NBC had a “Fall Preview” show on this morning. Really nothing more than all the ads for their shows played back-to-back (nothing deeper, no “behind-the-scenes” stuff, nothing) with Vanessa Marcil and Nikki Cox (from Las Vegas) hosting (aka “eye candy”)… in other words, the same pointless, mindless, useless fluff the networks have become known for. I see Martha’s dominion is back in full swing, becoming the next Apprentice franchise (leave it to Martha to key into something with the word “franchise” attached) … and that put me back into my ongoing internal rant over the entire concept of “reality TV”.
Then it hit me: reality TV is the next Lotto.
Our society has been preoccupied with the concept of accumulating excessive wealth for centuries. Along with that has come both the hucksters and the “hucked” of one get-rich-quick scheme after another. Look at some of them from the last decades:
- Publishers Clearing House
- Amway (and all the MLM or “MLM-like” derivatives that preceded and followed)
- Day trading
- Real Estate (I’m talking about the more speculative side)
- Beanie Babies
- The “dot-com” boom (more of a ka-boom, as we saw)
- the Lottery (gambling from the comfort of your gas station)
Some may say “Hey! Real estate is a real investment!” To them I reply “you’re absolutely right … assuming you know what you’re doing and are willing to accept the consequences (e.g. financial loss) if you don’t or are wrong”. Problem is, many people don’t accept the responsibility of failure … we just go hunting for someone to sue (another bullet to add to the list above: lawsuits).
My point is this: look at the trends that have driven some of the greatest crazes of our time, and they all come back to the same things: money or fame (or getting famous because you won money … or getting more money because you’re now famous). And we’ll do anything we have to to achieve that fame/money … including reality TV.
And the cool thing about reality TV is you don’t have to be what they’re looking for on the show, you just have to be willing to do anything for the cash. In “Hell’s Kitchen” (Gordon Ramsay’s entry into realTV from Fox), half of the “chef wanabees” didn’t even work in the food business (out of the 12 there were 3 chefs, 1 baker, a culinary student and a server … the rest were outside of the food industry). Who won … a chef (go figure) … but, hey, at least someone who’d never worked a line in a restaurant had a chance. Like the lottery … there’s always a chance.
And the networks will gladly create this schlock, because advertisers will pay to have it created … because we will watch it. There’s money to be made.
I wonder what would happen if someone tried to combine reality TV with politics?
Just a thought …