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Affronts to Old People #11 – God Damned Reality Television Programs

Few things bunch my shorts more than these god awful reality television programs.

Television was intended to be a showcase for individuals the likes of Milton Berle, Sid Caesar and Jack Benny. It was meant to lift people’s spirits and entertain, not be home to a motley assortment of dimwitted bachelors, blubbering dieters and wife-swapping dullards. These people aren’t television stars – they’re compelling evidence against the theory of evolution.

If I had any interest in staring at a bunch of talentless nobodies I’d pull my damned drapes open and look out the front window or attend the annual Mills family reunion. Honestly, these are people you wouldn’t speak to on the street, so why the Hell you’d invite them into your house 3 nights a week is beyond me.

And I sure don’t understand what any of these shows have to do with “reality” anyway. How many times have you found yourself on a desert island with Jeff Probst, a camera crew and just enough clothing to appease the network censors? Gilligan’s Island was more realistic for god’s sake and it had Russian cosmonauts, voodoo witch doctors and radios made out of coconuts.  

It was tolerable when there was one or two of the damned things but now they’re everywhere. They’re an invasive species – like zebra mussels, purple loosestrife and twitter. You can’t get on television these days unless you’re a mentally unbalanced hoarder who flies an ice plane, wants to work for P. Diddy and is parent to unruly quintuplets.

Listen – television was never meant to be realistic. It was meant to free us from the need to think, distract us from society’s ails and mind our children for us if we wanted a night out on the town.  If realism becomes the mandate of television what the Hell will become of Wheel of Fortune, Regis Philbin or CNN?

If they absolutely insist on producing this crap the very least they could do is make a show that’s sensible and which old people might enjoy. I’d like to see a program where a gaggle of television producers are confined to a nursing home and then set upon by a group of irate elderly residents who proceed to beat the living snot out of them with their canes for single-handedly ruining television and taking 10 damned points off the national I.Q.

The last one standing gets pudding and firm instructions to bring back Matlock.

Now that’s a damned reality show I’d be willing to watch.

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104 Comments leave one →
  1. 12:15 am

    Bravo Mr. Mills.

    This is post that all of us, young or old, can get behind. I live reality every day and believe me, I’ve seen enough.

    • 12:22 am

      Many thanks Bmj2k,

      An easy target I suspect but one that’s been chapping my ass for some time now. And I do believe I have seen enough as well.

      All the best,

      Don

  2. 12:20 am

    Reality shows are the creation of the Cinemafia. They have destroyed American entertainment. And I agree with you that they shouldn’t do anything to “Wheel of Fortune.” It’s a fine show and far from the reality I see when I am out and about.

    • 12:36 am

      Many thanks Ahmnodt,

      I don’t know anything about any Cinemafia but I sure as Hell agree that American Entertainment has been destroyed. While there may be a certain appeal to seeing Kari Ann Peniche demand juice from drug counsellors, I don’t think it quite matches up to the quality of something like this…

      • 7:57 am

        Notice how they used to speak real English on TV back then, too! Lucy says: I didn’t do so well, either. Young people today would say: real good – and not even realise it’s wrong.

        • 2:27 pm

          Many thanks Ian.

          I’m the first to admit that I could be far more careful with my words but I still cringe a little when some young person tells me that they are “good.” They may be “well” but in most cases they are certainly far from “good.”

          Many thanks for stopping in.

          Best regards,

          Don

  3. The Celtic Queen permalink
    12:54 am

    Oh Don Ive been waiting for your to post on this topic. We are bombarded with dancing shows where the make up alone makes Trailerparkbarbie look like
    she’s yet to apply it. (TPB you know I love your gravatar)
    We have survivals shows, football, cricket and more football to the point that we hardly ever switch on the TV. What happened to all the entertainment that we used to see? In Oz they are bringing back ‘Hey Hey It’s Saturday’ which is a crazy Saturday night live show. It’s funny, spontaneous and even has a segment called ‘Red Faces’ for anyone who thinks they are talented. This enables them to embarrass themselves and their families in front of the whole of Australia. I think in all they have 4 guests and they can will up to $1000.00. It is really very funny. It run for about 30 years in Oz then they took it off. However it’s back by public demand!
    We, like you get sick of our jungle friends taking themselves far too seriously. I’m also cooked out with all the chefs teaching me their trade.
    Bring back shows like Bewitched, Gilligan’s Island, Mash, Hogan’s Heroes but please not the Brady bunch. We have enough dysfunctional families in real life here.

    Excellent post as usual Don.

    • 2:33 pm

      Many thanks Celtic Queen,

      That “red faces” sounds a little like the talent evening they run now and again at the local seniors centre. It’s nothing if not amusing.

      I don’t care for witchcraft or the occult but Aggie and I sure did enjoy that Bewitched show. In fact, she wanted to name our last dachshund “Mr. Tate.” I had to put my foot down there. I wasn’t about to be seen running around the neighbour chasing a weiner dog and yelling “Mr. Tate, you bad boy, come here.” Talk about red faces.

      Nice of you to visit Celtic Queen.

      All the best,

      Don

      • YellowRoses610 permalink
        5:57 pm

        Hey, what’s wrong with Us Witchcraft types who dabble with the occult?

    • 11:55 am

      The Brady’s deal wasn’t dysfunction as much as it was that the jokes weren’t funny. The only entertainment it has today is plaid-bellbottom-based ridicule.

  4. 12:56 am

    The story around Hollywood is that Milton Berle was in a gym locker room and some guy was joking the others in the room about their lack of “size.” The other people in the room told the guy he was nothing compared to Milton.

