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Rethink reality

July 23, 2011

I am considering canceling my television satellite service and returning to my local cable company. I was lured away by promises of hundreds of new stations available in high definition any time day or night.
Once the satellite was installed, I took a week’s vacation just to vegetate on my couch. I anticipated happy hours of old movies, fascinating programs on world history, and constant streams of micro-wave popcorn.
Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that the majority of those hundreds of stations are either devoted to disgusting so-called reality shows or home shopping networks.
Home shopping is a concept that never caught on at my house. I swore off forever after rushing to order the Wonder Mop (they warned there were only 300 left). I paid $39.99 and found it at Wal-Mart a week later for $14.99.
How many Huggable Hangers or Slap and Chops does a woman need?
Reality shows puzzle me the most. They seem to be multiplying like rabbits on in-vitro fertilization. “Housewives of (Name your city)” depicts snarky Collagen-plumped, Botox-stretched women who I bet aren’t even housewives.
Shockingly, I learned that some of my most intelligent and thoughtful friends are devotees of reality shows. This week, I was attempting to demonstrate my superiority by ridiculing reality television and was bombarded by vehement protests.
My buddies are so addicted to “Hoarders” and “Swamp People” that they call each other back and forth to discuss the episodes! What am I missing here?
I rushed home and punched up “Swamp People” which appears to be about country folks chasing alligators and snakes. For 30 minutes, I watched a man and woman trying to rope an alligator – I think they were speaking English but I needed subtitles to be sure.
I switched to Hoarders which is about poor, beleaguered souls buried under 5,000 magazines and every milk carton they ever purchased. It was very depressing, probably because I saw shades of my make-up table where resides every lipstick and blemish concealer invented since 1962.
Don’t we get enough reality television on Cable news? Rupert Murdoch getting hit with a pie while testifying before the British Parliament trumped any scripted, caterpillar-slurping foodie created for reality TV.
And yet, I’m wondering if there is a market for a reality show featuring a slightly delusional, almost senior citizen with a warped sense of humor and a high threshold for failure, trying to give Martha Stewart a run for her money. I have someone in mind.

Emily Jones is a retired journalist who edits a website for bouncing baby boomers facing retirement. She welcomes comments at

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