This picture, is of two of the stars of "Survivor, 2000 in Borneo" which was the beginning of the realty show trend.
James Poniwozik. journalist and television critic, writes Time Magazine's "Tuned In" column, and a blog with the same name.
His latest column -- What's RIGHT with Reality TV, tells us how the genre has "gone from guilty pleasure to quintessentially American entertainment."
I think American entertainment has gone to the dogs. It started with the first "Survivor" -- the competitions, tribal council meetings, voting off tribal members did not create suspense for me -- the cast (real folks, not actors) playing fear and exhaustion ... well, let me just say, I was always aware of the camera men, and TV crew hiding in the bushes.
The winner, (having spent a lot of time in and out of jail, fighting not to pay taxes, admitting that he cheated to win) is still a name -- Richard Hatch is a celebrity kook, lawbreaker, liar.
"Big Brother " -- the cast that the producers carefully picked after many interviews and consultations with psychiatrists, are unpleasantly egotistic, self aware -- peeping at them in bed and in the bathroom is silly, and boring.
"Amazing Race" isn't watchable. "America's Got Talent" and "Idol" -- the judges are more interesting than most of the talent. "Biggest Loser" stars are repulsively desperate. All the love shows -- bachelors hoping to get laid, girls acting slutty to win, make me cringe, and the 16-year-old pregnant girls, the autopsy lady figuring out why people died, are dreary, saddening.
It's sad, also, that amateurs are getting the jobs -- that more professional actors than ever, are ending up in the unemployment lines.
If reality shows are quintessentially American culture -- wow -- we've been reducing art to what's prosaic, and often, gross.
So, Mr. Poniwozik. though you're fatherly protective of the genre, your tuned in insights don't lift the subject out of the mud, the quicksand.
As your article unfolds, you conclude: "It's the burgeoning career field ... It's the content mill for the cable-tabloid-blog machine ... It's a valid career choice for some like Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson Elizbeth Hasselbeck ... for others, it has enabled a life of lucrative famousness ... TV appeals to the worst in us is ... Anything you do to win can be justified as playing the game ... It makes people famous for nothing rather than rewarding hard work ..."
I think the Reality Shows are awful -- boring, dull tiresome bad stuff that is inspiring and encouraging would-be artists, day-dreaming kids to try hard, try with all their might and main, to become famous, big name nothingers.