Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Hills Have Eyes...

They also have perfectly sculpted noses, blindingly white teeth, and large breasts, but what don't they have? You got it no matter how deeply you look, not an ounce of intelligence.

I have been thinking about this since I read Surcie's post about something similar. Let me explain, so last week I went visit my family. One of the things my sister and I always do on these visits is watch TV together. Now I know what you're thinking...huh? But seriously its good bonding time. We stay up late and watch all the shows that we're too embarrassed to watch with our parents around. So my sister introduced me to this show called "The Hills." Ok you've probably all already heard of it, but until recently I didn't even have cable so I'm not really up with what the cool shows are. So we watched "The Hills" together. Well, let me tell you what...I was appauled. This show is a reality show about some girls that live in L.A. They are a perfect example of what happens when you give someone everything they've ever wanted for 20 years. Seriously, these girls were ridiculous, their dialogue was absolutely insipid. In the episodes that I watched poor Heidi had deal with the devastating reality that her ape like boyfriend wasn't "treating her like a princess" (a line that she really would have been able to pull off better if she were four and dressed in costume jewelry). And then there was poor Lauren who had to make the daring decision to join her equally ridiculous boyfriend at the beach house, or go to Paris (a dramatic decision obviously engineered by MTV the show's mothership). Oh poor things! (my hand is on my forehead as I feign swooning). I thought to myself while watching this show what is the big draw? What keeps shows like this one on the air? Well the easy answer is: we do...I mean I admit it I was watching it too, but the bottom line is that it was entertaining. Like the bearded lady at the circus, my sister and I were drawn to this show, like the people slowing down and grotesquely straining their necks to see a car wreck on the side of the road. So then my next thought was what's wrong with that? and I think there are two answers to this question.

1. Nothing, its just entertainment, it doesn't matter. (This is the answer that all of the viewers have come to, and that is why the show continues to be popular).

But then there is answer number two and that is where the problem lies for me.

2. Its just entertainment, it doesn't matter. That's the answer. Its just entertainment, it doesn't matter, but all the while this entertainment that doesn't matter is seeping into our lives, taking up our time, soaking into the psyche of our little girls, and with this entertainment there is a message. The message is this...its ok to be a stupid person void of any depth, if you have the right clothes, lots of money from mom and dad, and a boyfriend; and if you don't have those things its o.k. to be absolutely, supremely selfish in order to get them.

Before being a mommy I was a social worker and let me tell you I have worked with children who have watched their father, weapon in hand, threaten their mother's lives. I have worked with children whose mother's have put their drug addiction before her own little ones even to the point of knowingly sacrificing her children's for those vile drugs. I have watched siblings, who feel they have no one but each other to count on being forcibly taken away from each other by the foster care system. I have worked with tired, broken souls trying their best to heal themselves and protect their families. And I can tell you: these. things. mattered.

So instead of seeing Lauren work at Teen Vogue, I'd like to see her helping (dare we say voluteering) in a child abuse shelter, or an inner city school, or somewhere else where there is need (Heaven knows there is plenty of that to go around). Instead of showing girls what they should have maybe she could show them what they should be. Can't we change the emphasis from what we can get to what we have done? I for one don't have time for this kind of entertainment anymore.


Nettie said...

Fantastic post! I regret that I didn't spend more time as a teenager working on who I was and what I had to give to the world, and less time focusing on what I had or how I looked.

I keep thinking the reality tv fascination will pass, but it just goes on and on. Makes you wonder if we are spending far too much of our lives as a nation watching other people live theirs, in the most artifical situations the producers can come up with.

Morning Glory said...

Very well said! A good reminder that there is a "power off" button on all TVs and remotes.

beth said...

Very, very well said.

Julie Julie Bo Boolie said...

BRAVO! I must admit I've never been a fan of reality TV... but that's doesn't mean that i don't waste hours on the computer either. Definitely time for me to refocus on giving. Thanks for the kick in the butt.



Julie Julie Bo Boolie said...

I'm glad you liked my idea about Thoughtful Thursday.. you should know that this is the post that inspired it.

Thank you.


Lei said...

Amen, sister! You said it!

sweetmagnolia said...

I don't relate to the spoiled, bleach headed, silicone injected vapids on TV. Sometimes I do watch them on occasion in the same way I might stand by and watch a burning building or pass by an automobile accident to see if anybody's hurt. It is morbid curiosity. Not a morally degenerative habit, just a predictably human tendency to gawk at the unusual or the absurd. :-)

surcie said...

Right on!!