    They called Milton over and sure enough Milton won the bet. After collecting the winnings, he said that he had “more” but only took out enough to win.

    That’s Old School reality television.

    • 3:44 am

      Isn’t there a story about a contest between Berle and Forrest Tucker at the Friar’s Club?

    • 2:35 pm

      Many thanks morethananelectrician,

      My god, son, but you have a lot of locker room themed stories. Anyway, thanks for sharing the story. The stars in those days were larger than life.

      All the best,

      Don

  5. 1:00 am

    Well done, Mister Mills, and I don’t mean well done like a steak on “Hell’s Kitchen”, where Chef Gordon Ramsay is chewing out some young rookie with enough language bleeped out to sound like clown music. If I want to see someone scream in a kitchen, I can listen to my wife after I attempt yet another failed recipe from that old Betty Crocker book above the fridge, where too many ingredients are altered by coffee stains and my failing eyeballs. There’s reality for you. Lucy took that kind of reality and showed us ourselves; now they just show us a bunch of idiots. Great post as always. These producers should take lessons from you, but nowadays they just steal!

    • 2:44 pm

      Many thanks Dan,

      I’m all thumbs in the kitchen as well. If a recipe calls for anything more exotic than burning toast or dropping a tea bag into a kettle I’m pretty much out of my depth. Aggie hated it when I tried to cook anything and while she didn’t have a particularly sharp tongue, she could give you a withering stare you’d feel for a week.

      All the best, Dan. Always nice to hear from you.

      Best regards,

      Don

  6. 1:02 am

    What was wrong with Star Trek, anyway?

    • YellowRoses610 permalink
      2:44 am

      Nothing what so ever.

      Live Long and prosper.

    • 2:46 pm

      Many thanks sledpress,

      I always found the tight pants a little troubling but beyond that I had no issue with Captain Kirk and crew.

      All the best,

      Don

  7. robinaltman permalink
    1:26 am

    I can’t even watch the stupid shows. I’m convince they destroy brain cells, and I’m running low already. Plus, as a writer, I object. There are so many talented people who are thinking up cool shows,(comedy, adventure, etc), and what do we get? Two silly families who swap wives. A family of 4 pretty girls who party all day and night and get pregnant by nare-do-well boyfriends. Give me a crack at a TV show. Please.

    • 2:52 pm

      Many thanks Robin,

      I’d be delighted if you were to get a crack at a TV show. I’m thinking a female, Bob Newhart-type therapist with a husband, 2 children and an elderly neighbor to act as the show’s moral compass.

      I think you’d have a winner there. Sadly, however, the Networks don’t consult with me on their programming choices.

      All the best, Robin, and thanks for stopping in.

      Don

    • Sedate Me permalink
      2:10 pm

      Once you take out Law & Order, CSI, NCIS and their respective clones out of the equation, you realize that there are only about 4 non-reality, non-comedy, shows on network TV and most are ripoffs/remakes of something else.

      Anything remotely original is lucky if it sees an entire season.

      Back in the old days, you wouldn’t get cancelled before 10 episodes, even if your show was so bad that only the family of the cast and crew were watching…but the networks still wouldn’t have dreamt of airing one episode of a Reality TV show. That tells you something.

  8. YellowRoses610 permalink
    2:41 am

    As Bill Clinton moved out fo the white house, before we knew how mornic bush was, we need some form of media to feed our thirst for scandle. No longer able to talk about Momica Lewskini or how ever the fuck you spell her name relaity tv was born. Same principal r4eally, Careing too much about other people’s indicritions, pertciularly the sexual ones.

    Fuckign annoying really.

    Well off to make home brwed peace cider

    • 9:43 am

      I thought it was spelt “Looseandkinky?”

    • 2:56 pm

      Thank you Rose,

      You seem agitated, Rose. I like that.

      I do hope, however, that all is well. And I think you’re absolutely right, of course. We have a damned unhealthy interest in everyone else’s business. If we spent a little less time concerning ourselves with the indiscretions of others and took more time to take a good damned hard look at ourselves – we’d be much better off.

      All the best,

      Don

      • YellowRoses610 permalink
        6:02 pm

        I’m doing well. Not good but well.

        I’m plotting, “Operation Whisky liberation”

        Which inolves getting back A bottle of whisky my parents stole form me but will never drink. (The bastards) I plot to drain the bottle into a another bottle and fill it with tea of the same color. Never mess with an Irish lass’s whisky.

        Reality Tv just irrates me. Must be the writer in me.

  9. YellowRoses610 permalink
    2:42 am

    *peach

  10. 3:17 am

    The biggest loser. Now there’s a name that pretty much sums up reality TV and those who hate their own loser life so much, they have to watch other peoples loser lives. The closest we ever got to that in our day was Groucho trying to find someone, anyone, smart enough to say the secret word, and that was light years better than anything on today.

    Last time I surfed facebook, I had to watch three days of reruns of the Andy Griffith show to recuperate. Don’t even get me started on twitter.

    • 3:03 pm

      Many thanks Jammer,

      The title really does sum it up doesn’t it. Those damned shows just terrify me.

      Thanks for visiting Jammer and for the classic Groucho. They don’t make television or television stars like they used to and that’s for certain.

      All the best,

      Don

    • Sedate Me permalink
      2:14 pm

      The Biggest Loser? Wasn’t that a TV version of the movie “Run Fatboy Run”?

  11. 3:43 am

    I inadvertently watched part of “Jerseylicious” this evening. It left me with a bad taste in my mouth and a great longing for shows of substance like “I Married Joan”, “My Little Margie”, and anything with Eve Arden or Ann Southern. Now those were classy dames.

