I am a huge fan of reality TV.

“Which shows do you like best?” I hear you cry out.

Almost any reality show is fine with me. I like the discovery channel and I like the science channel. And PBS almost always has something awesome on it. My favorite channel though is the food network. I actually find myself really liking or really not liking the hosts of these shows based on…

“Wait a minute, those aren’t reality shows”, you say.

Why aren’t they reality shows?

“Those are just shows about people doing stuff and not playing characters… Okay, wait, I know that sounds exactly like The Amazing Race, but seriously, you know the difference.”

No, I don’t actually.

“I mean, The Swan? The Swan is a reality show”

Right, The Swan is on Fox or something, and MTV has “I Want A Famous Face”, which I guess counts as reality, and then the Science Channel has an *identical* show called “Surgery Success” or something and the Discover/Health channel basically shows nothing but cosmetic surgery.

“What about The Real World? That’s a bullshit reality show.”

Which is identical to “Frontier House” on PBS… You don’t actually know what you’re talking about, do you?

“You’re right, Sean. I’m so frickin stupid. Crap.”

Here’s what I don’t want to see on TV. I don’t want to see the insides of a person. That’s why I can’t handle the surgery shows. It makes me wish I wasn’t watching TV. I don’t want to see famous people doing stuff that they aren’t famous for. So, that cuts out basically everything on the E! Channel, which I wish I could block on my cable box. I’m not a big fan of either special effects or badly written characters suffering for no other reason than to increase “Drama”, so the former cuts out *every* sci-fi thing on TV and the later cuts out almost all night time drama. Even The West Wing is punishing its characters just for living, and I’m not enjoying it.

So, I end up watching almost nothing but documentaries and movies. I don’t watch the prime time reality shows because they have bad writing and characters suffering purely for Drama. American Idol was fun to watch because I watch it with a group of people who know less about music than I do and they hang on my every word, other than that it makes me feel like I’m at an audition, which is the single worst feeling I’ve had other than finding love notes written to my ex-wife by someone else.

Actually, even that had a certain possible vindication involved, auditions are like tooth surgery with no pain killers on teeth that are still healthy.

People say they don’t like reality shows, but there’s something more specific they don’t like. Every reality show has something for someone. I personally like the idea of The Swan, that they would take normal people with unfortunate looks and change their lives by shaping their appearance. There’s something so Jane Goodall about that, mimicking the monkeys to be accepted. I couldn’t watch it because I knew they were gonna put a camera up someone’s nose and that makes me sick, but I still thought it was a cool idea.

The Simple Life? Unless these girls are going down on each other, then it’s celebrities doing stuff they aren’t famous for.

Did you know that on the E! Channel, there is a show called “Celebrities Uncensored”, a show where they broadcast video shot of celebrities trying to be left alone while they walk through airports and leave restaurants? It’s a show that purchases and broadcasts video of famous people being hassled. The Guinness Book Of World Records stopped featuring records that were dangerous or stupid because people had begun to be really unsafe trying to get in to the book, but the E! Channel not only found an outlet for this hideous behavior, it created a culture for these people, the ones who spend their lives provoking famous people and videotaping it, wherein they could become rich themselves.

So, don’t hold your scorn for “Road Rules” or whatever. These people are retarded and they want to be famous and they tried to get on these shows. Think about Sean Penn in “Sweet and Lowdown” or “Dead Man Walking”, think of his talent and ability and the harrowing he went through to make the characters he’s made, and now realize that there is a TV show dedicated to kicking the door open while he’s taking a crap and filming it.

“God, you’re right. I can’t believe how stupid I am. I think I’ll go turn the TV off and read a book… I just love John Grisham, don’t you?”