I love reality shows. I mean I really love them. Well some of them. I am a total sucker for anything relating to singing such as the latest installment “The Voice”. I have been a dedicated Idol fan and have even ventured into the X-factor and others. This stems from my unmet desire to spend my life as a singer and my passion and need, to sing. I love singing. As all the contestants say as they stride up with sweaty palms and faces full of fear “it’s what I do, it’s all I ever wanted for my whole life (even if they are only 16), it’s just something I HAVE to do”. Yes if I am stressed, sad, bored, angry, happy or anything in between, a good singing session makes me feel totally at peace. And I pursued it for a while. As a young person I was told to keep pursuing it. But babies and life, got in the way. This does not however stop me from singing or enjoying music. The last time I checked it costs nothing to open your lungs and sing.
Other reality shows I have been known to be drawn in by include Survivor ( I LOVE the host Jeff Probst ). There is something about the idea of being shipwrecked on a desert island that is compelling, even if it is along with a massive crew, a medical team, cameras in your face and a cute host. What I think it is about this one is that it is actually incredible how these people survive. And I wonder how some of those girls manage to make a bandana into a skirt. And of course there is all the infighting and back stabbing – television gold.
I am currently hooked on The Biggest Loser. I find this one tricky. As a person who has been overweight, very overweight and a health care professional working in diabetes, I know that the way these people lose weight is definitely NOT reality. Nobody in life gets to spend 6 hours a day training, locked in a house with no distractions, with buff trainers working your ass off and not allowing any potatoes or bread (didn’t you know those things are evil?). But there is the Commando…….and the tears and amazing human stories and ways that people open up their hearts and talk about their lives. Despite all the contrition, continual repeating of scenes after ad breaks (seriously do you think we are so dumb we lost memory of what happened 5 minutes ago and need a refresher?), manipulation and knowledge about how these shows are set up – it still makes me cry. And you can bet I will be front and centre tonight at the big reveal.
Yes I have also watched a few seasons of Big Brother, although I am not sure I will be able to stomach it this time around. (but who am I kidding I am bound to have a peek); Race around the World: various versions of rennovation and building shows and once, just because I knew someone in the show, Masterchef. Cooking shows are the ones that puzzle me the most. People salivating, crying and arguing over cooking a pavlova really does not rock my boat. Perhaps it’s because as a person growing up with type 1 diabetes food really has a different meaning and I have a different relationship with food than your every day person. Those of you who live with diabetes will get what I mean. And since developing serious issues with diabetic gastroparesis food has become something I just need to get in to my body. I am still dealing with the grief of losing the pleasure of food. Or perhaps it’s because at the same time this is showing we are watching obese people who were also obsessed with food, try to lose all the weight and change the way they relate to food. Or the fact there are so many people in the world who simply have no food.
I was thinking that maybe the reasons we love “Reality TV, is that it is not reality. These shows are more like “unreality”. They are more like dreams. Things people would love to do, to have happen to them. What you love depends on what you wish you could do, have or be, in your life. And of course there is always the prize money and the very short lived celebrity status that comes with a good reality show.
It does bother me that this has become pretty much the primary source of television programming – oh except for violent crime scene shows, but that is another whole blog. I wonder if it means people want to live in a dream world at the end of the day, to watch other people living out their dreams rather than go for their own dreams.
If I could make the perfect reality show it would have a cure for diabetes, along with all the other terrible diseases, no poverty or hunger, no war or violence, everyone with enough and caring for each other and the planet. But perhaps that reality show is too far out of our reach.
See you on the couch.