    • 3:39 pm

      Many thanks texastrailerparktrash,

      Classy dames indeed. And I can’t imagine either of them ever agreeing to be part of anything with the ludicrous title of “Jerseylicious.” It sounds like the type of word you’d now expect to see plastered across the ass of someone’s sweatpants.

      All the best and thanks for visiting.

      Don

  12. 4:54 am

    i remember when the only reality shows were the news (which was actually news back then, not opinions) and candid camera. now, there are not only reality shows that put the spotlight on untalented, uninspiring, and unrepentant morons, but once they’re on one reality show, then they’re put in the endless loop of reality shows, where they’re recycled as “stars.” hell, they’re not even asterisks! the nastier and more obnoxious they are, the more assured it is that they will show up on another reality show in the future. i wouldn’t be at all surprised if omarosa gained 100 pounds just so she can piss everyone off on the biggest loser, and then when she wins that, it will be discovered that she lost the weight only because she was on speed. next stop, dr. drew’s rehab. once she’s clean, she’ll be dancing with the stars, and once she breaks a toe and has to drop out, look for her on the amazing race. of course, all that time on reality shows will take a toll on her marriage, so she make some time for divorce court. this can only end with her own show on the tv guide channel.

    • 8:41 am

      Ah nonnie, you just mentioned my favourite childhood show, let’s resurrect Alan Funt and bring back Candid Camera

      • 12:22 am

        i used to love that show. of course, let’s get rid of alan’s son. he made candid camera mean, and it was never meant to be mean, just funny.

      • Sedate Me permalink
        2:30 pm

        A few years back, I saw Allen Funt’s 1970 movie, A Very Candid Camera aka What Do You Say To a Naked Lady?

        It was a strange movie-fied version of Candid Camera involving mostly stunts with public nudity. I’m sure a lot of people got a surprise when they saw it, depending on which title the theatre was using.

    • 6:27 pm

      Well said Nonnie,

      And likely truer than we know. I’m with Nursemyra, resurrect Funt and bring back Candid Camera. And shoot it in black and white.

      All the best and thanks for visiting.

      Don

  13. 5:21 am

    It isn’t just TV that has been ruined by all these reality shows. American Idol has filled the radio airwaves with barely talented pop stars who’s music all sounds the same. This show has been on the air for what, eight years? That’s eight winners and eight runners up who warble and screech on my radio until my head wants to explode. I say boo to them all.

    • 6:31 pm

      I’m with you yellowcat.

      8 damned seasons of caterwauling teenagers! Surely to God we have enough Idols now? How many idols does one society need? Moses would be pulling his hair out.

      I’d like to see “Fallen Idols,” a show about how the former top 10 contestants managed the transition back into obscurity.

      All the best and many thanks for visiting. Always good to hear from you yellowcat.

      Don

  14. 5:48 am

    Why can’t they bring back “Make Me Laugh”? I loved that show. Instead they’ve replaced it with “Make Me Stupid”, which is any one of the many reality-based shows available. And it’s effective.

    • 6:33 pm

      Many thanks Tricia,

      Make me Stupid indeed. I think that’s the name of the show, the production company and the damned Network itself. And you’re right – it’s very effective.

      All the best,

      Don

  15. 7:15 am

    I suspected that you might feel this way Don. It’s too bad thought because I was thinking of approaching you with your own reality show offer.

    It’s called ‘Meet Mr. Balderdash’ and we would take an out of control young person, and basically make him old. Medications to hamper and weaken him physically. Drugs to slow and confuse him mentally. Dye and thin his hair. Basically trap him inside the body and mind of a senior, allowing him the chance to reevaluate his choices in life, and how he treats others.

    You’d be the one who would ‘show him the ropes’ of senior living. It would be a different kid every week, and always end with a teary moment of enlightenment.

    I’ll tell you what, don’t say no until you see the number I’d be willing to throw your way…

    • 8:42 am

      I’d watch that show Scott😉

    • 7:36 pm

      Many thanks Scott,

      An interesting idea but I don’t see myself in any kind of mentoring role and I prefer to stay as far away from teary moments of enlightenment as humanly possible. If you were able to tweak it so that rather than “show him the ropes” I “pelted him with rotten fruit and vegetables” I might be more readily convinced. The teary moment would have more to do with citrus in the eyes than enlightenment but people likely won’t care – as long as there are tears.

      Consider the changes. If you are agreeable, I’d likely be willing to waive any fee.

      All the best,

      Don

  16. 9:50 am

    Well said Mr Don! I thought it was just a britland disease “fecking unreality boredom” but your correspondents from three continents clearly reveal that is world wide! I assume that the great davantge to the telemediamoguls is that the progs are cheap to produce (in fact people may pay to participate) and raise funds from premium number telephone votes. Pluse the spinoffs into advertising and the terrible “personality cult worship” syndrome.

    Hell and handcarts…

    • 7:44 pm

      Many thanks Dave,

      Hell and handcarts indeed. I suspect you are right about the quick financial benefits to the networks. They surely aren’t making them for their educational value, entertainment value or out of the goodness of their hearts.

      Nice to hear from you. I trust you are keeping well and enjoying your spring.

      Best regards,

      Don

      • 6:22 am

        Thanks Don; spring in britland is going to be 3-4 weeks late AND now it looks as if we have to suffer the full general election nightmare from today until 6 May 2010!

  17. 11:48 am

    I love it Don. I think I am going to make the next great reality show geared toward seniors.

    The Real Widows of New York City Sleepy Hollow Nursing Home.

