Reality Used to be a Friend of Mine

Once upon a time being a celebrity was all about being good at something.

Actor, musician, athlete… whatever the case may have been, the celebrities that children looked up to were, generally, people that had worked hard and displayed real talent that allowed them to rise to the level of celebrity.

So what happened?

Reality TV happened.

What started as a real attempt to bring “real world” issues to the screen in an honest and contemporary way has over the last decade or more turned into nothing more than a show case for immature and headline grabbing behaviour from celebrity and non-celebrity alike.

The Real WorldThe first major success in this genre was “The Real World” an MTV produced series which followed the life of a group of strangers brought together via an audition process and filmed 24/7. To quote the opening credits of the show…

This is the true story… of seven strangers… picked to live in a house…work together and have their lives taped… to find out what happens… when people stop being polite… and start getting real…The Real World.

Initially the concept of reality TV was interesting. Everyone likes the idea of being a fly on the wall from time to time, more importantly, it brought about discussions on subjects that would normally not be examined as frankly, or in a way that could be easily related to. For a while there it seemed worthwhile.

However, the genre was soon flooded with show after show, each one seemingly trying to out headline the next. Big Brother & Survivor lead to I’m a Celebrity and Keeping up with the Kardashians to name just a few.

I should say now, I am excluding the pop star / talent contest shows here as they are a slightly different beast. What I am focusing on here is the shows that produce wave after wave of Z-list celebrities with no apparent talent whatsoever, who are treated as celebrities simply because they exist and were on TV for 10 minutes.

The likes of the Kardashians, Paris Hilton and anyone from TOWIE or Made in Chelsea!!

As annoying to me as these people are though, I don’t blame them in the slightest.

What I don’t understand is how we reached a point in life where the majority of the population is so bored or apathetic to their own existence that the movements, thoughts and inane ramblings of these people are treated as important.

Male Kangaroo
“You wanna eat my WHAT NOW!!??”

Which down-on-their-luck celebrity trying to kick start their career, has just eaten a kangaroo penis on TV, should be at the bottom of the list in terms of important issues being discussed. It seems though, that as a race we don’t want to be thinking, we want to be numb.

My biggest worry is for the children of our society. Whereas in my childhood I wanted to be the 6 million dollar man, or the next Daley Thompson, these days, kids are aspiring to be “you tube stars” or Reality TV stars.

Yes, I am generalising, but it’s a trend I see more and more even in my own children the eldest of which is now telling me all about his favourite “you tubers”. I get that it’s a generation thing to a certain extent, but should it really be an aspiration? What happened to wanting to stretch ourselves as a race? Where are all the future astronauts and archaeologists, the inventors and the neuroscientists?

I know they are still out there, but there is a real risk of us dumbing down an entire generation with programming featuring nothing short of TV-valium!!

I think that may just be what some people are after though.

So what can we do about it?

Well my wife and I try to teach our kids that they can achieve anything they put their mind to. They should never let people tell them they can’t do something with their lives, try to make them see that the more they push themselves and face the things they fear the more enriched their lives will be. We spend time with them, take them to forests and castles and generally try to give them a rounded view of life.

When they watch TV they watch programmes appropriate for them,

I also try to ensure they don’t get drawn into the world of celebrity worship.

I’m the only person they need to worship ha ha 🙂

Any way as light relief from all my soap box ranting enjoy this and I’ll catch you on the flip side!!


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