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I do not like reality tv. I do not like it, you will see. I do not watch it when I pee, or ride a bike, or climb a tree. I do not watch it in my socks. I would not watch it with a fox. I would not could not in a box, or down the street or on the docks. I do not like reality tv. I do not like it. Please die.
I think I messed up the last rhyme. So, as you can see from my Seusstyle introduction, I am not a fan of reality television. For all of you who love it, don't worry, I haven't started a campaign to have it eliminated, and I promise I won't. My disdain for the genre, though, does not mean that one can not learn from it. I myself am not much of a reality television watcher, but I believe my wife could watch it all day long, and because of her fandom I have been regularly exposed to the beast. Here are a few of my observations/disappointments/what made me want to write about it, etc. in no particular order.
1. The Real World: This gets a mention mostly because it has been stupid the longest. Regrettably I learned more from Dave Chappelle's 4 minute spoof on the show than in its two thousand seasons.
2. The History Channel: I remember when they used to have shows about history on the history channel. I'll admit that when American Pickers and the like first started airing I enjoyed the nostalgia, but that time has faded as the scripts, er, I mean, reality, have all become the same. We find old stuff and act really excited...
3. Survivor: I actually kind of like the idea behind the game, but that's what it is, people playing a game. I don't find it any more intriguing than watching tournament poker or the Scrabble world championships (I actually would watch the Scrabble world championships). My wife was watching it once and I happened to look up and say, "That's Jeff Kent." She had no idea who that was, so I thought it was kind of cool that a hall of fame caliber second baseman could just blend in. My biggest problem with this show is when people get all hurt and offended that someone else lied to them or stabbed them in the back, because they were such good "friends". Newsflash. I've never met a million dollars, but I want it as my friend more than you, the person I've known for two weeks.
4. Toddler's and Tiaras: Little girls painted like whores and forced to parade around on stage. I extremely dislike this one.
5. Chopped: Chef Bald Guy: Your dessert has excellent texture, but I can't get past the strong taste of turnip and feces. What I wish the contestants would say: You gave me 30 minutes to make a dessert using two turds, a turnip, three slices of cheese and a weather balloon. I couldn't add enough sugar to suppress the turnips and turds.
6. The Bachelor/Bachelorette: Let's see. You have one person who dates a bunch of other people for a few weeks and guys in a control room edit it in such a way as to create suspense so that the one person can eventually choose one other person to give a rose to. Sounds very realistic, awesome, and I don't see how anything could go wrong. I'm assuming that's how it was pitched to ABC.
7. The Real Housewives of Wherever: Follow my mom around circa 1988 or so if you want to see a real housewife. She'd run every one of these actresses, I mean housewives, in the ground.
8. 247 Kids and Counting: Please stop.
9. The Jersey Shore: What was the point of this show? All Jersey people are really, really, really, really stupid? That's the most I could ever get from it, and it makes me feel bad for actual contributing members of The Garden State.
10. I can think of more: The Vanderpump Rules, Dance Mom's (Abby Lee and all the parents make me throw up in my mouth a little), Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Little People, Big World etc. etc., but I have to get to the show that made me start thinking about this subject.
Sixteen and Pregnant/Sixteen and Pregnant Two: Never mind that none of the girls on this show are sixteen anymore. I'm sure they all used to be. Shoot, I used to be, although I've never been pregnant. My wife was watching this one the other night as I worked on a book, and there was the usual. Legal wranglings over custody, boyfriends who want nothing to do with their kids, little girls with developmental problems, and a heroin addict/still giant whore who screams at her mom all of the time, has absolutely NO business even being around kids, but has managed to teach her small son that she doesn't have custody of to say F#%$ in context. I know, I know, that was a run on sentence, and I'm not the cussing police. Long story short, its a train wreck with nobody running in to save the day. I guess it makes for suspenseful TV, and maybe some young girls see it and get wise. At least I'm hoping that is the point. What it made me think of the other night, though, was my wife, and myself, before we had kids, and how we actually pulled that whole thing off. It was a crazy few days, and an advertisement for birth control if you're at all squeamish or not sure of your relationship..
Now, I'm not going to go through the entire labor process because it lasted from five o'clock Wednesday, until 11:18 on Friday, and I didn't sleep hardly at all during that time. I'm not really speaking much to the girls here either, because, well, I'm not one. I'm talking to all of the guys who think they're grown ups. If you're not willing to go through this, which is just a tiny snippet, then just put it away right now.
Like I said, I'm skipping through the whole pregnancy/labor/delivery process even though it permanently changed me. I went from being a 28 year old kid with a pregnant wife to a man in charge of life and death decisions for two other people not capable of making their own. It was harrowing, and, with help, I pulled it off. I'm not sure I could have done it at sixteen. As I finally sat with my wife, exhausted from being awake for two days, and convinced her the baby would be Ok, the end seemed to be upon us. Then she thought she had wet the bed. No big deal, that wasn't anything compared to what we'd just been through. So, I peeked under the sheets. That's not pee. That's blood. Lots of it. We called the nurse. She looked, and I can still remember the terrified look in her eyes as she left the room to get help. Apparently it was a busy night because she only came back with one other nurse and a promise that the Dr. had been emergency paged. She showed up pretty quickly, took one look, and demanded the nurses get more people. A nurse left, and returned in just a few seconds to say that she'd called for help, but nobody seemed to be coming. The doctor was mad and insisted that this was a bad situation and my wife needed to be picked up off the bed while at least two nurses pushed on her stomach. Every second actually risked death. So, without even thinking I said. "I'll pick her up." The doctor insisted we needed a lift team. I remember saying. "You said seconds count. Show me where. I'll pick her up." That was all she needed. The doctor showed me where to lift her and I held my wife in my arms in a half curl/bent over position for at least five minutes while the nurses pushed clots out of her body and the doctor fished the softball size purveyors of death from within. My wife remembers it being longer, but I'm not exactly sure how I held her that way for even five minutes, covered in blood, while she cried out in otherworldly pain. Crisis averted I took a step back, and my clothes from the neck down to my pants were literally soaked in blood. We threw away my clothes, cleaned me up, put on some scrubs, and the doctor assured us that my wife was fine. It was one of the longest and shortest ten minutes of my life.
So, what does this have to do with sixteen and pregnant or reality tv at all? Nothing really, except for that that show made me realize I'm glad, for everyone involved, that I was 28, not 16, and taking on those responsibilities. It makes me hope that maybe young men and women watching that show see how tough it actually is and think about what they're doing. Maybe the thought of being covered in another person's blood clots can make someone think too. I remember being 16, though, and I wasn't exactly well known for thinking before I acted. So, I guess, I actually get that show, right down to the spoiled brat heroin addict that teaches little kids bad words. I just wish the script writers would have her grow up already.