    I think we will see some nasty stuff.

    • 7:46 pm

      Many thanks Bearman,

      Sounds to me like you have a winner on your hands there. Let me know if you need a creative consultant. I wouldn’t mind a trip to New York – I still have some outstanding business with the United Nations that needs tending to.

      All the best,

      Don

  18. Bob Adler permalink
    1:50 pm

    Right on, Old Fart! By the way, the time is past due for the title “Old Fart” to be recognized as a serious designation for those among us who remember when common sense truly was generated by having attained the status of old age accompanied by some level of wisdom. In the “reality shows”, I feel sorry for the father/child teams. It’s a pity thst those senior parents feel that the only way to bond with their children is to make fools of themselves for ego gratification and some producer’s Neilson lust.
    Thaty’s all I can stand for now!!!!

    • 7:52 pm

      Many thanks Bob Adler and welcome.

      I fully agree and support the serious designation of the title “Old Fart.” Send a petition my way and I’ll be happy to start collecting some damned signatures.

      All the best and thanks for the comment,

      Don

  19. 3:25 pm

    Dear Don….who I will try to woo til my dying day,

    I love the nursing home reality show idea. They could have walker races, hide the dentures, who’s contispated this week, and who can sneak in to that racy Old Lady Walter’s room without being caught games! The ideas are endless…..”Who is the most upset this week because those damn ungrateful kids didn’t come and visit them again?”. Or, Cane Wars and Wheelchair Derbies! Now, that’s the kind of stuff that I might watch (and place bets).
    Like you, I’m sick of every Tom, Dick, and Mary thinking that their lives are interesting and worth being watched. Geez…..I’m just waitng to see a show like “How I Toilet Trained My Unruly Toddler” or “Spoiled Teenagers Go To The Mall” to show up on the roster. Now, I must admit that I would be tempted to watch gangsta teenagers going to the mall and popping a cap in the ass of those parents who think that we should be subjected to watching their bratty little prostitots vie for Supreme Queen of Toddlers and Tiaras. Ya know what’s wrong with those people? They need to get a damn life!!!! Do something constructive! Give something valuable to society! Take those hundreds and thousands of dollars that they spend on Little Betsey’s fake teeth, clown-looking makeup, and butt-crack showing, junior sized ho’fo’sho’ dresses and donate it to starving kids! What’s wrong with those people? I’ll tell ya what….CODDLED…they have been coddled all their pitiful, wasted lives. I despise coddling!
    Bring back Candid Camera! Now, that was a good reality show. Watching people get surprised or shocked never ceasing to entertain me. Surely, there is another Alan Funt out there somewhere. Those guys on Jackass are not even worthy of fetching an ice tea for Mr. Funt!
    Now, I’m riled up. So, I think I’ll just sign off and go look up the addresses for the television executives of the channels that put that crap on television and give them a piece of my mine. I might even suggest a new show…”Crabby Old Fart Tells It Like It Is” and the sequel…”Crabby Old Fart and The Woman Who Is Wooing Him Without His Desiring It”.
    What do you think, Don? Would ya consider starring in it for some really big bucks? You could buy a hellova lot of Keep Off My Grass signs and some pretty sporty suspenders.

    Yours fondly (and stalkingly)
    TrailerParkBarbie

    PS Hope you had a great Easter and got some good surprises in your basket! As for me, all I got were some damn plastic EMPTY Easter eggs!

    • 8:03 pm

      Many thanks TrailerParkBarbie,

      You can sure pack a Hell of a lot into a comment. From wheelchair derbies to prostitots to ass-capping to coddling to Alan Funt to pitching shows for Network executives – you cover a lot of ground in a few short paragraphs. I’m impressed.

      I think the nursing home show has a lot of potential. People love prison stories and you’re right there are countless opportunities for fun and games. The only down side might be that the “voting off” could be a little too permanent and somewhat somber. Nevertheless, I think it could be fun.

      Naturally, I’m with you on the mollycoddled front. It’s damned unfortunate that the primary lesson we seem intent on teaching young people is “don’t worry, someone else will take care of that for you.”

      And as for the pitch, well I’m afraid I’ve always been told I have the perfect face for radio so we may have a bit of an uphill battle there. Shame…

      All the best and many thanks for the comment.

      Don

      P.s. I hope you had a Happy Easter as well. I’m sorry to hear your eggs came up empty on Easter but hopefully you still managed to enjoy the day.

    • 9:45 pm

      I’m with TPB – Candid Camera was the best. I even rented the old shows from Netflix. Wish they could bring back shows like Get Smart and Barney Miller. And what’s with all the lame re-makes? Except the recent Star Trek movie. That was cool. 🙂

      All this reality crap started with the Jerry Springer show, which gave a free pass to every loser in America.

  20. 3:41 pm

    The first reality show that I was aware of was “Survivor”. I watched one episode and realized that I was not interested. I haven’t watched a reality show since, except for passing through while surfing my way to a rerun of I Love Lucy or the showing of an old black and white movie on TMC. All this voting and running around making “pacts” or whatever they call it, gossiping in corners, talking trash about each other, lying to each other, it struck me as a televised version of what went on in the halls of high school between the cliques. Ever notice that none of the people on the show ever actually die, even though it is called survivor?

    Biggest Loser? Doesn’t the title of the show strike anyone but me as oxymoronic? What is so riveting about it anyway? Eat less, exercise more. Don’t devote hours of prime time to this. I’m so not with it I don’t even know what the premise of the Amazing Race is, and I’ve never watched Idol at all, don’t listen to radio so I’m not even aware of the “hits” that yellowcat is referring to.

