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Idol, X-Factor, America's Got Talent... Reality Shows: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Updated on November 30, 2011

A Departure

This hub is a real departure for me. But I had some time on my hands, and this had been on my mind recently. Be warned... I take very few things seriously, least of all myself. Please don't think I hate Reality TV and flame me! I just have an odd sense of humor and an unusual way of seeing the world.

My secret pleasure: I actually Like American Idol!

Too much of a good thing

Am I the only one who thinks television is far beyond control? I'm not talking about cable, dish, broadcast, or internet providers, though that would be a good conversation as well. I'm referring to the programming of actual shows. Especially reality shows. My brain is getting old, and my memory isn't what it used to be. I definitely used to be smart, which I remember semi-clearly. But didn't reality shows get their big start as a result of the major writers strike some years back? They went from being 'filler' to just filling up the entire week.

Some Reality Shows are better than others

It's not like I hate them, or anything. Some are kind of enjoyable. Once I got used to them. I took a long time to warm up to Survivor. At first I was very opposed to the deliberate way people were stuck together, and forced to lie and cheat and act dishonorably in order to win money. I still have some qualms about it, but it's tolerably interesting. And of course, there's the Amazing Race. Not my cup of tea, but Monique loves it. I have to admit, there's value in a show like that. Normal people in their day to day lives get to see a slice of foreign culture. If they're not careful, they might even learn something. Shows like that are the cream of the crop, though.

Then there's the In-Your-Face shows

More often, the shows are Big Brother quality. I hope this doesn't offend anybody, because I can see the appeal in watching it, but there's not really any redeeming qualities in Big Brother-style shows.

You waste time your way, I'll waste time my way. (And I do have my own time-wasters, I'm not knocking it. We all need entertainment!)

As a matter of fact, without her even knowing I was working on this particular Hub, Monique reminded me today of my attitude toward Fear Factor. I've only watched a few episodes, but one of them showed the Fear Factor team going to some random home and offering them $5,000 if they could dunk their head in a 10-gallon aquarium full of squids, and catch one with their mouth. Oh, and the water? All black and inky with squid juice. What Monique heard: "$5,000.00!" What I heard: "If we wave some money in your face, and offer you an extremely slim chance of winning it, how badly are you willing to demean yourself on national television?"

My answer? I'd have called the police on them. What can I say, I'm a surly old anti-social curmudgeon.

Then there's the singing and talent shows

In the middle of the road are the entertainment oriented competitions. I've actually enjoyed American Idol, and America's Got Talent. And this season, The X Factor has provided a lot of fun. To a lesser degree, same with the dancing competitions. They provide entertainment entirely apart from the competitive angle. Of course, it's always nice to see someone you like win and have their life changed immeasurably. Often even the almost-wons find new opportunities for success afterward. So, light entertainment for us as viewers, and a modicum of making the world a better place (at least for some few lucky winners), the entertainment-type reality shows are my favorites in general.

Especially American Idol, X-Factor, and America's Got Talent. Love those shows. Even if sometimes they let somebody through who doesn't belong there... and then the judges get pretty mean at times to some of them. I'm always happier when they're at least courteous.

I Grew Old Watching Reality Shows

But here's the point... Most of these shows, especially if they have big money backing them, completely take over the TV. I mean really, 2 hours for some of them- and two times a week? So, if I like to watch the three shows I just mentioned, and they're each running 4 hours a week, I'm giving 12 hours of my life to television every week, just to watch THREE shows!

Whatever happened to an hour-long show once a week? I could easily give them 3 hours a week. What they're doing is buying my time. I'm willing to pay 3 hours a week for their entertainment. In return, they get to promote their products to me. Drinks, hair care, health, whatever commercials they play. I'm okay with that. I can ignore (or with DVR, fast forward) the commercials, or actually watch the ones I like. It's cool with me.

