Lets call time on Reality TV- no one will mind


They say, watching the Kardashians makes us hate poor people. From my experience it makes me hate myself, especially the twenty minutes I lost this week. It was brutal.

Research from the London School of Economics found that even 60 seconds of exposure to ‘materialistic media’ is enough to significantly increase ‘anti-welfare sentiment.’

“If there is more emphasis on materialism as a way to be happy, this makes us more inclined to be selfish and anti-social, and therefore unsympathetic to people less fortunate,” study author Dr Rodolfo Leyva of LSE’s Department of Media and Communications said.

All in, I’ve wasted around 50 hours of my life on the Kardashians, previously finding their monotone vociferations about irrelevant issues kind of meditative. I could switch off my brain for an hour and be a vacuous mong of nothingness, my heat tilted slightly to the side, mouth slightly open, vapid expression on my face. It’s a pleasant antidote to the news, I pontificated. Good for anxiety of any kind.

But that’s all changed now, as the show and its ‘stars’ have predictably lost it. As their noses have gotten smaller and their asses and lips bigger, just like any parable, as wealth and fame have come flooding in from every orifice, the protagonists have become more dull witted, greedy, ugly, and without spirit as they desperately peddle their wares to enrich their vapid souls.

Of course we could blame anti-intellectualism for the reason why we watch this stuff, which according to Richard Hofstadter in his preemptive 1964 pulitzer Prize winning Novel, the “Anti Intellectualism of American life,” was a core thread running through American life well before reality TV shows, or Donald Trump infiltrated the Zeitgeist.

But it’s seeped into other cultures too, just like supersized meals, We hate McDonalds, but that sausage breakfast egg roll will do, when there’s nothing else around.

Just like McDonalds, if the Kardashians weren’t there, we’d just go elsewhere. Even the dumbasses marketeers are trying to target. If you take away cheap American chocolate, people will buy Swiss chocolate.

We didn’t ask for the Kardashians, they were handed to us- after their dad became famous for walking out of OJ Simpson’s house with a bulging Louis Vuitton bag shortly after the death of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman.

So I think as a part of a social experiment all Reality TV shows should be scrapped. Sure, some people will protest, but remember The Osbournes. No one asks for them now. Sharon Osbourne used to be ‘real’ or somehow relatable. Now, she’s just another plastic surgery casualty, with nothing to say because she can’t move her jaw properly.

I remember having to do something on X Factor in Dublin and the ‘judges’ arrived half an hour apart, just so their minions could wait outside for two hours for them. It was shameless and grotesque. No one would miss X Factor either, least of all the contestants, who end up not having the X Factor or gaining anything out of it.

We’d be doing them a favour if it was axed. Same goes for the producers. They’re probably sick of working 20 hour days with these people.

Isaac Asimov pointed out that there is a cult of ignorance in the United States, which somehow needs to be fed by desire. It’s created deliberately to keep the masses down, this is not news, but don’t underestimate the masses. Give them bad food and bad TV and keep them happy.

Yet only 1.38 million people watched the Kardashians first episode of the season, previously over 10 million people watched episodes.

In 2017, Blue Planet II was the UK’s most-watched television show. Narrated by David Attenborough the first episode attracted more than 14 million viewers.

This is from the same country that brings us X Factor, Love Island, Made in Chelsea, The Only Way is Essex and shows about holiday makers behaving badly in Magaluf as their ma looks on, and yet, more people watched the Blue Planet than any of that tosh.

So if you give us Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Upstairs Downstairs for my generation, we’ll watch it too. Hence Netflix is bigger than Disney now.

We too are fickle. If suddenly the Kardashians disappeared, no one would miss them. A few protestors who think Westlife make good music, but certainly not as many people as you would think out of a population of 250 million would give less of one. Just to give you some comparison, Seinfeld got 79 million viewers in his heyday and MASH over 100 million.

We didn’t have Netflix back then, but last year, the show didn’t get into the top 50.

Ask anyone why they watch bad telly, and the reasons are ‘well I couldn’t find the remote,’ ‘there was nothing else on.’ ‘It came on after the news.’ That kind of thing. If something good were on, we’d watch it. After all we all watched the World Cup.

Needless to say, Ireland isn’t exempt from terrible telly. But if you give the people Love Hate, they’ll watch it. So producers, thinking of new shows, just for the stupid masses, maybe reconsider.

It’s time to cull the reality star. Us viewers can’t do it, we’ll try our best, but maybe just give us a dig out here. They’ve had their day. We’d like to show them who’s boss. It will be worth it, just to see all those plastic surgeried noses out of joint.