Reality Shows – Not My Reality

By DOTTY CRONAN | Mar 27, 2019

Reality shows – whose reality are they? Definitely not mine, or most of my friends’. We have a better reality. The latest horror to pass as reality, “Temptation Island,” invites young, attractive in-love couples to test their readiness “to commit to each other for life.” They evidently test themselves by lounging around on some beach somewhere with a bunch of other half-naked couples “testing” everybody else’s significant other.

This is like vampires testing their resistance by hanging out in blood banks! Testing fire by sticking your finger in it! Testing outlets with copper pennies!

Or more realistically, it is like AA members hanging out in bars. My brother-in-law learned that lesson early in his sobriety, at his daughter’s wedding reception when we were asked to wait in the bar until the room was ready. Three steps into the bar, he smacked his forehead, shouted, “holy c**p, what am I doing here,” then did a great impression of the Road Runner. Tom knew enough to avoid temptation. These idiotic contestants on “Temptation Island” are willing to test their love in a tidal wave of lust.

My husband, Carl, and I learned our lesson on avoiding temptation in the ’60s at house parties with other young, attractive couples. Some of the parties were with co-workers, others with neighbors. Some had pot available, some had affairs available, some had both. Our “holy c**p” moment took a lot longer to hit us than Tom’s did, but we left the temptations behind us. That was not the direction we wanted to go. We eventually formed strong friendships with other young families and enjoyed many years of family-oriented activities. We knew how to avoid temptation, unlike the fools swimming off to Temptation Island.

In 2000 I started watching “Survivor,” the first highly rated reality show on broadcast TV. OK, it started out pretty simple, one team against the other, like football or basketball. But before long “alliances” began to form within the teams, picking teammates to get rid of. Nice reality. Nice lessons for our youngsters. It’s not the version of “reality” I wanted in my home.

But I can’t avoid the constant commercials for reality shows or being exposed to them at the home of my granddaughter when she was a teenager. The point of another show was to stand a plainly dressed, vulnerable teenage girl in front of fashionably dressed peers who pick apart her outfit like picking off pigeon poop. The teary-eyed contestant was then whisked off to wardrobe, where she would be transformed into someone acceptable to the shallow judges on stage.

What a degrading “reality” to be teaching young girls! My caring, sensitive granddaughter is now about to receive her graduate degree in special ed. She has decided to make a career out of helping children to feel better about themselves.

“When did cooking shows become a contest?” burst out of Carl’s mouth when he first surfed across Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen.” “I watch these shows to get interesting tips, not to see aspiring chefs get turned into chopped liver.”

Out of curiosity I purposely tuned into a recent episode, and had to laugh as I called out to Carl, “Hon, you gotta see this, Gordon Ramsey has past contestants on his show that he’s trying to talk into giving him a second chance!” I kid you not. I swear they were cringing like abused puppies as he tried to stroke their wounded egos. It was pathetic. It was lame. It was pitiful. I was still watching.

“Holy c**p, what am I doing here!?”

Dotty Cronan lives in Forked River, N.J.































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