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Jeff Hersheway: The Walking Travesty of 'Jersey Shore' and Reality TV

Fall out of the habit of excusing your DVR for having shows that are "So stupid, they're funny."

I'm just going to say it: Reality television, whether it is a game show, dance show, trashy housewife show, or an overly-creepy toddler beauty pageant show, is the lowest form of entertainment in the industry. People are so fascinated by these so-called "real" characters that they forget just how trashy the program is.

So why are we all so fascinated by people such as Honey Boo Boo, Abby Lee, and whatever Bachelorette is currently running? Across America, families are tuning into these trashy television programs, craving an experience that takes place in the "real world" and yet displays a group of insane weirdos who are as far from reality as people can get.

Take the walking travesty that is Jersey Shore. The main point of this show is focusing on these abnormally tan and tragically idle twenty-somethings going to clubs, partying and sleeping with the nearest drunkard. Now, most people I've talked to — teenagers, actually — know that this is no way to live life. A lot of people excuse their obsession with this program because it's "so stupid, it's funny." All right, OK, cool. But honestly? Do we have to waste our time watching "real" people make fools of themselves on national television? What kind of society do we live in that our only source of entertainment is watching other people destroy their lives?

It's a pretty creepy concept: We watch these kinds of shows because, although the people on them may be prettier, have more money or have won an obscene amount of dance competitions, we think we're better than them. Even in some of the better reality shows, like Survivor or Amazing Race, the American audience is watching with a sort of elevated narcissism. If contestants are facing off against each other in a challenge on Survivor, a lot of people are thinking, "I could totally do that. If I were on this show, I would probably dominate." Or with Here Comes Honey Boo Boo people are thinking, "These people are trash. Thank God I live in a place nowhere near them." 

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is white trash America at its most stereotypical, displaying the most outrageous of the redneck culture Hollywood could dig up. If you watch this program, think of your reason why: Do you learn anything from this show? Is there any artistic merit to jumping in mud puddles and squealing like pigs? Do you walk away from this show and seriously think, "Wow. That was an hour well spent."

What exactly are we looking for in entertainment anymore? These shows aren't satirical, clever or artistic. This is Hollywood blatantly mocking people for the enjoyment of the American audience. Should we really be hunting for reality shows in order to make us feel better about ourselves? The worst part about all of these shows is that the subjects enjoy making fools of themselves. As long as they get a paycheck worth four college educations, they’re all set with passing out in dance clubs.

Hollywood is feeding us trash, we know it, and we love it. How sick is that?  

The people of America need to demand better entertainment. Reality television is a huge industry simply because we refuse to stop laughing at all the stupid people the Hollywood executives find out there. The more we encourage trash on our televisions, the more the actual smart shows, from witty sitcoms to well-developed serialized dramas, start to disappear. If we keep up with allowing Duck Dynasty to beat dozens of decent network television shows, eventually all we'll have is reality show after reality show, mocking America for its mistakes and making reality stars rich for doing absolutely nothing.

We have to find better viewing habits. Look around a little bit harder for a show you don't have to excuse for being stupid. Entertainment doesn't have to be mindless. Comedy doesn't have to be the denigration of southern culture, or an obese dance instructor emotionally abusing prepubescent girls, or orange people losing consciousness on a dance floor. Drama doesn't have to be Snooki dumping Ronnie. 

Watch good television, if you watch television at all, and stop adding fuel to Hollywood's fire by giving in to the exact thing you're watching these programs for: stupidity. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jeff Hersheway December 08, 2012 at 07:10 AM
For the record, I didn't spell the title.

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