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This Day in My History

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77th:   Treat with men at f it times about business; and whisper not in the company of others.

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2000: Kertuffle
2002:  Playing Catch-Up
2003:  Strong Women, Good-Looking Men, Above-Average Children


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10 November 2004

This whole Scott Peterson thing is like the O.J. trial all over again, except that we aren't getting up close and personal with the in-court antics.  We have no catch phrases to creep into our lexicon ("if it doesn't fit, you must acquit") because we haven't been privy to the courtroom work of defense attorney Mark Geragos

While the jury continues its deliberation, our local news station is offering to let people sign up to receive a special alert on their computers or pagers as soon as the verdict is in, just in case you aren't hanging by the television every second hoping to be the first to "know." (Do we really need to know the jury's decision so badly that we want a news station to PAGE us when the verdict is in???)

Apparently there are gamers (perhaps Las Vegas, but definitely on-line) who are betting on the outcome.  This is our latter day version of the Romans sitting in the coliseum betting on how long it will take the lion to eat the Christians.

It's become our favorite spectator sport--watching the misfortunes of one of our neighbors, hanging on every salacious morsel, calling for blood (whether or not we have been privy to all the evidence), discussing the whole thing ad nauseam.

The Peterson trial has been discussed on just about every talk show but "Ellen," and in the middle of the trial a made-for-TV movie was already shown, presumably paving the way for a sequel once the verdict is in.   (No, I didn't watch the original and I will not watch the sequel.)

When did we become such a nation of voyeurs.   A glance at the television schedule on any given night reveals just what percentage of our prime time choices are reality TV shows.

When I reached this point in writing this entry, I decided to do a Google search on "Reality TV."  I discovered a host of sites devoted to reality TV shows, but on one, they had the following list, which was so incredible and took me by such surprise, I just had to include it here:

30 Seconds of Fame Airline All American Girl The Amazing Race 1 The Amazing Race 2 The Amazing Race 3 The Amazing Race 4 The Amazing Race 5 The Amazing Race 6 American Idol 1 American Idol 2 American Idol 3 American Idol 4 American Juniors America's Next Top Model 1 America's Next Top Model 2 America's Next Top Model 3 Amish In The City The Anna Nicole Show Anything For Love The Apprentice 1 The Apprentice 2 The Apprentice 3 Are You Hot? The Ashlee Simpson Show The Assistant Average Joe 1 Average Joe 2: Hawaii Average Joe 3: Adam Returns The Bachelor 1 The Bachelor 2 The Bachelor 3 The Bachelor 4 The Bachelor 5 The Bachelor 6 The Bachelorette 1 The Bachelorette 2 Beg, Borrow & Deal The Benefactor The Beverly Hillbillies Big Brother 1 Big Brother 2 Big Brother 3 Big Brother 4 Big Brother 5 Big Brother Africa Big Man on Campus The Billionaire Blow Out Boarding House: North Shore Boot Camp Boy Meet Boy But The Sex Is So Good Canadian Idol The Casino Celebrity Mole Hawaii Celebrity Mole Yucatan Change of Heart College Hill Combat Missions The Complex The Contender Croc Hunter Challenge Cupid The Cut Dance Fever The Dating Experiment Dog The Bounty Hunter Dog Eat Dog Dream Job Eco-Challenge Extreme Makeover Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Fake-A-Date Fame The Family Family Business Family Plots Fear Factor For Better Or For Worse Forever Eden For Love Or Money 1 For Love Or Money 2 For Love Or Money 3 For Love Or Money 4 The Good Life He's A Lady High School Reunion Hooked Up House Rules I'm A Celebrity - Get Me Out Of Here! In Search of the Partridge Family The It Factor Jackass Joe Millionaire The Joe Schmo Show The Joe Schmo Show 2 Last Comic Standing Last Comic Standing 2 Last Comic Standing 3 The Last Resort The Littlest Groom Liza & David Looking for Love: Bachelorettes in Alaska Love Cruise Love Shack Mad Mad House Making The Band Married By America Meet My Folks Model Citizens The Mole 1 The Mole 2 Mr. Personality Murder in Small Town X My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance My Life Is A Sitcom Nashville Star Nashville Star 2 Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica Next Action Star The Next Great Champ The Next Joe Millionaire No Boundaries The One Who Got Away The Osbournes Outback Jack Paradise Hotel The Partner Pepsi Play for a Billion Perfect Match: New York Performing As... The Player Playing It Straight Project Greenlight Push, Nevada Queer Eye For The Straight Guy Race To The Altar The Real Gilligan's Island The Real Roseanne Show The Real World The Real World: Paris The Real World: Philadelphia The Real World: San Diego Recovery Renovate My Family The Restaurant Rich Guy, Poor Guy Rich Girls Road Rules Road Rules: South Pacific Road Rules X-TREME Rock Star Scare Tactics The Search For The Most Talented Kid In America Second Chance: America's Most Talented Senior Sex in the Itty Bitty City Shipmates The Simple Life The Simple Life 2 Sorority Life Star Search Starting Over Super Millionaire Superstar USA Surf Girls The Surreal Life The Surreal Life 2 Survivor: Pulau Tiga Survivor: The Australian Outback Survivor: Africa Survivor: Marquesas Survivor: Thailand Survivor: The Amazon Survivor: Pearl Islands Survivor: All Stars Survivor: Vanuatu Survivor 10 The Swan Temptation Island A1 Temptation Island 2 Temptation Island 3 There's Something About Miriam 'Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen & Dave Todd TV Tough Enough Trading Spaces Trading Spouses Trista & Ryan's Wedding Under One Roof The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show The Weakest Link While You Were Out Who Wants To Marry My Dad? 1 Who Wants To Marry My Dad? 2 Wife Swap The Will World Idol

