I’m gonna need someone at The Learning Channel to help me out here. What, exactly, am I “learning” by watching two first cousins tie the knot on MY BIG FAT AMERICAN GYPSY WEDDING (“Our family believes in incest!” proudly declares the bride.) … aside from the fact that we as a society are basically doomed?
It might be one thing were this an insightful look at the beliefs of a culture, but GYPSY is nothing more than the latest freak show to parade fame-hungry people willing to degrade themselves for a little time in the spotlight in front of an audience who should hate themselves for watching this crap.
Seriously… what is wrong with us? Is it simply that watching these shows makes us feel better about ourselves? Sure, we may be out of work or overweight or, heck, crack addicts… but at least we’re not these people.
Look, I watch a lot of crap TV. No point in denying it. But I like to think that I have limits. I won’t watch Emily exploit her child as she searches for love (or at least a huge payday, reportedly $750,000) on THE BACHELORETTE. And I am happy to say that my only exposure to the omnipresent Kardashian clan is the clips shown by Joel McHale each week on THE SOUP.
Every year, new shows are introduced which find even lower levels for its participants to sink to. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that no matter how degrading the show’s premise, someone will happily appear on it. But using the slippery-slope argument leads one to the inevitable question: How far is too far? What will it take for viewers to have a collection reaction on par with the one inspired by films such as The Human Centipede 3? Heck, if someone decided to turn that flick into a reality show, would people watch?
I think we all know the answer. And I don’t know about you, but it depresses the heck out of me.
Richard M. Simms is the executive editor of Soaps In Depth magazine and the author of Crimes Against Civility. He is also immune to the irony that after writing the above piece, he got excited upon seeing an ad for the upcoming season of BIG BROTHER.