    We are deep into the “Bread and Circuses” phase of the American Empire, and like the Persian, Roman, Russian and British Empires before us, we are now mired in Afghanistan. Watch the next episode to find out whether this empire will fall like the others. . .

    • 8:10 pm

      Many thanks healingmagichands,

      I love the comparison of these shows to high school politics. It’s entirely accurate and probably fully intended on the part of the producers.

      I couldn’t agree more about the “Bread and Circuses” phase of Western culture and also seriously wonder what it might be a prelude to. I’m curious to find out but, in the same breath, rather glad that I won’t be around to witness it first-hand. I suspect it won’t be pretty.

      Enjoy your reruns, your radio and your books, healingmagichands.

      All the best,

      Don

    • Sedate Me permalink
      2:53 pm

      I think Survivor should be played exactly as advertised.

      All these Reality TV fame-whores should be put on the island with no food, no water, no rules and play until all but one, the Survivor, is left alive. Honestly, I don’t think it would really affect the show’s ability to get contestants, so great is the need amongst these camera-sluts to get famous.

  21. Gnash N. Teeth permalink
    5:11 pm

    Mr. Mills,
    Excellent post! Yes, I thought TV was supposed to be a platform for those who worked hard to appear foolish, not those who simply ARE foolish. (Lucille Ball was a GENIUS, may she rest in peace).

    Re: the idiots w/ quintuplets on up: Why the bloody hell would anyone foist this fate onto themselves? You need to write a rant about IVF run amok, especially amongst the near-menopause set. My best friend (also in her mid-40s) just squeezed out the 2nd kid w/ hubby via IVF. At this stage in life, running after toddlers & having my already southward-heading bosom get further distended would be a nightmare.

    But I digress.
    Thanks again, sir, keep up the excellent observations!

    • 8:17 pm

      Nice to hear from you Gnash N. Teeth,

      Lucille Ball certainly was one of a kind. A great performer – no question.

      Now, I have to confess that I don’t know a great deal about recent trends in reproduction other than the fact that people seem to be having litters instead of children. And that they seem to be having them at a much later age. It’s troubling but so much “progress” is. I’ll have to read up some more on the subject. I’m sure it will scare the Hell out of me.

      Many thanks for the suggestion.

      All the best and thanks for visiting. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.

      Don

  22. 11:14 pm

    You’ve nailed it, Don. Nothing defines “lowest common denominator” more than a bunch of people, supposedly “just like us,” gloryhounding and attention-whoring their way all over the airwaves, depriving us of quality entertainment or the will to live.

    As everyone continues to backstab and/or sleep their way to the top of Mount WhoGivesAShit, the universe continues on, refusing to revolve around them. I can only hope that more on-set tragedies strike, like disgruntled former exploitation-fiends come stumbling back onto the lot, with a BAC of .15, a chip on their shoulder and an automatic weapon or two waving unsteadily.

    The sooner reality TV turns into an average day at school or Employee Recognition Day at the post office, the sooner we can get back to quality television like Knight Rider or Herman’s Head or Cop Rock. At least someone was scripting the mind-numbing banality rather than pretending that a “cinema verite” life is worth living.

    Perhaps it’s time to start a letter-writing campaign targetting the attention whores. In fact, every letter could start the same way:

    ATTN: Whore

    • 4:27 pm

      Many thanks CLT,

      I like the idea of the letter writing campaign and commend you on the pithy salutation line. It’s an attention getter and certainly cuts to the heart of the matter.

      I’ll have to look up those programs you reference and give them a look. Although the titles sound vaguely pornographic and a little suspect, I trust that you wouldn’t steer me in the wrong direction and that they are all quality, family entertainment.

      All the best,

      Don

  23. 2:10 am

    Hmmm…Don, you do have a point about the downside of the Old Folks Reality Show. It could prove to be (fatally) devastating to those who get the boot. Prehaps the old losers (not being disrespectful..they would be old and losers) could be compesated with a hearty extra helping of lime jello served up with a tidy shot of Jack Daniels or Valium (their choice) to ease their embarrassment/pain. Whaddya think? Could we have a reality show WINNER here? Before you answer too quickly, consider all of those brand new, extra-large, and smelling of fresh paint KEEP OFF MY GRASS signs that could be had for the money you would get for your contribution to this much-needed reality show. Plus, you would be contributing to some real quality entertainment. Aggie would be soooo proud!

    TPB

    PS Thank you for your kind condolences on the crappy, empty plastic Easter eggs. It’s always nice to know that someone cares (even if it’s not your family that you have busted your ass for and sacrificed any chance of future happiness…not that I’m bitter or anything cause then you might find me an unattractive candidate for your attention somewhere down the road in the future).

    • 4:33 pm

      Many thanks TrailerParkBarbie,

      You’ve certainly got stick-to-itiveness on your side and people do love extra jello.

      I think you may be on to something here.

      All the best and keep on pitchin’,

      Don

      p.s. No need to worry about appearing bitter. I can barely tolerate my damned family and consider them all to be useless layabouts or worse. Despite this entirely accurate assessment, I consider myself a cautious optomist and a happy-go-lucky old man.

      • Elgin Mills permalink
        5:25 pm

        “Useless layabouts or worse”?

        What the Hell?

        You’d better be talking about York.

