Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Real Reality

Yes, fact is stranger than fiction. The famous writer, Mark Twain, suggested that fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities—truth isn’t. Given the outrageousness we hear in news stories and reality shows, it’s no wonder we feel like drama addicts constantly feasting on the spectacular, unending, over-the-top, idiosyncrasies of life.  Sure, reality shows exaggerate drama for TV, but after we sweep away the wackiness those same shows might offer a little nugget of truth and a lesson to boot.
Let’s consider a show like Wife Swap. Two families, with contradictory lifestyles, switched wives for two weeks while the wives slowly introduced their versions of “normal” life to their new families.   Although the title seemed questionable, no hanky-panky occurred. At its best, Wife Swap taught a lesson; at its worst, well…it sometimes epitomized bad reality TV. Most of the families eventually accepted recommendations from the new wives, but sometimes—they didn’t. Have a brief peek at an episode:

Why do reality shows grab our attention? Are we fascinated by the abnormal or do we want assurance of our own normality? I bet you could star in a reality show. What would you name it and what aspect of your life does the world need to see?

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