Jan 202003
Authors: Shannon Baldwin

In case you haven’t noticed, reality TV shows seem to be the hottest thing to cater to the lowest common denominator since boy bands and Britney Spears, and you can’t escape their reach.

Some would argue that “Survivor” was the one that started it all. Then there are purists who swear that MTV’s “The Real World” is the one with that honor. Whatever the truth, the phenomenon has spread like an untreated rash.

I never had the slightest desire to waste my time with any of these shows, but how could I write a diatribe about Reality TV if I had never watched them?

So I was rather delighted to see that on Thursday night, Fox was replaying both of the original “Joe Millionaire” episodes that I had missed, the WB was showing “High School Reunion”, and the Av’s were playing the Red Wings. Oh good! I could watch the game and then flip back and forth between the others to see what all the hoopla was about.

It turned out to be a rather painful evening on all counts.

I couldn’t stand “High School Reunion” beyond a full two minutes. A bunch of people with one chance to redeem their reputations from high school? For the love of Pete, who cares? It was 10 years ago … in high school. Are you people still worried about this? Even if I was, I can’t imagine national television would be the best place to go about rectifying the past.

Then there were the bits I caught of “Joe Millionaire” between my bits of Joe Sakic. Dear God, is this thing real? It’s an interesting concept: getting 25 women to compete for the hand of one millionaire on national TV, only to find out that he is no millionaire at all.

Despite my distaste for the whole phenomenon, I have to appreciate the devious sense of humor this scenario presents. It comes down to a question: Will the lucky winner dump our hero when she finds out he’s only worth $19,000 a year? If so, will she be able to convince the audience that it’s because he lied to her and not because she’s a gold-digger?

As I watched, I became exceedingly embarrassed for my gender. “He’s so handsome! He’s so funny!”

Are we talking about the same guy? The man has the personality of a wet sponge. I would assume Fox would air the best part of his interactions, and if this is the best he has to offer, then these women are too caught up in the game to see straight.

And I wonder if he knows what a hypocrite he is? All he talks about is wanting to find a woman who will like him for his personality and not for his money. A girl who will love him for who he is and not for his bank account. Here’s a tip, don’t go on a reality show telling them you’re worth $50 million.

But then this same honest-to-goodness regular guy, in explaining why he selected one woman to stay during the elimination rounds, said something to the effect of, ‘I don’t really know her because I didn’t spend much time with her, but she’s really hot so I have to give her a chance’. Please. Do you hear yourself?

And so ended my Thursday evening. The Av’s lost 4-2 to the Wings, and I witnessed American pop-culture slide down yet another notch. Even so, now I’m shamefully curious to see if Joe Millionaire will keep the girl when the lie is found out.

Ay, there’s the rub.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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