what thoughts rattle around in your brain when you're a mom of a toddler and a breast cancer patient?

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Reality TV: I just don't get it

What's the lure of reality tv? Seriously, there is nothing realistic about the storylines. People don't get stranded on islands and they don't switch mothers or have to eat bugs for food...at least not very often. The people on these shows know they're being taped, so it's not "real" in that way. From what I hear, the people featured are not the kind of people I'd be interested in getting to know more about and I doubt I would want to be more like any of them.

Nevertheless, most of the friends I have watch at least one or two of these shows. Last night, Dan and I watched "Trading Spouses" because a guy he works with (and the guy's wife) were on this show. I am embarassed for them! When the show was over, Dan went online to the Fox TV chat room and read what people were saying about the people he knew, The Gates family. There were 27,000 messages, mostly that Barbara Gates is a rotten, obnoxious woman and a terrible mom, both to her own children and to the child in her "substitute family." One person claiming to be their neighbor actually posted the Gates home address so people could send them hate mail.

Truthfully, I'm not a fan of Barbara Gates. She is a self important, self-aggrandizing, egotistical hypocrit and she makes a big deal about being a vegan (that's a vegetarian) and animal rights activist. Dan and I invited Barb and Bill to our wedding and as a nice gesture, we ordered them vegan meals for our wedding lunch. Not even one year later, Dan is chatting with Barb and she says she doesn't even remember going to our wedding! My other recollection of Barb is from the company Christmas party where she yelled at some poor banquet server because there was cream for the coffee but no non-dairy creamer and since she is vegan, she would not use cream. Fine...don't use cream (or, just bring your own non-dairy creamer if it's that important) but for pete's sake, don't harass the waiter. To me, this is a woman who just doesn't have enough going on to see what is and is not important in this life.

I'm not saying I'm the only one on earth who knows what's important now, just because I've been diagnosed with cancer. It was an eye opener certainly but I know my eyes were open pretty good before the diagnosis too. And I know lots of people who "get it" who are and always have been healthy.

I think I was going someplace with all this, but where? Let's recap briefly: I don't like Barbara Gates. I don't mind animal activists or vegans but it should not be the defining factor of a person. I don't understand why America loves reality TV so much. I think a lot of people miss the point of being alive. I don't think I have all the answers but at least I'm looking.