25 September 2006

The Last Chapter of Reality TV

So, I'm sitting in a hotel last week, channel surfing and playing pop culture catch up. One of the cable channels has a show, apparently inspired by Ozzy Osbourne's, following Kiss's Gene Simmons and his family. It's a terribly self-conscious performance for a presumed reality show (although given I didn't watch the beginning or end it may not have been billed as such). Watching this, it occurs to me that there would be a simple way to put a stake in the heart of reality TV. Someone needs to make a show with TV cameras following a group of people around, filming their daily lives, and then they need a second set of cameras to follow them around to see how the crew deals with the subjects and how the subjects deal with being filmed. It'd be a reality show about how people cope with being on a reality show.

After that, we would just need a reality show that shows the audience what they look like as they watch the reality show, letting the snake swallow its tail until it disappears. What was it that Confucius said? When TV finally becomes a mirror we will see ourselves as we really are and change the channel from reality show to reality. It's an odd and circuitous route to self-awareness, but we all knew that we'd get there eventually.

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