The Wednesday Pop Culture Rant has been getting acclimated to our new digs here at Calliope Crashes. The boss needs to get over himself, but what are you going to do? We can’t help it if we’re the cash cow of this outfit; a corner office and Swedish masseuse is just the price of doing business with The Rant. We work hard for the money, so hard for it honey, so you better treat us right. The Rant briefly considered stalking Donna Summer in our youth.
The Rant has been enjoying an embarrassment of riches of late. Per our instructions last week, spring has busted out all over. After basking in the sun, we log on to Netflix to watch Tina Fey’s new show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. God bless you Tina Fey. A comedy that is funny for more than three minutes with actual characters and narrative arcs. Imagine. As good as television is right now, there just aren’t a plethora of well-crafted laughs out there beyond stand-up and sketch shows. Plethora. That’s why The Rant gets the big bucks. Call me Tina.
We get paid to rant: The tragedy this week of two helicopters crashing en route to filming a French reality show in Argentina with ten deaths resulting, several of them Olympic athletes, highlights the danger and nonsense that has become “reality” television. So let’s do ourselves a favor and quit using the name.
There never was “reality” television. Reality television would involve people staring at their phones all day, snapping selfies, and overusing exclamation points on their Facebook posts. No one wants to watch that.
These shows are carefully scripted. In fact, the Writers Guild of America has consistently fought for fair compensation on the shows, arguing networks have used the term “reality” as a clever way to avoid paying them. There are villains and heroes and people on the shows are often encouraged to behave in ways that fit the storyline. The shows are then carefully edited, often out of context, and this “real” world is then packaged to the audience.
At this point The Rant doubts anyone is actually getting duped but the poor people that go on these shows. Producers should make it clear they are involved in a fantasy, that they are acting, and that in the end they might not like the character the show crafts for them. I have heard people say everyone knows what they are getting into, but you cannot understand that monster until it has devoured you. There should be more responsibility by the people that pretend to keep the Chimera on a leash. Chimera.The Rant may ask for a raise.
The Rant has long held that if these shows are going to continue, at the very least children should be barred from appearing on them. They have no way of making an informed choice, they are manipulated, social media harasses and bullies them, and as far as we’re concerned the entire practice borders on abuse. If adults want to sell their souls to appear in front of a camera, that’s their business, but we can do better than robbing kids of their childhood and emotional well-being. We no longer allow minors to work in coal mines but we let them associate with Gordon Ramsay. The Rant isn’t sure which one is more toxic.
So let’s just call the whole process Contrived TV, make sure everyone understands the nature of the game, and if the participants and viewers want to suspend their disbelief and call it reality, more power to them.