Reality TV is a pretty surreal thing. People are drawn to it because, as is the draw with all mythology, they feel their lives are being illuminated by the stories being told. The insidious thing about reality TV is they’re mythologies people actually believe are representations of real life. But these slices of life are actually highly edited and staged distortions of already contrived and manipulated situations.
Theoretically, a reality TV show is the ideal format for sociological documentary film-making. I’ve never seen a single one that legitimately falls under that category. Even beyond the set-up of competition-based shows like America’s Next Top Model being absurd, the fact people are on reality TV shows specifically to become famous distorts their behaviour into broad parodies of human nature.
Which is, of course, exactly why people love them. It’s the spiritual equivalent of a McDonald‘s cheeseburger.
Last week we embarrassed ourselves by not recognizing Michelle “Ro Laren” Forbes as Admiral “Mole Sauce” Cain. In our defence though, the below image shows how 20 years, a facelift and lack of prosthetic make-up can disguise a person’s identity.
Okay. She’s entirely recognizable. We suck. Completely. And maybe she didn’t have a facelift.
Also sucking is most of Season 2.5. Some of the worst television we’ve ever seen (including reality TV and the first two seasons of TNG) can be found in this season. “Black Market” and “Scar” are inexcusable examples of missed potential and outside-of-canon continuity mistakes. We still have faith things get better with Season 3. This show is all about having faith.