Unscripted television is not a realistic portrayal of human interaction. There are times when it is a complete waste of time and energy. The behavior of some of the people is appalling, to say the least. There is no reality dream in television land, there is only reality nightmare.
Once upon a time, I was under the illusion that I could find a reality show that was worth my effort to watch and that I could actually sit down and enjoy. To that end, I decided to watch a little show called Crowned. It was a pageant themed show all about mothers and daughters.
Crowned was shown on the CW network. The CW is not a channel that I generally think of for reality shows, except for America’s Next Top Model, so I figured I might be safe. I found out by the first episode that things were not as I had hoped. I could only shake my head as the women who were mothers cursed and yelled at one another; and not only that, but their daughters did the same. There was no respect nor were any of the good feelings portrayed on the show genuine. The few women and daughters who began the show portraying themselves as religious or with morals were in the mud with the rest by the show's completion.
I was very disappointed. I honestly expect that type of behavior from shows that are on the MTV or VH1 channels. The Tilas or New Yorks of the world have shown that their way of playing the game of reality television is one that is full of cursing, stripping, sex, and plain vulgarity.
Maybe there is no hope for those of us who are naïve in the world of unscripted television or at least I felt that way until I found a show that was almost, well, perfect. That show was Farmer Wants a Wife.
Now this is a show that no one would have expected me to watch. Not because I am really that particular, believe it or not, but the title was definitely off-putting. The name just seemed a bit boring.
Well, I gave it a shot and it was the best of reality television in my eyes. On this show the Farmer, Matt, was searching for a wife; hence the title. But, he did not go out of the way to do anything to make himself seem to be anything other than a farmer. The dates were all down to earth, nothing too fancy or over the top. He took one young lady to a movie that was shown on the side of a barn or some similar structure. On another date they went on a picnic out in a field, which was quite romantic. The way he treated the women was also respectful. They all helped him around the farm; the better to give each woman an idea of what their life with him would be like. It was very sweet.
Of course it wasn’t perfect; but it was so much better than the basic reality shows which are talked about around the water cooler on Monday mornings and on the Internet every day. It was very different from Flavor Flav and Janice Dickinson.
What I enjoyed the most, I think, was his attitude. He seemed down to earth and perhaps for that reason his choices of women fit in with that same ideal. Of course, there is always a bad apple in every bunch; but as unscripted television, it had a format that was one that made sense.
It would be nice for producers of similar shows to consider showing the public that these shows can have class and substance instead of loud, obnoxious, over-acting wannabes behaving badly. Of course, the majority of the viewers watch that type of show to get a laugh at someone else's expense and to see how far the participants will go for the money or the prize offered.
Since the above shows aired, I have ventured out and watched other reality shows and found that if I am picky then I should stay away from many of them. However, there are quite a few shows that I have enjoyed, among them, Kimora Lee Simmons, Tori and Dean, even Janice Dickinson had me on edge of my seat and wanting to see what would happen every week. I know it seems that I am more of a fashion junkie then I first realized, but at least I do not have to deal that much with the bad language. I am not saying it isn't present but it seems contained, generally.
If I have to confess my guilty pleasure last summer was New York Goes to Hollywood, despite the cursing and many other behaviors that made my skin crawl, I sat through it. I was all for New York, even when she was looking for a lover and cursing left and right. I put myself through the ringer giving her show a shot, and I actually liked it.
When all is said and done, I guess I can’t expect too much from a society where cursing too often replaces actual conversation. Some shows have more beeps than words and I actually am afraid that what we see on unscripted television may be more the way people act in real life than I will ever be comfortable with. It might just be my nightmare.