AS THE LEAVES begin to fall and August becomes a mere memory, students begrudgingly surrender to a new school year. For most of us autumn means a new semester and slowly settling into everyday routines, but for big-shot TV conglomerates, it signals the start of fall programming.
Conveniently, our favourite television shows start just when we need an excuse to procrastinate on assignments, essays, and readings. But while there may be a flurry of scripted television shows on the small screen this time of year, there is no denying that reality television is here to stay.
It’s not a new trend. Reality television exploded in the early 2000s, but what first seemed to be little more than a fad is now overshadowing other programming. The trashy jokes, tawdry affairs, hookups, and breakups all make for entertaining television—it’s no wonder why such shows draw in millions of viewers. Still, there are some who roll their eyes at what they consider the mind-numbing and gaudy programming. The question on my mind is, why should they?
Reality television is like any other TV show, only they aren’t scripted—or we would like to believe they aren’t.
What makes reality television so good is that it’s entertaining. Isn’t that what TV is supposed to be? For stuffy, highbrow individuals, it might be hard to grasp that art is meant to be enjoyed. Whether it’s an art exhibition at La Petite Mort, a slam poetry show at Mercury Lounge, or even the latest vampire movie, art is supposed to be amusing. Art can be thought-provoking, go against the grain, and express different opinions, but it must be entertaining—otherwise, the audience will abandon it.
It’s OK that some people believe reality television to be a colossal waste of time that reduces your brain to mush; everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But reality TV is marketed to for mass consumption for a reason. The vast majority of us get our kicks and drama fix watching the fights, screaming matches, and tears that run rampant on reality TV.
Besides, we all know that the very same so-called intellectual, who is reality television’s biggest naysayer, is secretly catching up on all the latest drama on Jersey Shore and Big Brother whenever they get a spare minute.
Through The Lens is the column of the arts and culture editor, Sofia Hashi, who is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (613) 562-5931.