• December 22, 2014

Can reality TV lower the bar any farther?

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Posted: Friday, August 24, 2012 4:30 am

I never realized it until the other day, but I’m a member of a minority.

Sure, I’m a middle-aged, white male, but I’m a minority, nonetheless.

That’s right — I’m one of the few people in America who don’t have a reality TV show.

I came to this conclusion the other day as I was flipping channels, trying desperately to find something interesting to watch, without much success.

I ran across reality shows featuring everything from Hollywood housewives to hillbilly hand-fishers, whatever they are.

I saw shows about junk buyers, bounty hunters, pint-sized beauty pageant contestants, tow-truck drivers, deep-sea fishermen, pawn shop workers and dance moms.

And that’s not even including the high-profile folks like the Kardashians and rapper-turned-actor Ice-T.

While some of these shows are mildly interesting in small bursts, large doses of them can prove intensely mind-numbing.

It seems that reality-show producers are trying to outdo each other as to just how low they can set the bar on class.

I can’t even begin to describe the amount of classlessness that can be found in shows like “Duck Dynasty,” “My Big Fat Redneck Wedding” and “Bridezillas.”

But the latest — and perhaps the worst — entry in the bunch may be “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” a show about a southern, sassy-talking redneck toddler who lives with her dimwitted family and her pet pig.

The star of the show — if you can call her that — first rose to fame in another classic reality show, “Toddlers and Tiaras,” in which she was a diminutive beauty contestant. She talks with such a strong drawl that the show actually uses subtitles. Now, that’s Southern!

From the looks of things, I don’t think anyone on the show bathed much during its filming. In fact, little Honey Boo is a bit of a mess. Let’s just say this kid looks better with her makeup on.

And Mom could use a bit herself.

Anyway, I haven’t even gotten past the promos for the show, and I’m ready to pull what’s left of my hair out.

Now, let me go on record as saying that not all reality-based TV shows are necessarily bad. I like a lot of the shows on HGTV, such as “Design Star” and “House Hunters.” Some of the shows on Food Network are OK, too, and even a bit educational. I will even watch some of the wedding shows on TLC — mostly because my wife enjoys them.

At least most of those folks appear somewhat normal.

But it just seems that TV networks and the programming people working for them are going out of their way to be more outlandish with each passing season.

Sadly, the result is largely unwatchable junk.

It’s hard to believe that the same cable system that can bring us imaginative, interesting shows about science, nature and history on networks like Discovery, Science and National Geographic can also toss out mindless drivel like “Bad Girls Club” and “Teen Mom.”

There’s still some good TV out there, but its realm is shrinking — and that’s a shame.

Maybe I should be glad I don’t have my own reality TV show. I’m sure the money would be decent, but that’s not the kind of fame to which I aspire.

Besides, I don’t think too many producers would want to build a show around a middle-aged, white newspaper editor who likes his job, shares his home life with a smart, pretty wife and a petulant cat, and who likes to read or watch sports in his spare time.

Not exactly a ratings gold mine.

The day they decide to make that show, I’m selling my TV.

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