Of “reality” TV and why I hate it

Now that I can actually watch TV again, I’ve developed some fairly strong opinions on ratings and how one show is renewed over another that falls into a completely different category.

I hate most reality shows. It’s obvious that most are scripted (Real Housewives of [insert city here], anyone?) and the production companies make a fortune off them because they don’t have to pay the participants anything unless they win. Even then, the winner will see little to none of the money depending on what the terms of the contract are. Kudos to the producers for minting money based on someone’s pathological desire to be famous just for being famous. I thought Survivor was stupid when it first came out in 10th grade. I still think it’s stupid. I lump American Idol and all the knockoffs of it, Dancing with the Stars, and pretty much every other show on a major network in there as well. I watched Top Chef through it’s 6th season and Project Runway through the 5th season. These shows require a base level of talent to even make it on the show. Every other show? If you’re willing to sign this waiver, c’mon in! Shows like these (and football, much as I love you, boys) shouldn’t be lumped in with what most people think of as “scripted” shows a la Law & Order for rating or renewal purposes. Apples and oranges, kiddies.

Scripted shows deserve their own category. Then based on those ratings and how they perform, determine who makes the cut and who doesn’t. Reality shows clog up those rankings. It’s a foregone conclusion that American Idol and Survivor will be the only survivors of the apocalypse along with cockroaches. Even the cockroaches won’t be amused. Let’s give the shows which require actual actors with something vaguely resembling talent a fair shake. It’s the same conundrum that started with TiVo and has since trickled to Amazon and Hulu. If you’re not watching live, how do they know how many people are watching? If you can’t track a show’s popularity accurately and cancel it, that’s a great way to piss off a lot of viewers. I rarely watch shows live. Most of my generation relies on some form of internet or recorded version of the show. Boy doesn’t have cable and never intends to get it. Any show we’re interested in watching can be accessed in several ways. There’s no need for it. Networks need to seriously reconsider how they track viewership, determine ratings, and who is measured against who for the purposes of renewal.

I also think scripted shows should have a 100 episode (about 5 season) maximum. After 100 episodes, the writers tend to go off the rails. I challenge you, faithful reader, to name a show that has survived more than 5 seasons with out a significant drop in quality. And go!


Of Miley Cyrus and cat calendars

Everyone needs to buy this calendar right now. It helps Putin looks like my Maggie. I’m stupid excited to get mine.

I’ve been listening to Pandora a lot at work lately. I have a station that started as a Pink / Lady Gaga which morphed into a lot of late 90s post grunge bands (a la Goo Goo Dolls, Lifehouse, and Train) in addition to the trashy pop singers. Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” popped up. I was tempted to automatically down vote it out of general principle. Instead I gave it a shot and didn’t hate it.

Recently, I got into a conversation about the former female Disney stars who went completely off the rails as they got older. Britney, Miley, and Lindsay come immediately to mind. I’ve heard that contracts with Disney are insane. There’s all kinds of restrictions of what you can and can’t do in public lest you taint the Disney brand. It’s no wonder once the contracts terminate, these girls go completely to the other end of the rainbow. Somehow, this doesn’t seem to be a problem with the boys. Or they’re just better at hiding it. A bit strange, n’est pas? I joke that my parents should’ve exploited me as a child to make a fortune. Apparently when I was kindergarten age, my parents were offered the shot for me to be a model. They turned it down. As an adult, I’m glad they didn’t take that offer. God only knows how I would’ve turned out. Probably a nasty coke habit to stay skinny and my second or third stint in rehab. It can always be worse, even with a ton of money at your disposal. Thanks Miley.

Incidentally, every time I go into a Starbucks, I start singing it to the tune of “Starstruck”. I see a Weird Al parody in the making.


Of living in the moment and other such shenanigans

Well, well December. Nice to see you.

I got up this morning and looked at the date on my phone. 2013 is 31 days away from being done. Finished. In the history books. It also occurred to me how little I’ve actually lived in 2013. As always, allow me to elaborate.

I’ve either been looking ahead of me or behind me for the entire year. After I got the DUI in March, I kept looking behind me. “If I’d only done this.” “What if I’d done that?” “If I could do it over…”. Then I got the unofficial epilepsy diagnosis in June and they started me on the medication. The official, on the books, in my medical records confirmation rolled down in August. I had my last seizure in September. Ever since, I’ve been looking toward March like a kid looks out for Christmas (see what I did there? :D). I’ve spent the last week waiting for today when Boy gets back from visiting his family. But when have I actually sat where I am, absorbed it, and enjoyed it for what it was? At least, that I can recall clearly. Suffice to say, it’s been a spell.

Understandably, traumas like getting arrested or a diagnosis of a chronic condition tend to take front and center. That’s just how they roll. But those are both under control now. The DUI is paid in full, out of my hair, and I can get my license reinstated whenever I want. The epilepsy is under control. I haven’t had a seizure in 3 months. I know my auras, so I know when to stop what I’m doing, get up, and move around. This morning I looked around and thought “Now what?”. There’s nothing large, fanged, and hairy staring in my face demanding every ounce of attention I can muster for the next 6 months. It’s quiet. It’s calm. I’m not constantly in panic mode trying to block as much shit coming out of the fan as I can.

I always see these blog posts about living in the moment, reaching a zen like state of being, aligning with your inner values and “power words” and other things that sound great on paper, but aren’t so practical in real life. I’ve complained previously about my whole life being a game time decision because I’m not responsible for my own transportation at the moment. Why not use that to my advantage? If I can’t plan for more than the next 24(ish) hours, don’t try. Literally sit down, look around, and see what’s right under my nose. Does it need to be done rightthissecond? Can it wait? What decision will make the maximum number of people content or even happy (with me being top priority)? If it can wait, what’s something I can enjoy right now? If it’s not coming up within the next day or so, don’t stress over it. I’ll deal with it when it’s sitting there. For an uber planner like myself, that’s a tall order. I don’t want to turn around, all of a sudden it’s 15 years from now and I’m wondering “where did all that time go?”.

A perfect example was Friday morning. I went to a jazz class that I drop in and out of. It was literally the very first class I took at the studio when I started in 2008. It’s not in my usual rotation of classes. Since the schedule was different, I decided to drop into that class. The teacher is this itty bitty woman who can pirouette for days. I, on the other hand, can’t spot if you held a gun to my head. My turns are pretty sloppy and this teacher loves to put turns in her across the floor work and combinations. Some of her high school students were there in their leotards and tights getting in some extra class time. Of course, they get it (mostly) right on the first try. I totally screw up the across the floor work and I start laughing at myself. In that moment, I was happy. Even though I looked like a giraffe on roller skates, I was laughing. It didn’t matter what everyone else thought or if they were even watching. I was having fun. My heart was really, truly in it. 

Of course some manner of looking ahead is necessary, especially around holiday time. Plans are set for parties, time off from work, and the usual to-ing and fro-ing that comes along with the season. Three of my nearest and dearest have birthdays on Friday. I’ll call or message them, let them know I remembered, and wish them a good year ahead. Other than that, no plans. As I look around me right no, I’m still in my pajamas on a big, squishy couch. I just finished eating and am contemplating putting on Chopped for background noise until more football rolls around. The cat has had her usual psychotic romp around the apartment and is now solidly passed out in the middle of the living room floor. That’s my moment. It’s not glamorous or aligning with my zen, but I’m content. That’s more than a lot of people can say.

2013 & I have had a hate/hate relationship for 66% of it. Here’s to making the last 31 days something I can look back on and laugh.