I May Have Conquered My Everest – Accepting ‘Reality’ Shows

The new medication the doc put me on is working small miracles already and it’s only been two weeks since I started taking it. It’s hard to tell where this psychological experiment will end, but for now, i believe it to be the reason I’ve finally gotten the reality television show bug out of my ass.

It happened when I was watching Moonshiners on Discovery last night. The realization of what I was actually seeing hit me and shattered my trance-like daze brought on by the sweet sounds of the southern accent when mangled around the lilt of a thick, neck-of-the-woods-specific dialect. I’m just drawn to the sound.

Moth.

Flame.

Yada yada yada.

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The moment of clarity snapped so hard inside my mind, my body shivered and my head wobbled on my neck for a split second. Then everything just made sense. The scowl on my face when I fell into the trance was gone, and suddenly the show was outrageously funny to me.

I know what you’re thinking.

“That sounds like a drug story to me.”

It isn’t. This was purely a case of accidental clarity of the mind.

I finally accepted the fact most of the ‘stars’ of these shows are just non-union actors who will stoop to any gimmick necessary to make a few bucks doing what he loves to do.  In this particular case they love  standing in front of the camera, playing pretend with friends, and talking about themselves for hours on end until they find the story that’s just right for this episode.

The plots of the ‘Reality’ shows on Discovery have gotten particularly bold the past few years.

The channel has served us multiple helpings of liquor-making hillbillies and Amish gangsters the past two years, and with each passing season the violence gets taken up a notch on each front.

Weapons are making more frequent appearances on Moonshiners and Amish Mafia, as have segments featuring characters committing acts of property damage by multiple other crimes. One example of this would be ta recent episode of Moonshiners where one group of hillbillies blew up a car belonging to another group of hillbillies who were getting too close to their turf.

If I’m in a mood to be particularly cooperative and social, I might consider overlooking the illegal moonshine making shown each week without it initiating a single legitimate investigative effort by at least one law enforcement agency, but when bullets start flying and cars get blown up, and no police investigate, I just have to call bullshit on it all.

Mafia

When I called bullshit last night, I realized my bullshit declaration was issued far too hastily. I also realized if I’m even buying into this enough to call bullshit at all is an indication I’m giving the show at least some mental analysis, which is more than I wanted to give to it. Yet I’ve somehow subliminally broken the elements of the show down bit by bit, and inside one of those bits I’ve found something that didn’t fit right, so walla, we get the, “I call bullshit.”

I’ve never watched cartoons and thought to myself, “That’s bullshit. He’d fall.”

That would be ridiculous. So why am I giving these reality shows more credibility and hold them to a higher standard than I would a good cartoon?

I know better. Or so that’s what i thought.

The fact the word ‘reality’ was ever allowed to describe these shows to an unsuspecting viewing audience, is a little rage inducing. I hate seeing concrete terms like reality, as described in the countless philosophy books written about it, twisted and manipulated into a marketing tool.

The reality of these shows is it’s much cheaper to put reality stars in dramatic situations and lead them to the appropriate conclusion by using the right bait, than it is to pay a real actor to pretend doing it and still have to deal with the union on top of it all.

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Unions play a major role in the world of entertainment and some claim reality shows are just ways for producers to work around unions on technicalities, much the way some employers do by hiring ‘contractors’ to do work rather than incur the expense of hiring an employee to do the work. Expenses can be avoided when the need arises.

It’s been an issue for a while now, and still might one day be presented to the US Supreme Court for a ruling.

What we’re seeing billed as reality television right now is the equivalent of the b-movies tha fueled the business of independent theaters and drive ins in the 60s and 70s. This is the revival of exploitation filmmaking and it’s just taken me a decade to realize it.

I’m slow like that sometimes.

Once this clicked, things like knowing a film crew with mics, lights, and cameras, are following a guy who is trying to hide in the woods, and camera crews someone manage to ride with cops and bad guys, without ever being bullied into telling what they know by the cops, no longer bother me as badly as they once did.

Some of these shows are just the Dukes of Hazzard without guys like James Best, Ben Jones, John Schneider, and Tom Wopat, walking off the set because they believe they should make more money.

Reality show stars aren’t pretending to be believable actors and the producers and directors aren’t going out of their way to make it seem realistic, so why am I being such a dick about it? I’ve got the easiest job in this scenario. I just have to watch the cheaply produced, poorly written, b-grade entertainment, and laugh at it when something funny happens.

I’m over it now.

I now have one less hateful monkey digging its claws into my back and screaming in my ear when it gets agitated.

This is a major accomplishment. I might even journal about it later tonight when I’m sipping my nightly mug of hot cocoa while listening to Chopin on the hi-fi. it’ll be a welcome break from all the flower pressings I’ve been doing lately. If I see another Crysanthemum I’ll scream. I swear.

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