  24. Mary permalink
    2:20 am

    Don,
    your blog and your observations are hilarious and frighteningly accurate.
    Just want to pass on to you that I heard on the radio this morning that the latest ‘reality’ show ‘Star’ is going to be Wayne Newton, as if anyone needs more of his plastic surgery and shoe polished hair looks. I guess he owes the IRS BIGTIME and this is his solution. Is there NO SHAME? (rhetorical question).
    Now, I must confess that I’ve been caught watching some of this stuff just for the sheer jaw dropping I can’t believe this is happening’, disbelief that people will get in front of a camera and say and do the things they do. No SHAME. One show I recently came upon was called Pretty Wild and showcases 3 bratty teenagers ( I believe one was arrested for stealing, prompting, of course, a camera crew to move in with them) and their ditzy mother who after telling the 3 that they are moving, causing one to blow a fuse and slam upstairs to her room, shrieking like a banshee, sits outside her daughter’s room tearing up and saying over and over, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” In one ‘scene’ two of the girls are trying on clothes IN FRONT OF A CAMERA CREW, and they have to blur out her naked breasts. Is there NO SHAME??
    Sheesh, my parents were in the Army and we moved 6 times by the time I was 5 and no one ever asked me if it was ok with me.
    Keep up the good work here and I’ll be passing your link around.
    M

    • 4:40 pm

      Many thanks Mary,

      My God. A Wayne Newton reality show and shrieking bratty teenagers. You’ve pretty much just described my vision of Hell.

      After reading your comment it strikes me that “No Shame” might be an excellent name for one of these television programs. If nothing else, it’s honest.

      Thanks for visiting, Mary, and all the best.

      Don

    • Sedate Me permalink
      3:36 pm

      Mary,

      Thanks to the bacteria-like multiplication of security cameras, spy cameras, cell phone cams, computer cams, Google’s Stalk Everyone On Earth, and God knows what kind of secret technology the US government has, it is now reasonably safe to assume everybody is being recorded 24 hours a day by at least one person or group, if not more. Twenty years ago, even just suggesting that would get you institutionalized. Today, it’s celebrated.

      The young people are so used to being on camera, they don’t even notice a camera crew is recording them naked, never mind care. If they did, they’d probably welcome the attention.

  25. 4:47 am

    A great post as always, Mr. Mills:)

    Reality TV shows are made with the primary assumption that the audience is made of idiots. We used to have reality show here (I don’t know if they’ve already begun telecasting it again as I haven’t watched TV for two months.) This show was a copy of the British show, “Big Brother.”

    I tried watching it – because I wanted to know what could make people watch it day-after-day. So I sat in front of the idiot-box and watched about a dozen people sleeping in the pyjamas, waking up, using the toilet (they showed us the closed doors), brushing their teeth, cooking, eating, bad-mouthing each other using beeped-out four-letter-words, watching TV, wondering what their families were doing, eating food, cleaning, and then going to bed again!

    I watched and I wondered…why anyone, however stupid, would be interested in watching a dozen average-looking, jobless people (only a jobless person would get into a fishbowl to earn…I think even a beggar has some degree of self-respect,) move around a house like zombies!

    And a huge Thank you for the Lucy videos:-)

    Warm Regards,
    Shafali

    • 6:17 pm

      Many thanks Shafali,

      I’m familiar with the American version of the show. I think the working title was “Let’s Watch Paint Dry” but they decided “Big Brother” had more damned panache.

      Now if they made it with real zombies instead of bored young people…that would be interesting.

      All the best,

      Don

      • The Celtic Queen permalink
        12:16 am

        It really does my heart good to know that there are like minded people out there who detest these shows as well. I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me as people in ‘The Hub’ (new fancy name for our firm’s tea room) where my work colleagues were always chatting excitedly about the next ‘Big Brother’ episode. I used to think, “what is it that I’m not getting?” I tried to watch it but……. I tried to watch Survivor but…….. I’ve even tried to watch The Australian show Who Wants to be a Millionaire?????? What with audience participation or phone a friend, I was always of the opinion that when asked a question in a game show you either knew the answer or your didn’t. None of this time wasting nonsense asking for help.

        As for the sulking kids not wanting to move, we moved countries not suburbs. How would they deal with that I wonder?

      • Sedate Me permalink
        3:50 pm

        Mr Mills,

        I am just old enough to remember when Big Brother was the character in George Orwell’s book, 1984, where people were watched by cameras 24 hours a day….and people considered such a society evil.

        Today, people clamour to be on camera 24 hours a day.

  26. 5:42 am

    It clearly wouldn’t be up your old cat alley, but I loved “True Beauty” the show where the contestants have to be beautiful, on the inside, and out. This is put to the test in the Beauty Hall of Fame where there are tricks to test if the contestants have ‘inner beauty’, like if you saw, an old man like yourself, get run over, would you stop and help, that kind of murky moral stuff. I think its great, and ever so useful, because more than anything we need people that are nice AND really, really good looking

    • 6:17 pm

      Thank you RubyTwoShoes,

      Remind me to be more careful when crossing the road in future. I’d hate for a broken hip and open head wound to throw anyone into a murky moral dilemma. Call an ambulance or update my facebook status? If only things were more black and white.

      I’ve never seen the show you mention but it in my view we need more people that are nice and ugly. Ugly people are generally better citizens, less selfish and more inclined to do as their told.

      Just my opinion of course.

      Nice to hear from you RubyTwoShoes.

      All the best,

      Don

  27. 7:11 am

    You’re completely right Don on all accounts. I hate the TV and haven’t seen anything worth watching since ‘I Dream of Jeannie.’ Now, if they came out with ‘Undercover Gynecologist’ I might watch that for an episode or two. Enjoy the pudding and your week.

    • 6:40 pm

      Many thanks FJ.

      I think we can safely say that the notion of Undercover Gynecologist has safely ruined my week and put me off my pudding.

