Reality television seems to attempt more and more not to film intimate personal experiences as they occur, but rather to promote the cast and the show itself in an ongoing, low budget advertisement.
What many of us, even the shamelessly addicted among us, wonder both aloud and in low rumbling mumbles to ourselves is: 'What exactly is this ad for?' To watch the fading, aging rock stars climb into creepy dark restaurants and onto outlandishly expensive boats with fifty dyed blonde 20-somethings seems to be an ad for, well, a harem. Now the proliferation of the harem advertisement flourishes with wanton abandon; great-grandfather Hef and his 19-year-old "bunnies," Ancient actors and singers and banjo players lining up the ladies with appointed cheesy nicknames only to kiss, tell and then tell to shove off.
Women, too have their "boy toys" - the Bachelorette, the short-lived "Cougar" and the show about Cougars which, granted, is not reality television but is any of it, really?
What gets lost in the feeling of these shows as I watch them for educational purposes only, I might add, is the sense of reality itself. While I like my gossip as much as the next girl, these gossipy, nitty gritty moments feel so staged, so pumped full of hair gel, my own interest level plummets. It feels more like the pages I should be turning past in order to get to the good part of the trashy magazine than the content of the magazine itself.
With this in mind, my high school students have more or less grown up with reality television shows as part of their daily landscape; it is not novel, strange, silly or even bizarre to them. As clear as it is that advertising affects young people, I wonder at the effects of the reality television phenomenon and what it advertises on our youth and begin to see the disconnected connections between their sense of reality and what they watch on TV.
The lack of censorship in the United States of America is one of our country's greatest strengths. We thrive in an atmosphere of freedoms.