Friday, September 27, 2013

Reality TV and Unreality Life

I now have five favorite TV shows, four of which are Reality TV.

Phineas and Ferb is the only one among my favorites (from what I can gather) that is NOT a reality show.  At least I don't think so.  It seems quite
plausible that Phineas and Ferb is non-fiction, except the secret agent platypus is a bit of a stretch.

But here are my other four ...

  • Judge Judy is a great show, because you see the way people really live, really treat one another and really work the system as parasites in this country.  And Judy is a killer.  She tells it like it is.  She may be rude and short-tempered, but she's the only woman over 70 that I would marry if my wife left me.  (Her 48 million dollar annual salary has nothing to do with that).

  • The Journey Home is the best show on EWTN because Marcus Grodi is a great interviewer and hearing people describe the stories of their own conversions is fascinating.

  • Duck Dynasty - though the most contrived of the Reality Shows currently on - is actually very intelligent, very funny, quite Christian, and very well-made.
Your truly as Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty

But there's a new kid on the block ...

  • Catfish on MTV.  

Catfish is about on-line relationships that turn out to be something other than the two participants think they are.  Sometimes one of the two on-line lovers is presenting an entirely fabricated personality, false photos, false background and everything.  This show is fascinating because it shows how this new technology has affected intimacy, and about how willing we are to lie to one another.  What we reveal and what we keep hidden in our intimate relationships says a lot about the nature of the human soul and how we attempt to control our lives through Unreality, even when such a game devastates people we ostensibly care about.  And the internet has allowed us to do this like never before.

But sometimes it's not the lurid lies that make the series interesting.

In the episode about "Melissa, Nick and Olin", 18-year-old Melissa admits that although she "loves" her online friend Nick (the two have been intimate online friends since they were 12), she has a "boyfriend slash roommate" who "complicates things".  

It turns out that the "boyfriend / roommate" is quite blunt about the fact that he's comfortable with Melissa, but that he will never marry her, has no intention of committing to her, and will date other women if the opportunity comes up - but is more than willing to sleep with her every night and let this "complicated" (for her) relationship continue.  

In other words, the boyfriend - who seems like a nice guy in other ways - is a total jerk who is using Melissa and refusing to give her even the minimal courtesy of being her "boyfriend" while he f***s her.  Roommate with benefits.  Live-in with vaginal and oral sex.  "He's not my boyfriend but the guy I'm sleeping with and even though he has no respect for me and won't even let me call him my boyfriend he still likes my private parts and I'm way too fat for Nick to really want me plus this is something I have settled for." - my paraphrase of Melissa's position. Yeah, "complicated" is not the word to describe this.  "Sad", "sorry", "abusive" - but not "complicated".

And there's a great moment - a moment where, as Olin is describing exactly and precisely how he plans to continue to take advantage of Melissa for as long as she will let him, or until he gets tired of it (whichever comes first), she sits there next to him on the couch, gazing at him with obvious love and contentment.  This is while he's saying these things to the camera and ten million people.

Olin delivers pizzas for a living and Melissa dropped out of high school and is not working.  Except she does have one job, but Olin doesn't actually give her cash for it.

Nick, the online intimate, is going to college to learn how to be an auto mechanic and is clearly going to make something of his life.  Melissa tells Nick that she just can't leave the dashing and tattooed Olin for him, as much as she and Nick have meant to one another over the years blah blah blah.



I could find no online picture of Olin, but he looked exactly like this, only with small blue saucers in his earlobes.

Well, Lord what fools we mortals be! and Lord how the internet has helped us be that way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree that Judge Judy is about the best TV reality show out there right now. She really has, beneath her gruff exterior, a desire to point out to her litigants certain basic precepts of higher thinking that if considered carefully, could at least steer them towards a nodding acquaintance with reality. I have never watched "Catfish", or "Duck Dynasty". I did the see the documentary called "Catfish" about 2-3 years ago, and it was chilling. Really like the Journey Home, when the guests are interesting. Alice