Back in 1992 when The Real World began as the first "reality television" program on the boobtube, it took America by storm. According to Wikipedia, producers of The Real World thought to make the show scripted but shockingly at the last minute decided to let the characters decide the storyline.
Much has changed since then.
Today, on The Block, we had the privilege of speaking with one of the stars of MTV's The Hills, Kristin Cavallari. At first, I thought it was going to be an 8 minute platform for her to bitch about Spencer, Heidi and Brody. However, the interview went in a completely different direction than anticipated.
When Cavallari was asked about the low point of showcasing her adolescent years to millions who believed this actress' life so glamorous, she was surprisingly quick to point to her alleged drug problem that she asserts MTV created stating:
I understand they need drama for the show and I'm down to do whatever they need, but that sort of thing is not something to be joked about. It really started to affect my personal life...This was done without me agreeing [to do so]. MTV relies so heavily on the tabloids. If I'm on the cover of US Weekly, it helps the ratings.
After continuing to talk to her for another few minutes we all had an epiphany in the studio.
If reality TV is scripted and apparently here to stay, the only difference between it and our standard sitcom will be how we as viewers perceive the characters -- as real people or as fake creations of the shows' producers. When the characters of sitcoms and other "non-reality" based TV shows leave set, they go home to be themselves. When the reality stars leave their fake rented house, they need to parade around town maintaining the character they play on the show.
Reality TV "stars" can never get away from the angel or demon created by the producers. This resulting excessive love or hate from fans, tabloids and the whole entertainment industry frankly has caused massive upheaval in many personal lives of reality TV stars.
Don't get me wrong -- I am not having a pity party for these people who basically get paid thousands go to dinners, clubs and friends' houses. What I am saying is that this is a slippery slope and the more lies that are spread will only end in disaster for the star, the show or the network.
The real question is this -- why are we so into shows that claim to be real but that we know (or should know) are fake and scripted? There are a million answers to that question. After today, I have realized that I am done with my reality television obsession (and I'm not talking about competition shows -- they're kind of different). That being said, I am not done talking about it in Talkarazzi on The Block because, well, that'll never happen.
I understand we need entertainment to wind down at night with a vodka tonic or 6 but our definition of entertainment needs to be redefined.
If for the 100+ episodes of The Hills I have watched, I would have done something constructive, watched a decent show or gone for a jog, I would probably have a body like The Situation's... Wait, maybe that's a bad example.