I'm sure there are some which are missing.  For example, I notice that "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire" is gone.  That wonderful show which pandered to family values and which joined together two total strangers in legal matrimony, for money, while Ellen and Shelly still are legal strangers to each other after a lifetime of a committed relationship.  But don't get me started on THAT again.

What began as a filler when Hollywood was facing an impending writers' strike has blossomed into an entire industry.  We are obviously hungry to share the lives and misfortunes of others.  (I suppose that given the popularity of soap operas over the years, this should not come as a surprise to me, but the attraction for using the pain of real people as a spectator sport does.)

I have not been caught up in the reality TV craze, save for Survivor and The Apprentice (which is really just "Survivor in the Concrete Jungle"), but I've seen interviews with the latest American Idol candidates, a bachelor in search of a bachelorette, Jessica Simpson and her husband, and everybody in the Osbourne family.   I can't find anything remotely interesting in eavesdropping on the private lives of anybody, and I can't imagine what in the world would compel people, especially those who are presumably already well off (so they wouldn't be doing it for money) to imbed a camera crew and have every moment of their lives filmed, and then edited down to only the juicy bits all to fit nicely into a one-hour format.

The worst, in my opinion are the "plastic surgery for fun and profit" shows, where people undergo major surgery for the delight and entertainment of a viewing public.  (If a patient dies on the table--which is always possibility [witness Gilbert]--do they just not get included in the series?  or do they let people know that this isn't entertainment, it's major surgery, folks, which has an inherent risk of death.)

I was going to say that I'm surprised that there is no reality funeral show, but then I remembered that there is a show about a family that runs a funeral parlor (though I've never seen it).

We even have reality war TV with live broadcasts from battles in Iraq.  I remember seeing one news broadcast (over and over again) of a camera man who had been either killed or injured--killed, I think (I didn't pay that much attention), where they showed the footage he was taking, and then the jerk as the cameraman was hit, and then the footage that was taken as the camera flew out of his hands.

Do we really need to know this much?  Are our lives enhanced by seeing live battle footage as it happens?

I also have avoided "The Big Loser" (also not on the above list) like the plague.  The promos I've seen have been the most odious, exploitive thing I've seen in a log line of odious, exploitive promos.  I might feel differently if I weren't a large person myself, but however "inspiring" the weight loss of these people may be, the idea of taunting them with food, filming their flabby bodies flapping all over the place, catching their tears of frustration...I'm sorry, there just isn't enough money in the world to either get me to participate, or to watch.  It's a look into people's lives that I have no interest in whatsoever.

Oh yeah--and then there was that series where spouses hire detectives to catch a philandering mate in the act with a lover and we get to witness the wife/husband's anguish on learning of the cheating spouse, and then the discomfort and embarrassment of guilty spouse caught in flagrante delicto.

Or how about the one about to start--the $25 million dollar hoax, whose premise is that a woman wins $1 million and then proceeds to spend it all on herself, thus alienating all of her family (and if she can pull it off, she wins $25 million).  Think of the pain this will cause the duped family in the meantime, even if they do get to share in the fortune afterwards.  But hey!  It's all for fun and money, dontcha know!   Who cares if lives and relationships are shattered forever.  There is a viewing public out there hungry for this garbage.

The granddaddy of all reality TV, of course, was the O.J. Simpson trial.  Was there ever a "show" that did more for daytime TV ratings?  It was high soap opera where nobody had to pay writers, editors, musicians, music editors, set designers, costumers, or lighting technicians.  It had to have been a producer's dream.  I know people who were glued to every moment of it.  I suppose there was the opportunity to learn how the judicial system works, but this idea that every American citizen has a right to know everything about anybody just doesn't sit well with me.

I did not feel I had the "right to know" every single detail of the Simpson trial, nor do I feel I have the "right to know" every single, gory detail about the life and death of Laci Peterson, who deserves greater respect in death than she apparently got in life.



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