Since the mid nineties, reality television has become the new wave of entertainment.
It has reshaped the way we think of television -- they even had to create a new Emmy category for it, because, you know, we can't over look the real important contribution a show like Amazing Race has made to our society.
There is some reality TV that is redeemable, but other than a few shows here or there... The Dog Whisperer, the Loud's on An American Family... I find most of reality television repulsive.
Aside from the more obvious reasons, one is that I work in television, and I've seen a lot of my friends, very talented writers and actors, lose work because their shows have been replaced by mindless crap.
Now, not all TV shows that were on the air prior to the reality boom were prize winners. I'll admit there was some real trash and real boring banal crap. But it seems that the networks today are in a race to create the worst show ever. It's the 'Springtime for Hitler' contest come to life.
VH1 is a prime example. Once upon a time, VH1 was a network that I worked for. They aired music programming, an occasional comedy variety show or game show, and the hit documentary series Behind the Music. Nowadays, VH1 is in a contest with itself to give America a cold sore.
If I have to read about another rock bus show laden with desperate skunk haired Jerry Springer rejects, vying for five seconds of herpes fame... It's vomity and dangerous. Let's not forget how VH1' s vetting process, or lack thereof, turned deadly last year when a 'Megan Wants A Millionaire' dating contestant murdered a woman (who turned out to be his previous wife) and threw her in a dumpster. Oops.
Yeah, I'm a bit of a snob. I came up through the ranks with some amazingly talented improv actors and comedians who would challenge me daily to be a better writer, performer, filmmaker... a better person. Even if our material was sometimes raunchy, our work ethic skewed more Wes Anderson than WWF.
So each time I see a girl from the Hills on the red carpet, I feel bad for an actress I know who is still struggling. Every time I see a commercial for Wife Swap, I think of my award winning writer friend who still temps. When I see Snooki interviewing French indie rockers, Phoenix, on the red carpet (no wonder the French hate us) it's like a paper cut to SAG, WGA and oh, every other creative union I can think of.
So, every time someone says to me: "Don't you just love Jersey Shore?"
I say: "Fuck you, no I don't."
And I immediately get an argument... like I stepped all over Schindlers List or some great work of art.
Come On People.
What has become of you? Have you been eating Craisins so long that you can't differentiate between a TV show and a turd?
Here are the 5 most given arguments:
"But, it's fun!"
No, it's not. I wouldn't ever go to the Jersey Shore. Not even to be ironic. And you probably wouldn't either. And don't front like this is some wonderful Nat Geo glimpse into a world you knew nothing about. You never WANTED to know about this world. On purpose. It's Jersey.
"But they're sooooo dumb/lame/ridiculous!"
Yeah. A lot of people I come across are dumb. I try to move away from those people as quickly as possible, not spend a half hour of my time with them. I want to spend time around people who are inspiring -- who are smarter than me... not people who make me question procreation.
They're not even an entertaining stupid, like Laurel and Hardy or Three Stooges stupid. To me it's just your average run of the mill, plebeian, local yokel stupid. Why do I want to give that my attention? Why do we, as a society, want to reward that? I don't go to monster truck rallies. Why do I want to J Woww?
"Well, Ali, it's popular anyways, you might as well give into it."
Um, yeah. Like swine flu? That's a really great idea for enjoying something. Everyone else has hopped on the stupid train, so I should too. That will make me run even farther away from it. To me that argument has just made Jersey Shore the teabagging of television.
"You need to lighten up."
Totally true. In fact it's my New Year's resolution. But I'm sure as hell not going to do it watching a bunch of sorry assed wasted people that have nothing to add to my life.
They don't make me laugh. They don't make me think. They don't really do anything except... what? Advertise Ed Hardy, laziness, and date rape? If I want to lighten up, I will choose something like Craig Ferguson whom I've discovered recently, I really like. Or 30 Rock, which makes me laugh consistently... or The Green Room, a new show on Showtime, which I think is going to turn the talk show genre on it's ear.
"There's nothing else on television."
This, sadly, might be true. I am aware that there are upwards of 700 digital channels and there is a strong possibility that there is nothing of note on. But I'm willing to try to be helpful. I hope I can lead you to better entertainment than watching desperate bachelorette harpies fight over an egotistical millionaire like seagulls fight for scraps of a moldy hotdog on the beach:
How about older episodes of Extras and The Tudors -- those are great. House is a good show. The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are both some of the best television being made right now. 24 is like a new action movie every week, if you like that type of thing...
Not your cup of tea? Try this... turn off the TV. Go see some live music. Go to your local theater and see a stand up or some improv or a play. Can't afford it? Talk to your family. Don't have a family? Try reading a book.
Cause, now MTV has gone and given the stupids all a raise. Next come the cologne and book deals. Clothing lines. Corn nuts...
You see if you keep watching crap, they will keep making it. And writing Us Weekly articles about it. And feeding you super size portions of it. And then Perez Hilton gets richer and music gets worse and The Rock makes a sequel to The Tooth Fairy and our legit theaters close and then they stop teaching art in schools because, really, what's the point?
So, no, I don't give a crap about the Jersey Shore. And neither should you.
Follow Ali MacLean on Twitter: www.twitter.com/aliontheair