Saturday, July 29, 2006

Why I still watch reality tv (or at least my rationalization).



It's very common for anyone who visits me at my apartment to find me tuned into some unlikely TV programming. Well folks tend to think that I would be sitting and watching Eyes on the Prize and the Huey P Newton story on a loop, instead they find that I am still obsessed with reality TV. I can't front, you'll find me watching Project Runway, The Hills, The Real World (just kidding, that show is terrible), The Real Housewives of Orange County or something of that ilk. Recently a friend interviewed me about my media consumption habits and I had to verbalize what I like about the shows that I commonly watch. It's always different when you say your thoughts aloud, maybe it's nommo or that old testifying from church, but once it slipped out my lips, it became clear, kinda.

I usually watch reality TV for the gross displays of whiteness. I can't resist it, it's like watching a car crash on the side of the highway or rummaging through medicine cabinets. When you're done doing what you've done you feel sorry that you did it and often feel like you've wasted your time. Well that's not wholely the case. I realized that reality TV has given me access to the conspicuous consumption that is enjoyed by some sectors of society. I think it's amazing/ridiculous that I can watch someone decide between an internship in Paris and spending the summer in Malibu with her boyfriend. With that said, I can't stand shows like "The Fabulous Life" on VH1 (has anyone noticed it's just a re-hashed Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous)which celebrates the material dimensions of privilege. I'm much more into watching Paris and Nicole struggle with understanding basic social functions. Okay, I know some of that is acting, but some of that stuff you can't fake.

As a Black man in America, I can't say I've had that many carefree days. Heck, it's only 1pm and I've been thinking of where I have to go and how I'll be received. As my homegirl once said to me, "Life must be really nice when you don't have to worry about oppression." Well, I think in a way, I get to see that otherside of the coin in "reality" tv, no matter how surreal it is.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

"gross displays of whiteness."

...Gross!!!

:P

David Boyle

Dancewithme2 said...

You don't have to make excuses for why you aren't writing. If you would rather watch meaningless tv (cause I don't watch any of that stuff - ha) then go right ahead.

Dumi said...

Ha ha, hater. I've been working hard. Got a chapter draft done and got it off to someone in the field. As well as got a bunch of things moving, so how is your work going?

Dancewithme2 said...

You know how my work is goin - NOWHERE!!! You are an even BIGGER HATER!!!! :)

Anonymous said...

As a reality tv addict, I was elated when the Flava of Love 2 Premiere was the best hour and a half of tv ever. Since the show is not overrun with positive images of Black women, this is most definately my guilty pleasure - which I can not and will not resist:-) Thoughts?

Dumi said...

Anon-
So Flavor of Love needs its own entry. There is so much (foolishness) happening on the show, though I fully admit that I watch it. I thought the opening was kind of "over the top" especially the closing. Let's be real, if someone shitted on your floor the first time you met them, would you keep them around? So I'll have to write about Mr. Flavor Flav or as my boy calls him the O.C. (original coon). But I will admit everytime I watch it I wonder what the hell happened to PE's Flavor Flav or who did I think PE's Flavor Flav was?

Anonymous said...

Interesting point how do you feel about the new surivor? An African American critic is supporting the show. He argues that shows like the apprentice and survivor have latent racism where only two type minorities exist: the bland non threatening and the minorities that represent stereotypes. He states that this season of survivor will question or challenge these perceptions of minorities. Attached is a copy of the article.

http://www.sptimes.com/2006/08/25/Artsandentertainment/A_different_approach.shtml

contribution complete

Dumi said...

Anon-
Well I think placing race "up front and center" does nothing to take away from the way these shows use race. The basic idea that certain cultural forms are more respected or rewarded will likely still happen. All the "tribes" will have to cheat each other, back stab, and on occassion work together. And this time, we'll probably get a chance to find out who is the superior race ;)