I'll tell you, guys. Having a week away from Sorority Life was awesome. Heathen did a great job filling in, but really, just to not have to delve too deeply into the sad lives of these needy, needy girls for one week was bliss. Kinda like when they preempted it that one week because of the war. That was cool…hey, I heard Syria was talking some shit about us the other day. Seriously. Y'all should look into that.
But during my week off, I came to a realization. I fucking hate reality television. I loved Real World and tolerated Road Rules for the first few seasons. I never got into Survivor, but I can see why everyone liked it. And then Big Brother and Fear Factor and The Mole and shows like that came along, and it was all fine and good -- because the shows were failing left and right and the whole craze was dying. Then came American Idol, and all hell broke loose. And now everyone in every field of entertainment is putting forth some spin on the Instant Celebrity Contest genre, from Country Music to Modeling to Stand-Up Comedy to Basketball to Porn. And there are the numerous The Osbournes imitators, not to mention Trading Spaces and What Not To Wear and the other hybrids of that nature. Sure, there are some good shows like The It Factor on Bravo, which I still watch, but there is a glut. A serious glut. I think we can all agree on that.
And what does this all mean? Actors and writers are put out of business. Now, you might say, is this a terrible thing to give actors and writers a scare? Might it not drive them to create better shows when they see their jobs are taken away from them? And isn't the very mediocrity they fed us for so many years to blame directly for viewers turning to something else? Well, no. Not really. It's the networks and the producers. They're the ones to blame. Writers to a certain extent. Less so, if at all, actors. And believe me, they're the ones who are suffering.
The producers and the networks, they just shift their attention to what's selling right now. You made Grace Under Fire one year, there is nothing to stop you from making World's Funniest Family in 2003. But if you're a writer or an actor, you're fucked. Fiz-ucked, people. Boo-hoo, you say? Sure. Right. But you understand who you're being entertained by these days? Editors. Boys With Avids. Boys who sit in front of a Avid machine all night in a tiny, windowless brick office somewhere on Santa Monica Blvd., trying desperately to craft some story out of the one million hours of Chuck and Sue picking their teeth. Sure, there are writers and story editors and other such people also involved -- some of whom are my friends -- but generally speaking, we are now being entertained by people who should probably just be cutting music videos for two hundred bucks an hour, rather than supplanting the WGA and SAG members who are actually trained to be the ones to tell us stories for a living.
And it all boils down to numbing sameness. That loud noise you heard last Monday morning was the entire Hollywood community, including me, breathing a gigantic sigh of relief that the evil B/M's foray into "Reality Film," The Real Cancun, failed at the box office. (Oh, but don't think they won't try to get rid of narrative movies too. One bad one isn't going to stop them.) But even without reality films taking off any time soon, our sense of documentary is being irreparably screwed, to where an Errol Morris film is just going to look to us like an episode of Help! I'm A Celebrity. Get Me Out Of Here! and a well-done hour drama is just not going to have enough bleeped-out cursing and "real" drama for us to be entertained. And sure, sitcoms suck. Hour dramas suck. And maybe, just maybe this whole sad skid into "reality" will make the people who create our entertainment realize they have to do things better than they've been doing. But more likely, instead of taking the time to try to figure out exactly what that is, they'll be working on their pitches for The Greatest Ass In America.