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Reality Bites

October 21, 2009

I don’t recognize you anymore…you’ve changed. We had a good run but as the saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.” You’re weighing me down and for my own sanity I’ve got no choice but to cut you loose. After 28 long seasons I’m bidding my television farewell. Our relationship is officially cancelled. Mom, if you’re reading this it’s not a joke. You’re eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. I know you never thought you’d see the day your daughter (who you so affectionately refer to as the TV Queen) would part ways with her beloved television. Well, the day is here mom…it’s a wrap.

In all seriousness, what we had was special. TV played a significant role in my development, along with my parents of course. If I didn’t have my head buried in a book I was watching TV. Any lessons I learned were ingrained by my favourite TV shows, e.g. Electric Company, Sesame Street, The Great Space Coaster, Reading Rainbow, JEM, Super Friends, X-Men, The Cosby Show, A Different World, The Golden Girls, The Wonder Years, X-Files, The Fresh Prince of Bell Air, etc. (Note: Music also played a significant role as well, providing me with a beautiful soundtrack for life, however my frustration with the garbage on the radio runs pretty deep & deserves its own post).

For months I’d been annoyed with TV. Turning it on, yelling at it and then turning it off. I reached my breaking point a couple weeks ago. It was Sunday evening and after a hectic weekend, Sean & I thought we’d watch TV. We spent a few minutes channel surfing and wound up checking out The Learning Channel (TLC). The theme of the evening was pets and the people who love them. Some of the things we learned were 1) a monkey goes through a lot of diapers in a day; 2) spending $500 on designer dresses for your dog is more than reasonable; and 3) a woman desperately seeking to bring a 14th stray cat into her home isn’t crazy. Our brains felt like they had been fried and hurt like hell. We needed a quick remedy so we turned off the TV and played Wii Sport Resort.

Some say that reality TV killed the sitcom. Maybe. Maybe not. It certainly didn’t help. TV hasn’t been the same since MTV aired the original reality show, The Real World an experiment that showed promise. Then “Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire?” came along and changed everything. People realized how easy it was to scam their way to their 15 minutes of fame. It’s been downhill ever since. Nowadays reality shows are more outrageous than ever. I thought I had seen it all until the balloon boy incident.

For my readers outside North America, a quick recap: a homemade balloon sailed over Colorado on last Thursday, supposedly carrying 6-year-old Falcon Heene. It was revealed to be a hoax when authorities discovered Falcon had been hiding in a box in the attic. And during an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, the Heene’s asked Falcon why he didn’t come out as they searched for him, and the boy replied, “You guys said we did it for a show.” It’s been reported that the parents, who were on the reality show “Wife Swap”, were pitching production companies about launching their own reality show. They’re now under investigation facing a number of local charges and the Federal Aviation Administration has begun its own investigation. I’m betting all they’ll receive is a slap on the wrist and in due time with the right money hungry producer(s), their own reality show in the not too distant future.

I understand that this is the age we live in. People disheartened with what’s going on are not the majority. Apparently the majority wants to see this garbage. The majority could care less about quality and if you lie, cheat, steal or make a sex tape, you too can be in the spotlight.

I know that at the end of the day, the power lies with me. I’m in control. I have the choice to either change the channel or turn the TV off. And if Marshall McLuhan was right and “the medium is the message”, then my split from television couldn’t have happened sooner. If you’re like me and reminiscence on how great TV used be, you’ll enjoy this classic episode of The Cosby Show…remember the one where Denise sewed her version of a Gordon Gartrell shirt for Theo…priceless! Enjoy!


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© Nia’s Piece, 2009

15 Comments leave one →
  1. October 21, 2009 10:43 pm

    I discovered your homepage by coincidence.
    Very interesting posts and well written.
    I will put your site on my blogroll.

    • October 22, 2009 2:35 pm

      Hi Jeff,

      Thanks very much for your comment & for adding me to your blogroll. You’re blog is quite informative so I’ll be adding it to my blogroll as well!

  2. October 21, 2009 10:59 pm

    I couldn’t agree more…and to add to what you are saying…has anyone ever noticed how loud these commercials are in comparison to the actual program…VERY ANNOYING… nothing is regulated anymore…not even the volume of the shows/commercials. Mind numbing NOTHINGNESS. I struggle with this as an actor sometimes, but at least I know the comical scripts i get are for comedy as opposed to trying to watch TLC and actually learn something, and in the end be taken for a ride ie. The Duggers (the family with 19 kids)…more like a cult to me, oh…and the parents really should be investigated based on certain comments that the kids make…DAMN I AM RAMBLING…but only because I am so frustrated.

    Good post! keep letting the people know! you go girl!!

  3. October 21, 2009 11:05 pm

    I love this! and you are so right! so very right…..

  4. Melissa permalink
    October 22, 2009 8:30 am

    girl, preach! LOL!

    I got rid of cable looooong ago…my TV sits lonely only for the occasional DVD to be played in it.

