Is It Time To Check Myself Into Reality TV Rehab?
They say the first step is awareness, right?
I realized my addiction the other night, as I flipped through reality TV shows faster than... well, Bruce Jenner in the 1976 Olympics. (Now how apropos is that?!)
I was skipping between "Real Housewives of Whatever-City-Is-Filming Now," "Keeping up with the Kardashians," "Jersey Shore," and "Basketball Wives" - the big four of reality trainwreck TV shows. It’s entertaining (and definitely a guilty pleasure) but it’s also staged, edited and in some cases, just really bad.
I became a reality TV addict seven years ago when I was trying to escape the reality of being a new mom. I had the postpartum "baby blues," I was breastfeeding every two hours and I felt like a caged animal (it was February, and I only ventured out once a day to my mother’s for a few hours). I was sleep deprived and irrational. I couldn’t watch the news, crime dramas,or anything involving violating or harming children, parents or human beings in general. It was reality TV, with a few sitcoms thrown in for good measure, and that was it.
Here was my lineup:
- The Real World
- Road Rules (and all the challenges)
- Amazing Race
- The Nanny
- Wife Swap
- Jon & Kate Plus 8
- Celebrity Apprentice
- Martha Stewart’s Apprentice
- The Biggest Loser
- Dancing With The Stars
- every Food Network Show
- Trading Spaces
- What Not To Wear
- Big Brother
- Blind Date
- The Osborne’s
- Project Runway
- Joe Millionaire
- The Hills
I even watched A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila and Bad Girls Club. Trust me, I had a problem.
See, for me, TV is an escape. I love watching it, in fact, I love it as much as I love to curl up with a good book. But back then, I didn’t have time for books. I couldn’t breast feed and read; I couldn’t read while I was cooking dinner or folding the laundry, and I couldn't completely escape the harsh realities of a newborn baby by absorbing myself in a book, because reading requires focus. I'd have to absorb and process, when all I really wanted to do is stare at the idiot box and not think about a damn thing.
So seven years later, I’m sitting on the couch flipping from reality TV show to reality TV show, when I realized that 80% of these “characters,” “cast members,” or “celebrities,” as they like to call themselves don’t have even a single redeeming quality.
I was disgusted by one episode where Theresa Giudice (from the Real Housewives of New Jersey franchise), behaves like a bratty sixteen year old and trash talks just about everyone, but like any good trainwreck, I continued to watch. The next day, I read that Kate Gosselin was trying to find another TV show to exploit herself and her children on. She said that doing any other job would be giving her children a mediocre life.
Really? So nurses, doctors, firemen, teachers, journalists, and bloggers are all mediocre? Okay, really?
Appalled by my addiction, the clouds parted and it became clear (although it's possibly the editing) that the large majority of the people on reality TV shows are basically living on another planet - they are mean, obnoxious and rude.
So I made a decision: I was going to detox from reality TV. I decided that I don’t need to clog my brain with these individuals and their insecurities, as I have enough of my own to sort out. No more Housewives, Jersey Shore, no more shows that require strangers to live in a home together. From now on, I'm only watching those that serve some sort of a purpose or warrant a prize: The Biggest Loser, Dancing with the Stars, Chopped, Project Runway.
You didn't think I was swearing off reality TV entirely, did you? I said I was detoxing, not going cold turkey!!
Find more from Deanna: www.theunnaturalmother.com