andy warhol, u had no idea

have you noticed how the once innocent reality show has gotten caught up in its own ego and is spinning out of control such that it's mounted an all-out takeover of prime time programming? back in the day, a television viewer could sit back after dinner to enjoy basic reality tv: siliconed castaways on a deserted island; dopey contestants slurping blended maggots; obnoxious americans waving the flag on a global scavenger hunt; "average" joes and jills vying for an on-air wedding to a stranger.

in a bizarre plot twist, the genre has morphed from "talent" and cash competitions to career launchers. no longer is there just a love affair or million dollar cheque at stake. as if it was possible, reality tv has gotten even more real. now, a contestant's career ambitions are on the line. if you want to be a supermodel, designer, chef, business tycoon, or boxer, you don't have to put yourself through that whole work hard and pay your dues kinda rigamarole of the olden days. the american dream has just been made simpler. just submit your 8.5 x 11 glossies and hope to be chosen out of thousands for the chance to have kathy hilton show you how to hold a fork.

um, thanks mark burnett. you and your peers are levelling the playing field so that all of us have a shot at being somebody.

it would be hard to declare a winner in the contest between who is more pathetic: the throngs of star-chasers who try to get on these shows or the millions of consumers who watch them.

wait a second. who am i to shit all over this stuff. unlike most people, i'm not in the closet about my fascination with this crap. i've been known to re-arrange my schedule in order to catch survivor and the amazing race. and yes, i have tele-voted for shmoopy singers on the idol franchises.

it's as if the reality tv genre itself is a character - oops, i mean contestant - we love to hate. we realize it's shitty and frivolous and assinine. we know it's entirely beneath us. but we can't help but tune in to just, um, have a peek.

at the very least, reality tv has made me realize that god dammit, i actually want to be a rock star. i may have missed my chance to front inxs. but i'm waiting for the inevitable follow-ups to this "most ambitious show in the history of unscripted television" ... rockstar nirvana, rockstar blind melon, rockstar the doors. gawrsh, i sure hope they pick me.


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