"How REAL are they keeping Reality Television?"
by P. Kellach
In case you live in a cave, or perhaps do not own a television (which
sort of confounds the issue of why you are reading this column at all) you
have been subjected to the fact that increasing fad on TV this summer is
REALITY TELEVISION. You can watch real people eating rats and trying to get
sand out of private places (No, wait.. I think that will be on the out-takes
tape which will undoubtedly go on sale in time to be a delightful Christmas
present.) on Survivor. You can watch a bunch of people shoved into a house
seemingly decorated by an LSD addict with a Dr. Seuss Color-scheme fetish on
Big Brother. You can also watch old standbys on MTV with The Real World and Road Rules where strangers respectively see if they will get on each
others' nerves or ours worse, in a mansion and in an RV running all over
creation doing bizarre things (Sort of like Jehovah's Witnesses)
Well, the point here could be to analyze the Survivor island's social
Darwinism or make deep hypothetical statements about us as a society to be so
mesmerized by this voyeurism...but this is a humor magazine and none of
those things seem very funny.
So instead I would like to venture into a flashpoint scary territory with
my tongue firmly embedded in my cheek and look at how REAL or NOT these
shows' demonstrations of stereotypes among their minority cast members are
confounding me and many of my fellow TV-watching compadres.
First I'd like to look at gay people. ( No, not that way.)
On The Real World... we have Danny. Danny is an incredibly humane, nice,
well adjusted, faithful and exceedingly non-neurotic fellow. Ok, what is the
HELL is that about? I am not knocking how refreshing it is that Danny isn't
bedecked in the entire Abercrombie & Fitch Catalogue or perhaps in drag while
going around belting out "Don't Cry Out Loud" but I mean... look, I have been
involved in many aspects of the arts all nearly all my life where we oddballs
who still date women are the minority so I am here to tell you...
This fellow just isn't gay. I do not care how much he loves his
face-electronically-hidden-cause-he-can-ask-and-not-tell-but-just-not-french-kiss-a-boy-on-MTV-because-he's-a-solider boyfriend... I simply refuse to
believe there is such a thing as a gay person in today's society (much LESS a
southern one) who is THIS lacking in "issues." I am indeed wondering what
kind of stereotype this fellow is supposed to be denouncing because he is
just TOO friggin' NORMAL. For that matter he is too friggin' normal for a
straight person. On the other side of this sociological observational coin
(Ok, I am still trying to be funny with 50 cent words at times, sue me) we
have Richard on Survivior. Here is a big fat gay guy who does SO much for the
gay community by being the only person who insists on walking around NAKED (
ewwww) but is alternately bitchy, obnoxious, manipulative , domineering,
insensitive and just plain icky. What message is THIS fellow sending? And to
confuse this further in between grouchy-swishy lambastes of the other
Gilligans and Gingers he is the only one "man" enough to throw snakes around
with his bare hands and catch eels and weird fish and things. He could
confuse any gay OR straight person.. but regardless of what example HE is
setting...one thing is for sure.
He needs to put his clothes back on.
Moving away from gay folk lets tackle another minority's representation by
looking at 2 of the African-American gentlemen. On Big Brother for some
reason , I don't know maybe CBS is trying to offend an entire race...the
fellow named Will under the pretense of someone who was "Keeping it real" not
only seemed to make it his life's work to get in EVERYONE else's face and
piss them off, make them cry, or make them emit dog-only-can-hear noises like
he did to the girl named Brittany with the wacko hair...he was THEN later
revealed to be a Black Panther who then compared himself to JESUS on morning
interview shows once he was (surprise!) the first one thrown out of the
house. Offensive does not begin to say what this demonstration does to BOTH
black AND white people.
Gee, why don't they consequently just get a white person who owns a LOT
of sheets next time (or better yet get a German fellow with a small mustache
and let him room with someone named Malvenstein) because in CBS allowing
someone of this kind of fascist bent to be under this kind of a television
microscope is doing as much to PROMOTE racism as Archie Bunker did to promote
the idiocies of bigotry.
And our final example, what about this African-American fellow on The Real
World? What IS that towel he insists son wearing on his head all the time?
And is he TRYING to make liberal people racist by throwing the babyfied "
Man-ain't-gonna-get-me-down" tantrum by when he was assigned to do a little
"This is who I am about" video? Instead of politely looking at the camera
and saying what his likes and dislikes are he INSISTED on making a hideously
embarrassing low budget rap video where he was standing next to expensive
cars he didn't own and oogling about being someone who PLAYS women because he
is a player (Are they video games, these women he plays?.. If so I don't want to be
BEGIN to wonder where the quarter goes.)
Ok so where does that leave us? Well, It says the people who cast these
sorts of shows refuse to think Black Men can exist without being shown as
only immoral goofballs or inverse-fascist wackos and that the ONLY way gay
people can be is either PERFECT beyond normal belief, or bitchy and obnoxious...and perhaps nude.
So what is one supposed to gather from all of this? I tell you what...
let's just forget all of this and invoke another STEREOTYPE for us guys out
there. Forget all of this guys, lets just ogle the women on these shows like
the hormonal pigs that we are. That behavior is much easier to understand.
And we can just look away when fat guys take their clothes off.