First of all, stupider is a word and I’ll explain that at the end. (Stupider) is not the point of this post, reality shows are – and I want to know – are reality shows making us stupider?
Recent events relating to the now cancelled reality show Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo got me thinking (once again; because yes, this isn’t the first time I’ve felt stupider about this whole reality TV thing…) about reality TV and the impact it has had on all of us as a society.
Are Reality Shows Making Us Stupider?
Let’s first define the difference between the types of reality TV shows. Because there are some good ones and some not so. And I believe we can agree that some are worth watching and some should have never made it off the cutting room floor.
Reality Show Example #1: American Pickers
Two guys driving around the country buying up old stuff to re-purpose and sell or keep. While doing so, viewers learn the history of said items and also meet some interesting folks from around the world.
Grade: A- (Educational, Recycle, Campy, Funny, Sometimes annoying – personal opinion)
Reality Show Example #2: Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo
A family who got their own show after being discovered on another reality show because of the youngest daughter’s over the top flair for showing off and her mom’s need to push her into doing so. This family has gone on to rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars by farting and burping and eating and…wait – there were some endearing moments along the way. Remember when Mama June and Sugar Bear had their commitment ceremony? And how nervous she was and…Yah. How long did that last?
Grade: D- (Educational, Recycle, Campy, Funny, Often annoying – personal opinion)
Clearly, both the above reality shows can be seen the same in terms of value, depending upon how you view them. However, if you take a closer look – a less stupid view, perhaps – you can plainly see that the better choice to watch would be the first.
Did I just call you stupider?
Uh, no. I’ve sat through plenty of Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo episodes, myself. I don’t know when it started and I’m not exactly proud of it. But it happened. There was a hook in there somewhere and for whatever reason I stuck around for a time. Sporadically.
It’s not just Honey Boo-Boo, either. There’s been Duck Dynasty and Naked and Afraid and oh, what’s that psychic one and countless others that I just can’t recall right now.
Though, I am proud to say that I’ve never seen even a minute of the Kardashians or the Jersey Shore mess. Not judging, exactly…goodness knows I stand no taller!
But I am wondering…
Are Reality Shows Making Us Stupider?
This is what got me thinking of it most recently. I happened upon an article about the latest scandal rocking Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo (Mama June supposedly re-dating her old love who was previously incarcerated for molesting her oldest child) and as is my habit, I skimmed down to the comments.
Um, yah. I think reality shows – at least some of them – might be making us all stupider. The comments upon just this one article were insanely ridiculous. Ranging from hateful to downright rude and many of them were incredibly confusing, too.
A few samples (not edited):
Channels like The LEARNING Channel used to offer “educational” shows. Now we have trash on TLC and some bum who lives in the woods, Mick Dodge, on Nat Geo. Yes, it really is the dumbing down of America!
(that one up there may just be helping to prove my point? Oh…but wait, the rest are better!)
Crap, my wife and daughter love this show. Even worse now the Boo Boo family will be back on the welfare train. Sad day al the way around.
Most redicilous show to hit TV in ages……right up there with Family Feud.
Honey Boo Boo’s mother is a republiCon for sure.
strange,,liberals usually love things like this,,,give them time they will reverse their decision….its going to depend on if mama booboo is a liberal or a conservative…liberal she stays,,conservative shes gone…
Boo-Boo announced that she wanted Obama to be re-elected back when she appeared on Jimmy Kimmel’s show. Since she’s probably just parroting what her parents taught her, it appears very likely that the whole family votes Democrat.
A lot of people here are just jealous because they don’t have their own tv shows. Haters gonna hate!
I just don’t understand the hatred for this poor woman. Yes, she has made a few errors in judgement, but who hasn’t? Overvall,she has done a terrific job raising those charming little boys. It is the media that blows these things totally out of proportion for the ratings.
Okay, I’m done. That last one was just…I could feel my brain cells evaporating. Ya know? And I don’t even know what the one guy’s problem is with Family Feud or why politics had to be brought into it; but apparently both the right and left are concerned that Mama June is on their side. Yikes. Just a lot of going off half-cocked and totally clueless and…
OH EM GEE! Why do I even care?
Because I got sucked in. It happened through the transformation of information and I just couldn’t help myself. So I ask again…
Are Reality Shows Making Us Stupider?
It depends. I did manage to see some very intelligent comments on the (very) few articles I read – yes, I researched a bit further for this post, after my initial descent into madness.
I also believe it depends on what we watch and how much we give into what is real and what is filmed for the “reality” of the show. It is, after all, a documentary of people and places. Unless someone is unaware they are being filmed, there is always going to be a certain amount of “scripted flair” happening. I don’t write scripts for my videos but I tend to have an idea of what I want to say AND there is that handy edit button, too.
Which works both ways. To the good and the bad.
With the advent of reality television shows came folks who decided to put it out there. No matter how crazy, dirty, ridiculous, insane, gross, or even GOOD it is – they are bringin’ it in all kinds of ways. Even the stuff they actually would prefer we don’t see.
And we are lapping it up like hungry kittens around a bowl full of milk. There are so many kinds of milk out there that we often don’t know which bowl to drink from, we’re so thirsty to get in there and slurp-slurp-slurp.
Even those of us who claim we don’t watch THAT show or THIS one, might be addicted to another for whatever reason. It’s hard not to take a peek and once you do, it seems you can become wrapped up in the lives of these so called stars of reality TV.
But let’s not let them make us all stupider.
We have our own lives and our own issues and our own reality to pay attention to. These folks made the choice to go public and many of them are discovering that in the end it just wasn’t worth it – whatever “it” was. We don’t need to add insult to injury by trying to one up ourselves with stupid, stupider, and stupidest comments about people we wouldn’t ever have a clue about if we’d simply pay more attention to our own reality.
Which, if we were all completely honest, can sometimes be just enough to leave us plenty stupider all on its own.
Top Left Image Attribution: TMZ.com • Right and Bottom Left Image Attributions: Pixabay
*Stupider: I’m actually annoyed that this is a word. Though I take plenty of liberties (I call them “Sanisms”) with my writing style, I do have a certain code – a way of speaking and writing, if you will – and the word “stupider” is one of those that I use in jest. Alas, it’s real. That said, normally you won’t catch me saying it. Instead? “More stupid” – yes, that’s better.
And now you know!
For another San-Rant, go here. I’m not a good Christian. I am merely human…
What reality shows are you hooked on that you wish you’d never started watching but now you can’t look away? Any that I’m missing that are just too good? Please share below… 🙂