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Reality TV and the Modern Day Hell’s Angels

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“To see the Hell’s Angels as caretakers of the old “individualist” tradition “that made this country great” is only a painless way to get around seeing them for what they really are–not some romantic leftover, but the first wave of a future that nothing in our history has prepared us to cope with. The Angels are prototypes. Their lack of education has not only rendered them completely useless in a highly technical economy, but it has also given them the leisure to cultivate a powerful resentment…and to translate it into a destructive cult which the mass media insists on portraying as a sort of isolated oddity, a temporary phenomenon that will shortly become extinct now that it’s been called to the attention of the police” – Hunter S. Thompson in Hell’s Angels

The American tradition of supporting the underdog has apparently run so low on candidates, that it has resorted to picking up nobodies off the street.. “Everyone wants to be on TV” is the saying, but the truth is that not everyone deserves it. The idea that there won’t be consequences from eliminating the difficulty in becoming a celebrity or that nothing will stem from plotless, minding numbing TV, is dangerous ignorance.

Raising cast members of Reality TV to the pedestal of stardom is the evolution of the same attitude that took the Hell’s Angels from incarcerated to infamous in the 60’s. The same attitude that coddled a group of non-contributing malcontents to commit increasingly violent acts is the same pervasive influence in our current pop culture. One, that insists on worshipping the unearned celebrity and overall lack of talent in no-frills, no-acting, no-effort television stars.

The stars of these television shows, and I use that term loosely, are not the embodiment of the American success story, but an increasingly dangerous sect of our society. The by-product of our fame obsession has been the creation of ignorant, worthless ex (and current) reality stars. The problem however, is that no one has informed them of their worthlessness. In fact, TV only serves to give validity to their persona, and existence.

People seem to be under the impression that this monster is only a trend, that reality TV is a fad. They couldn’t be more wrong, because it’s not, by any means, a fleeting entity. Try looking at the ratings.

CBS’ Survivor, in its 9th season, is still bringing in 7.6 million viewers per episode. Downhill slide, indeed.

Like Hunter said, the media likes to downplay it as a temporary phenomenon, a denial of the invincibility of the monster they created. With 4 reality shows in the Top 10 rankings for the week of April 25th to May 1st, I doubt its going anywhere.

Robert P. Laurence, a notable TV Critic (like that’s a real job) tried to substantiate his claim that “reality TV may be on the wane” with the fact that FOX recently announced their upcoming season will be entirely scripted. The future seems bright doesn’t it? NO. FOX doesn’t have any new reality shows on its docket because it’s saving them for a different network: FOX Reality.

As Realitytvmagazine.com reports, Fox’s new network will have the largest cable debut in history, reaching an estimated 18.5 million homes. No need to get alarmed, corporations often invest millions in already dying fads. Creating a channel dedicated solely to a specific genre often foreshadows demise doesn’t it? That’s why when MTV was created, the experts all felt that music was breathing its last breath.

It’s not just the fact that the horrific television is here to stay, it’s that it has created a generation of imbeciles, in both its stars and its viewers.

Don’t expect Brad from the Real World to be getting a real job anytime soon. It’s much more likely that he follow in the footsteps of predecessor Daniel Renzi, the proud gay man arrested last year for indecent exposure in a pornographic movie theatre. If creepy perversion isn’t his game, he could always stick to getting drunk and assaulting a horse like star Landon Lueck apparently did in 2003.

If you’re looking for the “powerful resentment” that Hunter predicted, all one has to do is listen to the post-production interviews with the pathetic casts. Janu Tornell, an ex-Survivor participant told the Associated Press just how traumatizing readjusting can be.

“I didn’t think it would be [so difficult]. I hid in my house for about a month. I didn’t drive. I was just kind of freaked out by the whole thing.” Tornell said.

Maybe it was difficult because you’re emotionally and mentally retarded. The stars didn’t even work for fame and are surprised that its fleeting. What did you expect? They call it 15 minutes of fame, because I don’t know, it last for about 15 minutes.

As much as I think they deserve whatever hardships come their way after forcing us to experience their horrendous personalities on a weekly basis, society ultimately suffers. The losers to return to everyday life, they wallow in self-pity and commit crime…or worse they whore themselves out for even worse television. VH1 seems intent on owning the market share of the “Reality Shows based on the exploits of the ex-participants on Realty TV shows.” If “Bridget and Flav” wasn’t heinous enough, BSTV’s entire focus is tricking them into being even dumber shows.

I can’t even imagine the social- specifically the intelligence loss- repercussions of this brand of television. While shows like Judge Judy and Jerry Springer mock the idiot casts, The Real World and The Surreal Life, give said derelicts soap boxes to spew whatever comes into their head. Like an 8-year old girl needs to hear Chyna’s relationship advice, or have some drunken pervert ( basically anyone on a cable reality show) explain the importance of good friends.

While the conservative in me dislikes the disgusting morals exuded on a daily bases, its trumped ten-fold by the putrid stupidity. Critics like to hold up LOST as a masterpiece of scripted television, but its going to take more than one show to undo the damage of genius plots like “have people run towards a destination” (Amazing Race), “see how long people can do without food and stuff” (Survivor) and “stick former famous people in a house” (Surreal Life).

Even if the stars weren’t picked up in a dredge of society’s worst, the shows would still be awful solely from lack of direction and purpose. It’s not “Lets examine the difficult but ultimately rewarding institution of marriage,” it is “Hey, lets watch Jessica Simpson prove she’s all moron.”

While the Hell’s Angels were prototypes of a societal sect with nothing offering nothing but criminality and violence, Reality TV is the deluxe model. We’ve taken the acting, art, and achievement out of Hollywood and replaced it with camcorder and a boom mike.

The final irony in all of it is this: the stars and their fans couldn’t be less aware of both their pointlessness and the incredible damage they inflict. If they were, Apprentice star Tana Goertz wouldn’t have said this:

“I’m just not gonna blow smoke up somebody’s ass to get a job.”

Because, that’s not how she got on TV or anything.

As much as we like to think the media reflect society, we couldn’t be more wrong. We’ve become this filth, and we support its continuation. Trichelle from the Real World isn’t just some easy chick, she’s a role model; Richard Hatch isn’t a creepy tax evading stranger, he’s a philosopher. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic, but these people are OUR idols. Reality TV’s influence has so raised our tolerance for complete trash worship that Britney Spear’s descent from normal to completely rancid has done nothing but increase her fame.

And when we reward that, it’s obvious the Apocalypse is near.


Original post can be seen here: Reality TV Stars: Modern Day Hells Angels

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About ChaunceyBillups

  • Reality show contestants as Hell’s Angels bikers. I love it!

    Reality shows are one major reason I unplugged my TV a couple of years ago, and haven’t looked back.

    Well, okay, I watch Lost on DVD.

  • Guppusmaximus

    I agree it doesn’t take talent to make “reality” tv just alot of editing.
    Kind of like what the US has done to music…Pro Tools, BUT, it is very easy to see that the execs in the Entertainment Industry love cheap thrills…So, don’t expect any changes especially when people are “eating it up”…. ‘Cha-Ching’

    Philip has the right idea…Unplug the boobtube.

  • right, and i understand that cheap thrills are an integral part of any television station, however, most networks have bet the farm on these shows…which explains why more and more people are turning to cable