Saturday, July 28, 2007

Lessons from Reality TV

by Tory Butterworth

Okay, I'll admit it. I do it, at least once a week. And I'll bet I'm not the only one who reads this blog who does it, too. I bet most of you out there have done it at least once. At least I'm willing to admit to it, openly on a blog.

I watch reality TV.

Worse yet, I'm almost beginning to believe it has something to offer, above and beyond temporary mindlessness. I'm starting to learn lessons from reality TV.

Pretty scary, eh?

On "Hell's Kitchen," at the end of each show Chef Gordon Ramsay sums up why the contestant who's leaving didn't make the cut. About one contestant he said, "She's got leadership ability, but her cooking ability doesn't match up."

A week or so later, I was having a discussion with some friends at work about why a supervisor didn't like a former employee of hers. One of my friends said that people naturally followed the staff member, even when she wasn't seeing the "big picture." Chef Ramsay's words came to mind. Some people can lead others, but take them in the wrong direction!

When I watched, "The Bachelor: An Officer and a Gentleman," I wondered how he'd chosen between the final two bachelorettes. Both had given him gifts on their final pre-decision date: one a wrist watch, one a scrapbook of their times together. He mentioned the scrapbook was an important part in making his final choice.

I was in a training on, "Intentional Families," when I realized the significance of this decision. The training advised parents to take time creating "rituals" with their kids, everything from bedtime to playtime. By creating jokes, games, and activities unique to your family, you also create a sense of bonding.

The bachelor chose the woman who gave him a memory of their time together, showing how important it was for her. No "pre-packaged" gift could ever be as meaningful. Their scrapbook created a bond between them that lead to a proposal of marriage!

Come clean, now. Do you watch reality TV? What lessons have you learned?

13 comments:

Lee Lofland said...

I've tried to watch, but can't (with the exception of the the talent shows). The only lesson I've learned is to never watch reality shows.

Tory said...

You don't watch "Cops?" :-)

I have to admit, I can't watch that one, either!

Annette said...

I've watched a little reality TV. I used to watch SURVIVOR and my husband still does, but it's lost its appeal to me. I do like THE AMAZING RACE, maybe because I don't get to travel much and I like to see other people experiencing other cultures even if I can't.

But as for lessons learned? Can't think of anything except don't trust other contestants on reality shows.

gina said...

I don't watch the reality shows, either. They seem to be such a sham, putting people into situations in which they "have to" lie, cheat, steal, eat worms, etc. just makes me want to tell them all to grow up.

Cathy said...

I agree with Lee and Gina. We did enjoy watching a dancing show, though. I don't really think reality shows acurately depict reality.

Tory said...

Annette: you may be relieved to hear "Survivor" got the boot. Only so many times it's interesting!

Gina: I'd always had a dream of being on "survivor," till I found out a lot of their time is just sitting around with a group of cut-throat strangers. I'm willing to put up with stress for the chance to win $1 million, but not boredom.

Lee Lofland said...

I can't watch any of the police "reality" shows because they're anything but reality. The only exception to that rule is The First 48. That's pretty much exactly as it happens.

I am going to have to watch the new series called Murder that's airing soon on Spike TV. I hope it's going to be accurate since I've been consulting for them.

Kristine said...

I'm not a fan of reality TV. I think in an indirect way, it demeans the art of acting, much like self-publishing does for the book industry. The whole idea of "anybody can do it" irritates me.

But I do watch the talent shows, such as American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. Those are exciting to me, especially since these people are working toward something tangible (such as a singing or dancing career) and not a money prize that comes with whether or not you take your clothes off on national TV.

Tory said...

Lee: What do the police "reality" shows get wrong?

I'm just waiting for "Mental Health reality TV." (NOT!)

Tory said...

So, not a single person out there who likes reality TV?

Joyce said...

I don't watch them either. I do sometimes catch the American Idol tryouts, though. Much more entertaining than the real show!

I'm off now to what probably should be a reality show: the Tremel family reunion...

Tory said...

Joyce: just be glad it's not televized!

mcewen said...

I watched Big Brother when we were back in England [where it rained for a solid fortnight, so that's my excuse] I'm tempted to put it on TIVO here, but I know it would be the beginning of my downfall.
Cheers