Tuesday, February 19, 2013

More Complaints about Reality TV

I had an interesting first today. During my appointment with the doctor, for the first time in my life I heard the phrase “possibly cancer.”

Keep reading, mom. Don’t anyone go buy me a yellow bracelet just yet. I doubt I have cancer. But the doctor saw something that was odd enough that for liability reasons he wants to do some additional tests.

Still, hearing the word “cancer” from a doctor is not good times. It made me feel like the time in high school when my dad had to ask me if we needed to have a talk about what is appropriate to look at on the internet. When the doctor said it, I felt like I had been caught doing something wrong or at least embarrassing.

I immediately decided that I wouldn’t tell my wife about it, because she would worry more than is necessary. Without getting into too much detail, what the doctor found is completely fixable, cancer or not. I don’t want my wife to worry for a few reasons:

1.       I’m still young enough that I maintain my Superman complex. Nothing can really hurt me, because I am a strong young man, plus I have three kids, so I have “dad strength” as well. Untouchable.

2.       By the time I am old enough to really worry about cancer, science will have discovered a cure for cancer. Do you worry about polio? No? Well, a hundred years ago polio was much scarier than cancer is today.

3.       Most importantly, even if I do have some small form of cancer, I have the insurance, support system, and general healthiness to treat it and be fine.

The point is, I’ll be fine. I would never compare the nervousness I felt for a moment in the doctor’s office to any real challenge that most humans face in their lives. We would do well to settle down with the “look at me!” drama of our own lives and instead be grateful for how amazing everything is. We can do better.

Anyway, despite that long introduction, this post is not about me. This blog is about The Bachelor, American Idol, and all the other reality TV contests that fabricate or exaggerate dramatic sob stories to make their contestants seem interesting. These shows are destroying the sensibility of millions of Americans.

I understand that last sentence might seem like hyperbole, but let me provide a couple of examples from just the past week or so that prove my point (If you are wondering how I can be so hypocritical and still sleep at night, just remember that my wife likes the shows I am about to mention. Since I like her, I put up with the shows, too).

I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life now.”

This was said by a tearful Desiree, a beautiful 26 year old woman who had just been dumped on TV by a guy who has been openly making out with at least 5 other women. Not only did the break up completely shock Desiree, it also apparently destroyed her life!

Look at that statement in bold above. Sean, the current “Bachelor,” not selecting her to be his future former TV romance partner, has ruined all the plans for her life. It is ludicrous for a gorgeous 26-year old woman who was on a TV show to feel this way. And yet, all across America, millions of women said exactly what my wife said while Des sobbed in the limo, “Awe, that’s too bad. I liked Des, she was so cute and normal.”


“I just don’t understand how they can just destroy a person’s dreams like that. I mean, this is my dream; I’ve worked so hard and made it so far. I deserve to be a star.”

One of the talentless losers kicked off American Idol last week gave us this beauty in her parting testimonial.  The narcissism evident in most of the contestants on this program borders on breathtaking. It used to be a fairly entertaining talent show. Now it’s simply a freak show of desperate weirdoes who will do anything for a mere taste of fame.

When did we get here? When did this insatiable need for fame eclipse the concept of adding value to the world and doing something that matters? Can you imagine what would happen if the same number of people that tried out for American Idol, The Voice, or X Factor put the same time, effort and passion into studying medicine or engineering?

Most people can sort of sing. But the ones who actually make it in the music industry can really sing. Wanting to be famous and loved by millions for doing as little as possible is an epidemic in this country. Where are the friends and parents to tell these delusional divas, “I love you, but you can’t sing.”? Just because someone can sort of hold a tune, does not mean they understand the part about music that moves people.

Let me provide an example within my example. You may have noticed the recent popularity on these shows of the Gotye song “Somebody that I Used to Know.” Everyone wants to sing it because it has that hypnotic beat and those big notes leading up to and in the chorus. Tempting for someone trying to show off their range, right?

But here’s the thing about that song: The phrasing is important because it is syncopated with that beat everyone loves. You have to know the words, and you can’t take a lot of liberties to throw in a few vocal runs or it ruins the pace.

Secondly, and I’m going to pick on the girls here, Somebody is NOT a sexy song. It is a duet that explores the lingering feelings for a past flame while trying to stay faithful in a current relationship. It is a confused couple trying to salvage a relationship while one of them is still hung up on a post break up relationship with a former girlfriend. It’s the George Costanza anthem.

If I see one more teenaged girl trying to sexify the song by awkwardly cat-walking across the stage with the sleeveless shoulder shrugs and the smoldering gaze I will cry genuine Native American tears. Listen to the effing words of the song and stop hiding your crippling insecurity by dressing like the stripper version of Stevie Nicks, ladies.

“I’m thinking about getting some plastic surgery today. We’ll see.”

This was said on Real Housewives of Who the Hell Cares?  I can’t provide any further information into this seemingly huge decision made as if she was buying laundry detergent because as soon as I heard that line I jumped out our second floor window.

I’ve pretty much rambled in this post, but I think my point is that life is amazing. We spend too much time buying into these “First World Problems” or Reality Show problems and we become soft and unbearable, unable to identify what really matters.   

So tonight I’ll go home and spend a little extra time with my daughters. If they want to play “Disney Dress Up” or “Mom and Honey” then I’m up for it. I’ll give them big hugs and remind them how much their dad loves them. But I won’t do it because of the doctor appointment this morning; I’ll do it because I don’t want them to end up on The Bachelor.  


  1. Oh, I miss talking to you. :)

  2. Mom and Honey is a simple game. One daughter plays the mom, the other plays the kid, or "the Honey." My job in the game is to pretend to come home from work and play Hungry Hungry Hippos with them, then pretend to drive them around the house to the mall and to "college." Also, if they pretend to get hurt, I have to pretend to put a band aid on the owie.

    So basically, Mom and Honey is the surreal experience of playing myself in the live action game of my life...