short amount of time. how does any one watch a show like this and not feel completely powerless and worthless? it is bottled false hope. and we ought to know by now, that this is what sells best in our world.