      Still, I appreciate the visit. Always good to hear from you.

      Best regards,

      Don

      • 12:25 am

        I think they already tried the undercover gynecologist idea on an episode of “Candid Camera -Live and Uncut”.

        Boy, that Peter Funt guy will do anything for a laugh…

  28. 3:21 pm

    I concur, Don. (Thank God for the thesaurus, I was starting to get sick of typing the word “agree” all the time.) What the Hell will become of Wheel of Fortune, Regis Philbin or CNN, indeed.

    Although I’m not sure what purple purple loosestrife is, it’s true these shows have invaded our lives to the point where every time you sit on the couch and turn on the television, there’s a show about someone sitting on the couch, turning on the television. I mean, seriously, if I wanted to see that, I’d look in the mirror!

    (Or, if there wasn’t one around, I would probably just pretend to turn the television on, while looking at my reflection in the screen.)

    Now if Matlock were to do a reality show, I’d be all over it like Angela Lansbury’s lipstick on the entire lower part of her face. For real.

    Insightful post as always, Don.

    Your friend,

    Bschooled.

    • 6:45 pm

      Many thanks Bschooled,

      I suppose that “Wheel of Philbin” as hosted by Wolf Blitzer might be a compromise. Angela Landsbury could turn the letters and point out flimsy alibis. I can’t imagine what the point of it would be but I suppose that would just make it all that more attractive.

      I’ll dash a letter off to the Networks now. If they’re interested, I’ll be happy to share a producer’s credit.

      All the best.

      Your friend,

      Don

      • 12:36 am

        Thanks, Don.

        Let me know what they say. And if Angela is too busy with Hollywood Squares, tell them to give Tyne Daly a call. Chronologically she may be a little young for the role, but trust me when I say that the years haven’t been kind…

  29. lookingforsomethingtofind permalink
    7:02 pm

    Reality TV also makes us young people look worse than we are. I mean we’re not all promiscuous, tattooed, poorly dressed and party inebriated all day (more of us than I’d probably like to believe, but not the numbers that these shows seem to imply) . As an aside I had the pleasure to attend a taping the who wants to be a millionaire special, and shake hands and have a short chat with Mr. Philbin, he seemed like a really nice down to earth guy.

    • 10:17 pm

      Many thanks lookingforsomethingtofind,

      I think those programs make everyone look worse than they really are. At least I certainly hope so because if it is a realistic slice of our cultural pie we’re in worse shape than I damn well thought.

      Glad you had a chance to meet with Mr. Philbin. He’s an energetic old guy and he’s done well for himself. I give him full credit.

      Best regards,

      Don

  30. 8:42 pm

    I have an idea for a show that we can all enjoy.

    You take a room full of tattoed, face-pierced brain-dead 20-year olds. And get them to hit themselves over the head, repeatedly, with 2×4’s.

    The winner get to live in his Mother’s basement for another 6 months, rent-free.

    I call it “Last Assclown Standing”.

    • 10:18 pm

      Thank you Friar,

      Quite possibly the finest television program ever proposed by mortal man. I’ll start the letter writing campaign, you round up some wood.

      I love it, Friar. Thanks for that.

      All the best,

      Don

    • 10:21 pm

      Many thanks doggonedmysteries,

      I’m not familiar with the show myself. I’ll look it up and pop over to read your article as well.

      All the best,

      Don

  31. 6:34 pm

    Mr Mills. Reality TV is the cancer, eating away at TV as we knew it.

    In the UK, we had documentaries (remember them?). Documentaries of real quality. There was a programme in 1964 called Seven Up following a cross section of school children from the age of seven and following up with a show every seven years to see how they fared. It was interesting as it was a series done in real time. You needed to invest time in watching it, as it wasn’t speeded up for the convenience of a generation that wants everything by two days ago. The last show was in 2005 and the ‘children’ were 49 years old. By my calculation, we’re due another one in 2012, though I fear with budget cuts and the reliance of Stupid Shows™ it may not come to pass.

    Although I hate reality TV with a passion now, I will defend the first series of Big Brother and Wife Swap. When they started, they showed how people got on when placed in an unfamiliar environment. There was a genuine excitement. However, as soon as the wannabe class caught on to the fact that this was a way to instant fame and fortune, without the need to either having a lick of talent, or working hard, the gates were flung wide open. The producers were rubbing their hands in glee as the sad and deluded literally fell over themselves to be cannon fodder, if it meant they could be famous and love, love, loved for two seconds. We are now ‘enjoying’ the benefits of that Pandora’s box today. Worse still are the celebrities on the slide that need these programmes to keep their profile up and no show is too embarrassing or low for them. Don’t even get me started on these super rich heirs and heiresses who have to have their own show and flash their stupidity as well as their wealth. I’m glad I’m not able to access such delights as Jersey Shore, which I’ve only heard about, but not yet seen.

    I don’t subscribe to Sky for a reason.

    • 10:30 pm

      Many thanks Pie,

      I absolutely love that 7 up series. I followed it closely for years. Compelling stuff and that’s for certain. I never did see 42. I don’t see many movies anymore but perhaps I’ll stroll down to the local video store and see if they might have them in stock. (I won’t hold my breath). I truly hope they continue with the series – that’s one sociological study you’d like to the producers to see through to the end.

      And I couldn’t agree more with your assessment of what’s transpired now that the flood gates have been opened. I think you summed that up damned well.

      All the best and thanks for reminding me of the 7up series. I’m looking forward to getting caught up.

