Imagination and art haven’t been enough for the ’00s world of TV entertainment. Prime Time reality shows have been reigning supreme. We have driven the artistic endeavors away from the Prime Time and we have turned back our clocks adopting the old chanting of ancient Rome: “Bread and Games.”
In this decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, economic crisis and hardships, have we turned away from the imagination and art because our reality hasn’t allowed us to dream?
Season after season, babes, chicks, gals, dames, and lasses have been moaning and kicking, bitching and sobbing, blubbering and swiveling over the one and only Bachelor lover-boy. What a tear-falling o-la-la. And yet, we have watched them and still do, over and over again.
Well-versed paramours, beaus, inamoratos, caballeros, and amorosos have been locking horns and bumping heads in a slick playoff for a single Bachelorette heart. And we have been all sappy and soppy at their version of Wowie Zowie as well.
We never forgot the smoothie shenanigans of the Millionaire Joe. Resembling less Baron Muenchausen and more Cowboy Dipsydoodle, he sold us a pig in a poke. Yuk-yuking, we applauded; hee-hawing, he rolled in the aisles when the producers awarded him a six-figure bonus for turning their shortchangerei into goldchangerei.
Seven Wise Men of Greece have not been laughing.
Now, we are relating better to real-life games and to instant stories than we are to fictional ones of fictional Joes. There is rarely any room left in our lives for anything else but reality.
One thing is certain. TV entertainment is not what it once was. It used to be that art imitated life. Now life imitates art.
We are pushing the boundaries of entertainment further and further creating a lie, setting up people with a promise of wealth and love and watching their agonies while little by little their expectations and their dreams are escaping them, their emotions catching them by surprise. Their drama entertains us whereas we are not realizing that tomorrow we might be the actors in our own drama far from the viewing and rating crowd.
Craving for a message to touch us and to move us, and to brighten and to gladden our spirits, we are longing for a laugh, for the big belly laugh, for the laugh that only comes, as the poet might say, “When the heart rejoices.”
Somehow, we came to like exposing ourselves, laying bare our insides, for everybody to see, for many to ridicule. We came to like watching these public exposures of our soul. Moreover, we came to regard our hardball games equivalent to the poetic metaphors of our mind.
Though there is nothing fictional in the reality shows, staged there is a lot. In reality, unscripted these shows never were. The producers have always been trying to make convincing gladiators out of ordinary people starving for 15 minutes of fame and for a place in the sunshine on Easy Street. The Spartacus wannabes trying to punch and to duck, to maul and to clinch, all for one lucky knockout shot at piping and fortune times. Some succeed, still many more fail.
With so many shows springing out every day, have we become addicted? Nobody is immune. Even celebrities are jumping on the wagon. It seems these shows are all we watch. That many are quite distasteful bothers no-one. And producers and television executives are laughing all the way into the bank.
The boundaries of entertainment have undoubtedly shifted. Our perceptions and our expectations of what entertainment is have also changed. Even reality is not what it promised to be. We have transformed ourselves, we have transformed our times, and along the way we have transformed our entertainment as well. And thus our Truth and our Reality became only the perceptions.