THE BLOG

Edutainment--Must Educational Entertainment Be an Oxymoron?

09/25/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I know that I'm just getting old and out of touch. I'm clearly not cool anymore or 'the business' as my teenage niece and nephew frequently remind me. But must television programming be dominated by reality TV that is mind numbing as hell?

I am far from an elitist when it comes to what I find enjoyable on television but I do not have adequate words to describe what is now being offered as quality programming. Medically themed, reality TV is particularly difficult for me to swallow and keep down.

I get it. Riveting drama and educational programming cost real money and is time consuming to produce but the general foolishness called reality TV is cheap and quick. No one wants to learn useful information about their health when they can be entertained by Dance Your Ass Off - Meringue, The Biggest Loser Siamese Twins and Memoirs of the 600 lb. Woman.

These types of reality shows have created a dismissive attitude about health and especially obesity. We all know that the real winner is not the person that lost the most weight or improved their health the most. The real winner is the person that 'cut the fool' the best and made a name for themselves as a 'reality star', however dubious the achievement. The 'biggest fool' is the one most likely to extend their 15 minutes of fame for another season or parlay asinine behavior into their very own TV reality show.

What person in real life doesn't work, lives on a deserted island, has a chef and nutritionist to develop a menu and prepare their meals and a personal trainer all while competing for $1 million in cash and prizes? And this is what we call reality programming? It truly should be called what it is but I am trying to work on my profanity.

To take a national health emergency, like obesity, that is killing and robbing millions of people of a healthier and more vigorous life and spin it into reality programming is not responsible entertainment. It is sad. Would a reality show about people suffering with AIDS or children battling leukemia be funny, enjoyable or appropriate entertainment?