family / reality TV

Is Reality TV Making Us Dumb?

The other night with my in-laws around the table we wound up in one of those discussions where you compare the days of yore to present times. The catalyst for our conversation was reality TV, which hubby shoots heaps of. After a few minutes of discussing the merits of The Real Housewives of Wherever you can imagine where the score was–the days of yore were up ten nothing. “We used to get dressed up to watch TV!” my father-in-law exclaimed. He insisted that the fictional programs of days gone were of a much higher quality than today’s unscripted schlock. But were they?

Hubby and I, not being huge fans of reality programming (except for my shameful propensity to tune into The Bachelor, blush), didn’t have much by way of defense or explanation when asked why on earth reality is still so wildly popular. We covered the stand-by rationale—it’s cheap to produce and we’re a culture obsessed with voyeurism. The inevitable question of whether we’re being dumbed down by reality followed. What do we have to learn from what Kendra ate for lunch or where Kim went on her date? Who gives a flying crap? Oh so very many. And I guess I care, too, since their type of programming is paying our medical bills and keeping food on our table. Will hubby and I thusly one day be waxing poetic about the reality TV days? The golden glory years back when the Housewives were bronzed and squabbling?

I find it easy to get depressed by this type of conversation, and as I cleared the table, I had the feeling I ought to crack open my dusty, collegiate Shakespeare volume and reclaim some of my brain cells. That is, until over coffee it was revealed that my mother-in-law is a casual fan of Dog The Bounty Hunter.

Anyway, fittingly I just started my Monday reading When we all fought over the phone an ode to technologically simpler times. This one’s for you, D.

And for a little more by way of reality TV, here’s a link to my new article on Betty Confidential My Husband Makes More Than Me and I’m Okay With That… Most of the Time 

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