Sunday, November 29, 2009

What is it about "reality TV"?

I had the displeasure of pausing on a cable channel with a show called "Bridezillas". The show's purpose is to highlight how absolutely horrid, shallow, and cruel some women can be during the ramp up to their wedding day. I guess it might be something different if the majority of these women even FEIGNED embarrassment at some of their actions. Some of them are proud of it...WALLOW in it even. Then it gets to the point of witnessing a train just can't turn away and wind up gawking.

It's hard being this beautiful...I wouldn't be your friend if you were poor...I wouldn't be your friend if you were ugly

And perhaps that is the key to these kind of shows' success - our collective desire to feel better, superior to other people. Speaking for myself, I am almost gleeful watching these shows sometimes, thinking "Hey, it's not like I'm like HER!" Basically I use the people on these shows as a tool for my own self esteem...there's always someone I can feel I'm better than as long as shows like BRIDEZILLA are on the air.

Perhaps if my (and I guess millions of other people's) emotional well-being didn't need a boost from the perceived miserable lives of others, these kind of shows wouldn't have this kind of traction. But there's the old chestnut...are we affecting the content of these shows, or is the content of these shows affecting us?

This was sort of a wake-up call for me at this beginning of Advent; part of preparing for the coming of the Christ Child is to stop watching shows like this. Enjoying the ugly behavior of other people in order to minimize my own shortcomings is not living in the vein of being faithfully watchful, as we are called to be in this season of waiting and vigilance.


First Sunday of Advent
Daily Mass Readings
Jeremiah 33:14-16
Psalm 25:4-5,8-10,14
1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
Luke 21:25-28,34-36

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