By Matt Dugan – Cougar News Contributor
If you turn on your TV at any given time and flip through the channels, you will come across a plethora of reality programs — none of which I find remotely watchable. I used to be able to say, “Well, at least a show that bad could never get the ratings needed to survive.” However, shows like “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” are into their fifth season, where as Emmy Award-winning shows like “Arrested Development” get canceled after three seasons due to poor ratings. If they dumb down TV anymore we’ll have to hit ourselves over the head with a hammer to keep up.
I’m sure you find yourselves saying, “If you don’t like it then just don’t watch.” My problem is with America embracing this unintelligent slop, while genius writing and tremendous acting, that makes the audience think, falls by the wayside. I won’t even get into the validity of most reality TV shows, which I find questionable at best. Worse yet, these programs are having a real-world effect — making people think they can be famous or make money without any real talent or hard work. We have become a lazy society, and instead of trying to change that, these shows are pandering to it.
Television audiences are now tuning in and turning off their brains. If you need to escape the perils of reality for a while, why not try getting lost in a story. Just as a good book can captivate you, so can a well-written television show. Reality TV doesn’t sweep you away and make you forget your troubles, it just makes you think, “At least I’m not that bad.” This subconsciously lowers your standards of what you consider acceptable human behavior causing you to settle for “better-than-that-guy” instead of trying to improve and grow as a person.
This won’t stop until viewers make it stop by changing the channel on this entire genre. There are still excellent scripted shows out there, however. If you are a fan of the drama try catching an episode of “House.” If its action you like, “Burn Notice” is top notch. Or, if comedy is your thing, check out the brilliant writing on “Community” and have a laugh. However, if you are too stubborn to make the effort to watch some quality programming, I hope you enjoy mindlessly drooling through your next “Jersey Shore” marathon.