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  1. #1

    Angry editor rants about reality show participants' overexposure: IRONIC?

    Article by Mike Hess.

    Best bits:
    (CNN) -- Monday, August 15, 2011, is a day that should forever change the way reality television is produced.

    Chances are, though, nothing will change.

    What's so important about August 15? It was the day that put in full view the life-shattering impact that reality shows can have among couples and families on the brink. For one reality show couple, the news that day was about an ending point for a wild ride that led to separation. For the other couple, the news was about a fatality.

    Russell Armstrong apparently ended his own life after years of marital and financial turmoil. The story line of Armstrong and his wife, Taylor, on the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" franchise was one of tension, distance and a sense of distrust. The feelings were obviously deeply rooted long before the cameras starting rolling, and the show probably didn't help the situation.

    But America lapped it up.

    On July 15, the couple announced they were divorcing. On August 15, Russell was dead, apparently by his own hands

    Weeks before his suicide, Russell said to
    : "When you get a TV show involved and all the pressure, it just takes it to a whole new level. We were pushed to extremes."


    If we as television viewers don't feel bad for seeing what happened to Jon and Kate via reality TV fame, then surely everyone -- viewers, networks, reality show participants themselves -- is due for a good, hard look at the current formula of couple-based reality television and the repercussions of the medium.


    Viewers want dirty, nasty, shameful reality television, whether it's in the form of dysfunctional families, ridiculous amounts of children or someone living in a pile of their own filth. Sure, there are good-natured shows like "Giuliana and Bill" and "Bethenny Ever After," but face it -- they're kind of boring when put up against table-flipping, drunken brawls and over-the-top drama for people to live through vicariously.

    But as we saw this week, it all comes with a cost.
    Is anyone else struck by the overwhelming experience of
    1)IRONY (You're not exactly involved in the mental health industry, are you Mike Hess? And the many spotlight-related deaths in our culture's morbid, decades-long celebrity obsession taught you nothing until this man's death... a man most of us have never even heard of? This is your moral tipping point? Really? Observe my "fuh rill?" face ---> )
    2)Captain Obvious strikes again! (Un)reality shows are damaging to viewers and participants? Well no sh*t Sherlock, nothing gets past you.
    3)That this man's journalistic style is comparable to a blubbering thirteen year old girl's Lisa Frank diary scribblings.
    4) This man wants (very vague and unspecified) change (but certainly doesn't plan on making a career change and is clearly in a blameless position and is merely a cog in the Hollywood machine and cannot help that he barely has the introspective abilities of a chihuahua).
    5) Seriously CNN, this is front page material? Seriously?!
    6) all of the above

    "The views of absolutists and purists everywhere should be noted in fierce detail, then meticulously and thoroughly printed onto my toilet paper ply."

  2. #2
    Intergalactic Badass mujigay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011


    I can see that this ticked you off a bit.

    Honestly, I find articles like this hailing reality television as the decay of society a bit funny.
    1w9 sx/sp
    A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.

    All that is gold does not glitter
    Not all those who wander are lost

  3. #3


    It did. This man's writing skills landed this article on CNNs main page! In hindsight, I think their prioritization pisses me off more than his teaspoon-deep analysis.
    "The views of absolutists and purists everywhere should be noted in fierce detail, then meticulously and thoroughly printed onto my toilet paper ply."

  4. #4
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008


    It's definitely the height of irony. I don't expect the circumstances to change. Seems like we all took a good, hard look at ourselves and celebrity worship when Princess Diana was killed while being pursued by paparazzi, but it's really only heightened since then with reality shows. But for this guy to have the nerve to chastise "viewers" when the same people are his bread and butter is truly astounding.

    I really do wish reality tv (of the Jersey Shore/Real Housewives variety, not the Mythbusters/Ghost Adventures variety) would go away...but I think it's going to be part of the landscape from now on. This afternoon, no fewer than 4 out of the 10 top Yahoo searches were Kardashians or Kardashian-adjacent.
    Something Witty

  5. #5


    Update: I guess the show that stars Russell Armstrong's wife went on with business as usual and aired the series including the controversy surrounding his suicide.

    Is this approach evidence of a conscious creative choice — the calm before the storm? If this franchise weren’t so committed to manufactured melodrama and toxic materialism, I’d offer a very tentative “yes,” but I suspect it’s more likely the case of the show not having the slightest clue of what to do with such explosive material — material that it frankly never should have tried to deal with onscreen, because it is morally, intellectually and creatively unequipped to get anywhere near it without making it dishonest and trite. We’re not talking about “Deadliest Catch” here, or even “Survivor” or freaking “Celebrity Rehab.” It’s “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”
    "The views of absolutists and purists everywhere should be noted in fierce detail, then meticulously and thoroughly printed onto my toilet paper ply."

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