Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A Reality check on Reality shows....how about we all get real ourselves?

The Feb 7th, CBS Sunday Morning show did a segment called The Real Deal on Reality TV. The gist of the segment was that millions of people are thrilled to be watching others lives and all the drama they can create. In many cases, these Reality shows highlight the worst of our behaviors, yet they also normalize these behaviors as if 'this is as real as it gets'. In truth, these Reality shows are often staged and edited to present a very skewed portion of what's happening--yet the viewer only sees what the producers feels will heighten the drama. American Idol's auditions imply that everyone gets a fair shot, but many who have participated in this experience acknowledge that some of those selected are there simply to give viewers the opportunity to laugh and mock. Many talented folks who have gone through the huge effort and expense to get to these auditions with the belief that the show is actually looking for good talent, are ignored and wonder why those with no talent get exposure when they don't. So much for reality...

As I watched and listened to this segment I kept thinking that for so many people, instead of getting real in their own lives, they watch other people's lives on these reality shows. But why? Because at the end of the hour, their own lives haven't changed, they haven't learned how to create whole and dynamic lives of their own but instead have watched other people living a fake reality. Why is that more fun than building their own?

My gut answer is that most people don't know how to create their own lives. Why? Because the examples they see through the media--TV, movies, on-line, magazines, social networking sites etc., rarely are about building whole and dynamic lives but consistently shows drama, pain and fear. It's seen so often that people actually think that TV/media reflects 'reality' and it ends up being a more powerful teacher than what they're learning in their homes or at school.

I once had a client ask me about two different TV characters. She was wondering which was the better one to copy. She was serious. She was living in a very chaotic home and left on her own to grow up and figure out how to be a good person. The only examples she could come up with was to use one of these two characters. This was long before Reality shows had taken over the airwaves but I think her question reflects the why Reality shows have become so dominant. People are lost and watching a Reality show is about watching others who are lost and confused too. And if the producers of the show are good---the 'real people' on the shows will be more lost and confused than the viewer so the viewer can vicariously feel good that 'at least I'm not as messed up as X". Lost meets lost and everyone feels fine because people don't realize there's an alternative. But there is and that's why I created the Life Puzzle so long ago.

Life Puzzle is about being real and building your own whole and dynamic life. It's the anti-Reality show. It's about spending your time learning to love your SELF, discovering your own way of creating your life and at the end of each day, the wonderful satisfaction of the on-going and growing journey of living fully. Now, how do we get everyone to turn off Reality shows and turn on getting real and making their Life Puzzle?

1 comment:

Jamie said...

:) Watching reality T.V. or any trashy T.V. seems easy and addressing your life seems hard. But really, it is harder and more painful to ignore your life than to dive into the mess and try to wake up. Thank you for being an example... I think that´s all you can do...