Reality Show Woes

If you have your ear to the pop-culture ground, you probably heard about the death of Jasmine Fiore, the ex-wife of VH1 reality show contest Ryan Alexander Jenkins and his apparent suicide.

Ryan Alexander Jenkins
Ryan Alexander Jenkins

Both happened within a span of a week, bringing about the cancellation of production company 51 Minds’ Megan Wants a Millionaire and the pending I Love Money 3, both in which Jenkins was a contestant (and the winner of the latter). Pulling the shows off the air may be the first decent thing VH1 has done in some time — and no, bringing back Behind the Music doesn’t count.

AKA: Struggling Actors Need Money Now
AKA: "Struggling Actors Need Money Now"

Like sibling network MTV, VH1’s programming has hit a brick wall, unleashing wave after recycled wave of banal, dating-based “reality” programs and “reality” documentaries about sports stars no one cares about. With by-the-numbers production — one-dimensional characters, trick editing to demonize or prop up characters and story lines and stereotypes galore — increasingly catering to a sinking lowest common denominator, getting audiences to care about the shenanigans of wannabe actors and actresses became a voyage to the bottom of the barrel.

Jasmine Fiore
Jasmine Fiore

And these thespians, many of them cruising the reality-show circuit, are questionable in character themselves. Whether it’s sex tapes (NSFW!) or pooping on people’s floors, they are grouped into situations aimed at supposedly bringing out the emotions of the contestants. If there are real displays of sadness and anger, having mentally unbalanced people in unstable situations and surroundings is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. (And the reunion specials on VH1 are like UFC brawls in pink bling and glitter.) I wonder if  production companies like 51 Minds do background checks on their employees before throwing them in front of the cameras.

It never gets old.
It never gets old.

Sadly, it took the death of a quasi-celebrity and his ex-wife to even bring about such a question. At the same time, people became interested in the mindsets and motivations of the actors fighting for fame and fortune. Too bad that it came in the face of tragedy, shining such a negative light on the reality that people watch these shows in the hope of avoiding.


2 thoughts on “Reality Show Woes

  1. Greetings Mr. Genial Black (if that is your real name).

    I find my delicate sensibilities offended by the tone of this article, which subtly implies that reality shows are not the pinnacle of American culture. While I too am shocked by the macabre recent turn of events, I do not feel it necessary to belittle, besmirch, bemoan and other verbs staring with “be” an industry which reflects to a T the exact level of intellectual vigor of its captive audience. If these shows are gone, what will these stout souls watch, Two and a Half Men? Are you that cruel?

    Please remember that without this wondrous entertainment trend, no one would have ever heard of Tila Tequila nor heard her sing.


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