Priced out of my range

But when they charge me 12 hours of my week to entertain me, what they've done is price themselves out of my buying range. I'm not comfortable selling that much of my life to the boob tube. So my attention wanders. Since our family all sits down of an evening to watch these shows together, I'll often bring a book... or take a nap. And I completely skip the results night. I don't need to see the same acts in replay. Not interested in most of the filler material. Don't really care who wins or gets cut. But if I do, I can look it up online in minutes. No, what I enjoy is when somebody with some real, honest, talent stands up and does a good job. Like the old variety shows on tv used to be. Sonny and Cher, Shields and Yarnell, The Carol Burnett Show (I told you I was old!)

Alan-Colored Glasses

Okay, I know I see the world through Alan-colored glasses (aka Crewman6!). I've been told my thinking is far off the beaten path at times. But seriously... am I the only one who resents these shows taking away so much of my life?

Even if I like the shows (which I usually do), that's just too much.

One Solution? Own the DVD and watch it whenever you feel like!

Survivor - The Complete First Season
Survivor - The Complete First Season

Watch the beginning of it all! Survivor is arguably the granddaddy of all reality tv, and one of the best out there.


I Like Them... Just not THAT much!

I'm not saying I don't waste time in my own ways. But I get to choose when, and how much. I don't want to give away all my 'wasted' time in one chunk to one show. Remember the movie, 'The Cable Guy'? I love his last sentence, which was something along the lines of "Somebody has to turn off the baby-sitter".

Jim Carrey nailed it. Amen, Jim. Sometime, you just have to turn it off.


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    • Crewman6 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hi KingphilipIV, thanks for reading! I worked with someone who tried out. He got pretty far in his auditions, only to be told he sounded to much like everybody else, and not unique. Still, he was happy he tried for it.

      Maybe you should give it a shot!

    • kingphilipIV profile image

      Ramphil Basco 

      7 years ago from Iloilo, Philippines

      I also love American Idol.. I wish I can join on this reality show SOOONN.. :)

    • Crewman6 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hi RetroBrothers! I was afraid you weren't 'Hubbing' any more, glad to see you. Yeah, Monique and I tend to DVR the show, and fast foward through the backstories. My main enjoyment comes from the singing/acts, so that alone tends to recover some of my 'lost time'.

      Thanks for reading!

    • RetroBrothers profile image

      Martin Allan 

      7 years ago from Sunny Scotland

      Great hub!

      The X-Factor has been running over here in the UK for years now - and believe me it just get worse and worse each year.

      The talent decreases and the scripted 'drama' increases. This season has been full of tears (there always was a lot but this series takes the cake) and 'big twists' which you can see coming from a mile away.

      Far too much reality TV these days - there are very few shows I watch anymore.

      Great hub!

    • Crewman6 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      I guess if you've got to get old, that's the way to do it.

      Thanks for reading Wayne!

    • profile image

      David Sims 

      7 years ago

      You aren't old yet, Alan. I met a fellow today, he was 87, drove a fast car, made a pass at a 63 year old woman in front of me, and tried to dicker down a JFK-memorial plate from its $3 original price at the lady's garage sale. After he was gone, the lady told me he had loads of money from a horse business he had when he was younger.

    • Crewman6 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Rosie, thanks so much! - I worried I'd offend somebody :^)

      I loved Scotty too, what a great voice he had. Monique and I both enjoy DWTS, her a bit more than me. I really enjoyed the 'movie theme' they had recently.

      I'm really glad you enjoyed the hub!!

    • Rosie2010 profile image

      Rosie Rose 

      7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hiya Crewman6, I love American Idol too! Last season was the best.. my fav won! Loved Scotty McCreery from audition. I am watching the X Factor and I love it too. I have not been following DWTS this year, because I don't have "waste time" to spare... I play too much in the Sandpit. lol

      I enjoyed reading your hub from beginning to end. Good job. Voted up and funny.

      Have a nice day,



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