By now I’ve watched my share of reality TV. Some of it has been better than others. Throughout almost all of these turkeys has been at least one commonality: the notion that ethics and morality don’t apply within the game. The implication–and often outright statement–is that it’s perfectly justified to lie, cheat, steal, backstab, because it’s a game.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve played lots of games in my life and none of my fellow players have ever tolerated cheaters. And while I understand that we’re talking about something a lot different than Monopoly or Scrabble, I find this notion of the reality TV game as ethical vacuum just a tad specious.
Claiming that your grandmother is dead for a dubious strategical advantage is beyond juvenile. Reneging on promises (too many to link to)–well, let’s just say I’d be curious to know how this effects this contestants once they’re off these shows. Intermixed with this deviousness is a fake camaraderie that’s often bizarre. Everyone hugs all the time. It’s like watching Senatorial enemies talking about “my esteemed and honored colleague.” Who the hell do these people think they’re kidding?
Half the time, it all seems like such a waste of time too. A co-worker got me hooked on Big Brother 5 and last night Karen got “evicted.” Can’t say I thought the woman was the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I thought Karen had a couple of good points. She was upset at how Diane a cocktail waitress in real life engineered her removal. In the first place, it looks like Karen was a dead fish in the water for this round early on. The two women had been reasonably friendly and had enjoyed an alliance of sorts. Instead of telling Karen ahead of time that she was on her way out, Diane lied to the woman outright assuring her she was safe. Why? Doesn’t look like Karen could have done anything to stop it. So Karen gets evicted and refuses to give Diane a hug. Rather than tell the woman off, she contents herself with a “thanks for backdooring me.” Diane denies this was the case. And tellingly, after Karen has gone, and her one remaining friend calmly tells Diane it’s no big deal, Diane becomes highly defensive.
A wise person once said “you plays your money, and you takes your chances.” If you’re going to screw somebody over, at least have the common decency to admit it to yourself and the world that that is what you’ve done. After you’ve just announced on national TV that “it’s a game and anything goes,” don’t waste my time defending yourself ad nauseum.