Riffing off Ed’s post about reality TV, there are some shows that fall under the taxon that aren’t half bad. COPS, Survivorman, and Pawn Stars, just to name a few. They aren’t my top favorite shows, but they’re decent, interesting things happen, you might even learn something. And while there’s little doubt some of the scenes are staged or close to it, those three shows and others in the same vein really include some measure of reality.
But so many of the genera feature anything but reality. One was on in the background the other night while I was working online. The entire one-hour program was about a subordinate who bought the wrong item for his manager. Over half of it was spent building up to a looming showdown between the two. Come on, in the real world, in a real workplace, that’s a routine twenty-second conversation between coworkers. “Hey Jim, this item you got is the wrong size/brand/kind.” “I’m sorry. The guy over at Generic Supply said it should work and promised we could bring it back if it doesn’t, I’ll take it back and see if he can at least order the right one.” … “Cool, thanks Jim, lemme know what he says.”
That’s it, that’s all that conversation would involve in reality. Instead, these clowns spent 30 minutes of program time viciously insulting the other person behind their back, on national TV mind you, promising they would put that guy in his place — at times implying an ass kicking was in the works — followed by the (anti) climatic confrontation in the form of a shouting hissy fit meltdown chock full of the kind of childish behavior an average six-grader would be ashamed of. It struck me that, in reality, this is the kind of thing that would guarantee a grim HR meeting at best and maybe a full-blown workplace EOA lawsuit. Even in a small mom and pop shop with no HR person to intervene, no project or business would survive long when employees, especially subordinate and supervisor, are allowed to prance around constantly at each throats over every, single, fucking mundane task they’re paid to perform.
There’s only two possibilities. Either it was written and staged, which is what it looks like as the acting is so horrible, or it’s real and these people rank among the biggest douche bags of all time. The one thing I can be sure of, it’s not the least bit entertaining and I can’t imagine why anyone would intentionally watch it.