Why are we so excited about reality shows, and particularly ones which appeal to our baser instincts? Why do we want to see people who are so out of whack that, in earlier years, they would have never come close to starring in TV shows? What is the actual appeal of bridezillas and families who speak so poorly that captions are needed as we watch each episode? Does seeing them make us feel superior? It's an arrogant type of superiority if it does. Do we enjoy the fact that those folks are being played for patsies? To be sure, they are patsies who are well compensated. Yet that hardly seems the point.
We have seen recently where a teen in West Branch, Michigan, was a target of a horrible scheme to have her terribly embarrassed which was made into something good. That makes sense; that's the kind of realty which ought to be promoted. Yet how far removed is that situation from what we see and cheer on in reality shows? Not very. We enjoy embarrassing them through the simple fact that we encourage their behavior. And we do nothing to, perhaps, put them in a positive light.
Surely the first defense will be that the reality stars are in the spotlight by choice. There's little doubting that. But is it the point? At the end of the day we are effectively telling them that what they do is okay. Indeed, aren't we hoping and expecting that they will become all the more outrageous in their behavior in order to keep the money flowing and increase their air time? That speaks volumes about them, yet it speaks volumes about us as well.
Or does it? Maybe we are so simple minded, prurient, and devilish that that's all we need for entertainment. If so, then the United States deserves the back water status towards which it is headed. Ah well; we had a good run.