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Lessons Learned From Reality TV
By: Jeff Louis
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I’m no big fan of "The Real Housewives of New York City," but lately I’ve seen a couple of the episodes and its spin-off "Bethenny Getting Married?" and the wrap where Bravo brings the housewives together to discuss the season. Basically, it's a bloodletting. 
 
Again, I'm not a fan, but I’ve seen them all. Go figure. (Don’t bother to watch the show unless you love Bethenny Frankel and enjoy how she bitches continually about everything. She's a prize.)
Bethenny's Getting Married
Would it surprise anyone if one of the housewives murdered another? Probably not. Some are on the edge, or at least that’s the way it seems. Has there ever been a popular show that is filled with such hate (not violence) on television? 

This show -- hopefully -- is the antithesis to “reality.” I understand the ratings game intimately, but these women exude all of the qualities that I’d love for my daughter to have: invectiveness, anger, and rudeness. They may give to the poor, but they don’t give to one other.

Initially, "The Real Housewives" seemed like it might be a little fun to watch rich, beautiful people enjoy the fruits of success. That evaporated, though, when richer, more beautiful wives strategically replaced the housewives. Now competitors, these wenches will do anything to keep within the public eye (although some, to their credit, have left the show because of its nature). 
 
If this is reality, it's a place for which I’ll never aspire. However, if you want to learn how to rise to the top only to get torn apart, don’t miss a single episode. There’s profanity and nudity during these weekly train wrecks. It perfectly illustrates how not to build a family. Hey, but who am I to judge? They probably mean well. 
 
"Real Housewives" is but an example of things learned from reality TV, and I’m being cheeky (sort-of), but it seems that writers and producers have hit their stride when it comes to boosting ratings (we can thank FOX's "Cops" for kicking it off). Ratings equals revenue. Obviously, money makes the ad world go 'round, but I have to admit that when I heard Frankel tell her wedding planner that she was going to “tear his d--- off” if he screwed up, I realized our future was up for grabs. Something tells me that reality TV may be the plague of the 21st century.
 
Another example of traits to love in others takes place on "Hell’s Kitchen."  Yes, I watch the show. Every other word is profane, but unlike the "Real Housewives," I have learned something valuable from this show. For instance, I know what fennel looks like. I know that polenta is made from corn, and I also know that a tomato is considered fruit. Wait, I learned that in the third grade.

Interestingly, while watching recently during dinner, I dropped four (yes, four) F-bombs before being told my mouth was a sewer. Is that just a coincidence? 

As someone who supposedly believes in the power of persuasion (and makes money selling this idea to others) the answer is: There are no coincidences. The implications of this are staggering, of course, because if everyone’s influenced by TV -- even those who know its tremendous effects -- no one is safe. They’re cannon fodder. In hindsight, I’m happy my four-year-old niece wasn’t around, though I suppose it's better heard from me than TV.
 
The other lesson I learned from "Hell’s Kitchen" is vital, and that is to always sacrifice others in order to save yourself. If you watch the show, you must be aware that when chef asks a question, the best bet for your personal survival is to throw someone else under the bus. Rare are the chefs on the show who take blame for their mistakes.
 
Reality TV is unreal and exhibits unacceptable behavior for most in both professional and personal settings. However, as our compromised morals compromise those of the inexorable generations that follow, it seems that the question as to whether art imitates life and vice versa just might be within our grasp. We might even get to that place where it's OK to say d--- on TV without repercussion. 



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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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