PBS Thinks You're Dumb, And They Are Probably Right



Have I detailed my redefined terms for Reality television programs before? Probably, but I'll go over them again.

I hate Reality TV. I hate every example of it, and I especially hate the term. And despite signs that after a decade and a half of having a strangle hold over the American networks, Reality TV is finally in a decline, I think we're in need of narrower terms for this colossus of crap that has ravaged the television landscape. "Reality" gets gone, and is replaced by three separate terms. First, Game Shows. Lump any "reality" show with a competitive component into the same category as Price Is Right and Match Game. So, all those singing shows where there is a final winner, any of those racing shows, or design and reno shows, or anytime somebody has to eat something gross to move on to the next round, those are Game Shows.

The next two can run into each other, but I believe clear distinctions can be made. Documentary TV: any of the shows like Cops or Dirty Jobs or Deadliest Catch. The programs that follow people doing a job, where the job is more the focus then the people. They get lumped into the same category as David Attenborough and David Suzuki. Finally, and these ones are the problem ones, what I call Vanity TV. The Kardashians. The Real House Wives. Judge Judy. The vapid, desperate whoring of ones self and whatever dignity they've got left to pretend their lives are interesting for cameras, so that sad people with empty lives can live vicariously through a fiction dressed up as real life for 22 minutes at a time. Also included in this category would be Duck Dynasty, and any of those shows that are designed to make the stars famous rather then illuminate a function or fulfil a purpose.

New York's PBS Thirteen has taken out some brilliant subway billboards, effectively belittling the viewing public for watching and accepting such crap. It is an effective example of public shaming, not entirely original (since every internet comedy troupe has done down a fake Reality TV spoof since the invention of YouTube), but man are they effective. And a reminder of exactly what networks and the cable stations are actively putting on TV, that these examples don't seem outlandish in any way. I remember in 2003 when FOX announced Man vs Beast, wherein 50 little persons would compete in a pulling contest against an elephant, and everything though "this has gone too far, this is the bottom of the barrel." Ten years later, and all we've learned is how much barrel there was left.

See four other examples from Thirteen's campaign after the jump.


 
 


Probably my favourite.

Via Uproxx.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

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