      Regards,

      Don

      • The Celtic Queen permalink
        12:41 am

        Yes ‘Seven Up’ was shown her in Oz too and I hope we get to see the next one. It was great viewing so thank you for the reminder.
        Those little children with their very proper English accents were delightful to listen to and could string a sentence together showing a maturity well beyond their years. Now even our teens struggle with ‘ it’s like and like and like yeah ‘ till I could almost scream.

  32. 2:28 am

    I loved Gilligan! Too bad the professor couldn’t make him smarter. And if that was a reality show, one of those girls would have ended up pregnant!

  33. Lynn permalink
    12:19 pm

    well i certainly agree with everything you say here don. for some mysterious reason the local news networks here in the U.S. now think these shows are news!! Aargh! thanks for another entertaining read..

  34. 2:05 am

    Blahahaha Mr Mills I would watch an elderly version of Survivor. It would probably last 2 episodes, long enough for them to build a raft and get the hell off the island!

  35. 3:05 pm

    A+

  36. 5:09 pm

    Remember the whole Balloon Boy circus out in Colorado – all fabricated so that the family could get a reality show of their own?

    I like to think that, instead of catering to the moronic bright-shiny-object masses, the producers of Jersey Shore were setting up a more complex joke about radios made out of coconuts and ridiculous balloon-based stunts when they cast the 0% talent, 94% breast-implant likes of J-WOWW.

    But then, I’m an optimist too.

  37. 1:50 am

    Dear Mr. Mills,

    I agree with you 100%. When the likes of someone nicknamed “The Situation” is considered a star, I know we are doomed.

    Thank goodness I know how to change the channel anytime I see a “Biggest Loser”, “Real Housewives of __________” (my mother was a housewife for many years and never behaved like those women) or the one I just saw recently “Hoarders”.

    Hoarders? People who are clearly mentally ill agree to go on TV and show off how sick they are? What in the world is going on.

    I do remember my mom watching a show called “Queen for a Day”. 3 women would tell how horribly sad their lives were. The audience would clap and the woman with the saddest story would win a washer and dryer.

    Nope, they don’t make TV shows like they used to.

    Best Regards,

    Mrs. King

  38. Shafali permalink
    1:53 pm

    There’s a show that they run here…I don’t even know what it is called, but it shows young men and women forming relationships of the one-to-one and one-to-many kind. Then a man or woman who thinks that he or she in a one-to-one discovers that his one-and-only is into a one-to-many relationship, he or she breaks up, breaks down, then recovers to get into a many-to-many relationship…

    Sorry, did I make a mess of it?

    They are making a mess of relationships!

    And this program is shot in a semi-dark place, where no decent old, middle-aged, or even young man or woman would like to be seen!

    Warm Regards,
    Shafali

  39. 1:58 am

    I can’t stand “reality” shows either….only a brain-dead idiot would watch them.

    I couldn’t even watch a whole episode of “survivor” when it first aired (had to watch it to see what the hype was), I was NOT impressed.

    Trisho

  40. Sedate Me permalink
    5:07 pm

    Mr Mills,

    Media scholar Marshall McLuhan once said, “Television sucks the brain right out the skull.”

    Reality Television sucks the brain right out of the skull, puts it in a blender full of battery acid and flushes the mix down the toilet into the sewers. It is the most vial TV trend since…well…Hitler first came up with the concept.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1079415/Hitler-planned-Big-Brother-style-television-broadcast-Nazi-propaganda.html

    Like Hitlers concept, the current incarnation is also designed to present real-life Aryan role models, but with more ethnic diversity and much lower standards. Like Hitler’s concept, it is everywhere and unavoidable.

    The current incarnation is an attempt to get us to model ourselves after these mindless, irresponsible, hyper-competitive, self involved, greedy, little fame-whores. Why? Because the corporations who sponsor this garbage find it easier to sell products to people like that. It also gets us used to the concept of being under constant surveillance.

    And guess what? It’s working. Hitler is rejoicing in his grave!

  41. 4:55 am

    Dear Sir,

    I fully agree with your stance on ‘reality’ television, despite being borderline young myself (I am however cranky and despise most people, so perhaps that counts for something).

    I would like to suggest another reality show worth creating (although perhaps not worth watching) — combine politics with reality tv.

    Imprison all the contestants in a house for several months, make them take part in Survivor style challenges, add in SMS voting, and each week have them come up with policy on a given theme.

    We can call it ‘So you think you can be ‘.

    Once they’re ‘voted out’, instead of just sending them home with a pat on the back, we just shoot them.

    Not only do the people get the leader they deserve, but by the end of the show any country would be in budget surplus due to product placement and SMS voting.

    After a few seasons of that, the calibre of politician ought to improve as well.

  42. Dennis Teel permalink
    5:20 am

    it’s great that you people can come here to reminisce..but you’re no different than everyone else..time moves on and things change..others my age are pining for old shows like mcmillan and wife and for more crosby stills and nash music to appear on cd someday and they miss turntables and of course they bash any kind of music that came out after the 70’s disappeared…my sister is 67 and hates any kind of music that came about after elvis,karen carpenter and john Denver all died..my point is that everyone’s interest’s seem to stagnate as they get older at one major point in time,they don’t like the new music ,the new movies,etc…you people are old fashioned..period..just like the people I spoke of..as I got older,my interests didn’t stagnate..i didn’t let them..i enjoyed the music and movies of my high school days(70’s) and I enjoyed listened to and bought much of the music and music videos of the 80’s and the same with the 90’s and 2000’s when it arrived..and 2010’s..i listen to much of the current music and like many of the movies..i don’t feel an inside emptiness for the old days.i prefer not to..and yes..it’s a choice one makes.

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