Reality shows not a reality

A recent AP-TV Guide poll found that four out of five Americans thought that there were too many reality shows on the air.

You Think? Finally, we may be coming out on the other side of the TV wasteland that is reality TV. Maybe I will start to watch TV again.

I admit, I catch the occasional “Fear “Factor and I am a religious watcher of Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter”. But I don’t need to keep up with the drama-rich antics of attention whores on “Real World,” “Real World vs. Road Rules,” or any other mind-numbing stupidity that drones out of my TV every night.

It amazes me that people with lives far more interesting and richer than mine find it entertaining to watch other people’s lives. You can experience it firsthand by going out and living it, instead of watching from your couch.

Some of these people have even become reality TV stars. Take Trishelle Cannatella for instance. She first appeared on MTV’s “Real world” in 2002. She was on VH1’s “Surreal Life,” the next season. The season after, she was on MTV’s “Inferno,” and is now starring in both E’s “Kill Reality,” and Bravo’s “Battle of The Network Reality Stars”.

I cannot blame her for parlaying her skill at being a human being into an acting career, but why I should watch her? Is she that good at playing herself?

Am I the only one who thinks things have gotten completely out of hand when we have career reality stars? Is it really reality anymore when we have what are essentially actors playing a recurring role of themselves?

In the same AP-TV Guide poll, 82 percent said the shows were either “totally made up” or “mostly distorted”.

Producers may not have a script, but they have a product to market and sell. It needs suspense and conflict, or viewers will change the channel. I cannot imagine that any successful TV producer would risk their job instead of giving some participants a little coaching on what to say or how to act.

ABC’s “Extreme Home Makeover” is another show with a problem. In it, ABC takes families who have experienced tragedies or are in financial straits and builds them lavish homes with cars.

This sounds like a great idea, right? It might work for some of the families, but I imagine that some of them become worse off than before the makeover.

If the family could not afford their living conditions before, how will they after? Gifts are a taxable form of income, so they will have to pay taxes for the million dollar home, two new cars, property taxes and car insurances.

These families are probably bankrupt the moment the show wraps. It may be heartwarming, but not a reality.

Reality would be helping these people find good jobs, build reasonable homes, buy cars they can afford, and pay their children’s college expenses.

But that would not be very entertaining, would it?