    Now, I’m not completely done with TV…I’m all over watching shows online..there are STILL some good shows on – you have to search for what you like – and thankfully I can always find my favourites online for free. I used to be the biggest reality TV whore – but after what 50 seasons of Survivor…it’s “like been there, done that!”.

    Shows I currently enjoy online: “Life”, “Mercy”, “The Tudors” and “Castle”. And for the occasional laughs “The Office” is still a hoot.

    I still watch “Grey’s Anatomy” even tho last season kinda sucked…and “Private Practice” because…well Taye Diggs is on it. ;o)

    The best part of watching online? I watch when I want. The flexibility factor is great!

    • October 22, 2009 2:55 pm

      Hey Melissa,

      Wow, I just tried to name my favourite show(s) & I couldn’t think of any of the top of my head 🙂 I guess “The Tudors” & “The Office” come to mind & I do like “Grey’s Anatomy” or “CSI” when I can catch it. My son loves UFC & after watching it with him I’m hooked! For some reason SpikeTV is my guilty pleasure. And I’ve completely converted to jumping online to watch these shows & others…it’s flexible & economical!

      Thanks for your comment!

  5. Andrea Gonsalves permalink
    October 22, 2009 12:30 pm

    So I’m going against the grain here obviously, but are you crazy? I love my freaking TV.

    Yes, I do understand the frustration with all the crap that’s on… but that’s what PVRs are for. I “tape” all the shows I’m interested and watch for a few hours whenever I feel like. There a few that I stay with regularly or else some other media outlet will spoil it for me (e.g. Dancing with the Stars), but many shows are better when I can watch a few episodes back to back AND forward past all the commercials (e.g. The Big Bang Theory, Entourage).

    Good luck to you girl, but not me!

    • October 22, 2009 6:35 pm

      Oh Andrea, I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one. No, I’m not crazy, just disheartened that there aren’t more quality shows on TV. I love watching shows online way too much to go with a PVR. And with online viewing I can watch current shows as well the classics. 🙂

  6. October 22, 2009 10:57 pm

    Kids awake = YTV, Teletoon, Family
    Kids asleep = Sports

    Anything else is uncivilized (throwback commercial quote for all this throwback television talk 🙂

  7. Shellee permalink
    October 23, 2009 2:54 pm

    Again, a wonderful read. Always inspiring and thought provoking.

    I can’t give it up completely, but like yourself, I am frustrated by what we’re forced to watch, or not. I have my selected few programs, other than that, the tubes off.

    Keep your thoughts coming.

  8. October 23, 2009 9:34 pm

    See I actually LOVE reality TV (well Survivor and Amazing Race that is) but the rest I have no use for. I also love basketball! But it’s not enough for me so I actually haven’t had a TV since April. I watch maybe 1 hour a week when I’m @ my parent’s but other than that no (and I don’t miss it).

    Go ‘head Nia ditch the tube, I’m marching with you 😀

    p.s. it’s amazing to see a literary blog get so many comments KUDOS (we know most ppl hate to read smh)

  9. October 26, 2009 10:32 am

    @ Sean Sax: LOL, I love it! Your comments are always priceless, thank you!

    @ Shellee: I’ll keep them coming, thanks!

    @ Shannon: I loved Survivor at first but stopped watching after about the 3rd season. I’ve heard that The Amazing Race is quite good but never had the time to get into it. Regarding your p.s.: Thanks! Lol, I don’t mind being different. I think most people love a good read. And if the topic is relevant,well written, positive & thought-provoking people will enjoy taking it in. 🙂

  10. December 13, 2009 1:36 pm

    Television and Music (can’t wait to read your blog on music) both are disappointing. I totally agree that ‘GOOD TV’ has totally left the building, gone to the dogs and it seems it will never return. I barley watch TV any more as the reality shows have taken over so I decided to live my reality without TV. Do kids rush home to watch TV anymore. I remember rushing home or to a friends place at lunch time to watch the Flinstones…lol does that happen now? TV raised us, not totally like you said but it was a major part of our lives but at least what we were watch was quality now heaven forbid you have your child sit in front of the TV for too long who knows what will happen. I spend more time on my computer online watching webisodes and podcasts and reading blogs then watching TV. I think the little leisure time I have is better spent that way. But I have to give shouts out to HEROS, SMALLVILLE, SOUTHPART, THE OFFICE, THAT 70’s SHOW, 2 1/2 MEN and FRIENDS. OK that’s it. LOVED your PIECE!

    • January 5, 2010 11:36 am

      Love your comment SoJay, especially where you say you’ve decided to “live your reality without TV.” No, kids don’t rush home to watch TV anymore. They rush home to play video games and/or jump on the internet. Very sad. Parents need to step in & moderate their activities…get them off the couch & outside as much as possible.

      LOL @ Flinstones. I used to rush home after school to watch He-Man, She-Ra & Fat Albert, et al. This year I got one of the best Christmas gifts ever: The Best of She-Ra DVD set!! I adore it & will be looking out for more DVDs like this to take me back to good old days when it all made sense 😉 /N

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