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Don’t judge lest ye be judged

March 15, 2010

Previously I wrote about the Fox Reality Network, and its plethora of… well, interesting viewing. Looking back, I have come to the conclusion that I have done exactly what I set out not to do. That is to denigrate reality television. I am setting out to prove its virtue, and free us from shame! By relegating some tv as “good” and some as still “shameful”, I am no better than people who watch nothing but PBS (although on a side note, the reality tv show Faces of America was interesting at times. Although on PBS its not reality, it’s a “genealogy project”. But that is another post for another time). 

So it is up to me to recap, set things straight and find the virtue, or societal commentary– intended or otherwise– in the shows Fox had on offer.

My Bare Lady: This was the show that allowed porn stars to be transformed and act on London’s West End, or in season 2, be legitimate business women. This show seemingly accepts this professional sexualized woman. Yet the tone of this show still continues to marginalize and look down upon what it is they actually do. The perception within society of late is that the sex industry is beginning to cross into the mainsteam. Pornography is considered acceptable, people talk freely about aspects of their sexual life, Playboy has gone from being hidden under a mattress by men to being a brand that women embrace. Yet this show implies that there is something wrong with these women for leading the lives they do. They need to be fixed, ergo the theater and the business schooling. No matter how many best sellers Jenna Jameson may write, this is still a profession that we are not completely comfortable with.

Smile… You’re Under Arrest: Ah, the cross between Cops and Punk’d. How I wish I’d gotten a chance to watch this at the time. The show works, firstly, by appealing to our sense of justice. We don’t like to see people get away with bad actions. Watching Law and Order, don’t you hate it when the jury lets the murdered go? Or is that just me? We all have a desire to see people get their comeuppance. If we didn’t jails would probably be less crowded, and people wouldn’t campaign to keep the death penalty. Another reason this show appeals, is for the simple reason of Darwinism. We can’t help but be intrigued by watching stupid people and often, feeling superior.. My father is obsessed with the Darwin Awards that are created every year. I’m pretty sure if this show was shown in Australia, he would have watched it too. 

Solitary: this one is short and sweet. From Aristotle, to Freud, to Jung to Plato, we are always fascinated by the way the human mind works. Particularly when it is pushed to breaking point. This situation may not be reflective of reality, but the reactions shown are. For that glimpse into our hidden nature, we will always continue to watch shows like this.

Seducing Cindy: I’ve already written on the quest for love, and how we translate this into our reality show viewing. This is part of this show, but also reflects one other aspect. Our obsession with beauty and looks. Otherwise why would the fact that this woman was the most downloaded person in the 90s make any difference? Do you think if she was a descendant of Sarah Plain and Tall that she would have men lining up to give her a kidney? The nice, but not so hunky, man who was a contestant was sent home due to a “lack of connection”– read, lack of killer abs. Sometimes its about love, sometimes its about looks. Who can say that life isn’t like that?

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