Monday, September 26, 2005

"Reality" Television

So, tonight, I was flipping through the channels on cable just to kill some time before I hit the gym (I'm a late night athlete, don't you know) and I found a reality television show that caught my eye. Basically, it was one of those shows where two households swap wives just to see what kind of wacky mayhem will ensue. This particular episode was one of those ones that really looks for contrast between the two families. One family was the clean-cut, baseball loving loving family and the other one was supposed to be the prototypical punk rock family who live in what appears to be Satan's den. Of course, you just know there's going to be some wackiness ensuing on this shit.

Sadly, I was only able to stomach watching the fucking show for about 10 minutes before it irritated me so much that I had to turn it off. But then I began to think about it a little. Something was definitely bothering me about what I had just seen.

The 10 minutes or so that I watched revolved around the mothers laying down the rules for their new surrogate families. Naturally, the punk mother was bent on getting the clean-cut family to cast of the shackles of conformity and told them that they would be attending a punk rock concert. And, of course, the clean-cut mother told all the punk rockers that they would clean up their act and that junior would have to get rid of his mohawk and black clothes so that he could go to a batting cage and practice his baseball technique. This was totally fucking wacky.

But you know what it was that was bothering me about all this shit? I could not think of any punk rock loving family that would put forth the effort to appear on a reality television show. And not only that, but I don't really know of any punk rock families. That is to say that I know of people who are into punk music, but you don't really see whole families embodying the punk ethos. It seemed kind of surreal. It didn't seem to make sense.

So I began to wonder, then, if, in fact, any of this show was real. Oh sure, they call it reality television and they do all that candid interview shit, but could it really be scripted and performed by paid actors? Of course it can. I would have an easier time believing a script with a punk rock family who would conform enough to want to appear on a major network reality television show than a reality where punk families are clamoring over themselves to appear on network t.v. Doesn't that seem odd to you, too?

Fuck. And the worst part of all of this is that here I am expounding on a fucking t.v. show that I don't even like just because it bugs the shit out of me how stereotypical the people participating it all seemed to be.

But Michael, sometimes the stereotypes are true. There are, in fact, punk families and there are probably punk families who would love nothing more than to be on a wife-swapping television show just so that they can be wacky for the whole nation.

Now I don't claim to be some hardcore punk. If you saw me you'd probably swear that I was exact opposite of a punk. So it kind of bothers me that I would profess to know anything about what the punk rock ethos is. But I was always under the impression that punk was about non-conformity. It was about being the counter-culture.

I'm not sure how appearing on a reality television show helps punks, but more power to them.

No comments: