Sunday, April 22, 2007

Reality TV

Life is always a fun and exciting adventure – and one thing that makes it so much fun in the unexpected! But first lets again tie up some loose ends..

Almost 500 people have read my blog so far – and it is only a week and a half old – that is a surprise!

Another surprise is the reaction to the last post about childhood – I guess I either touch a nerve, or possibly, none of us are ready to let go of our youthful play. One very interesting comment I got emailed to me (and not posted on the site) was: "problem today is not that grown-ups have stopped playing, but, rather, with the internet paradigm shift, that CHILDREN have stopped playing and will never know the sweet thrill of our remembered childhoods." Very interesting theory – and possibly true.

Ok – moving forward…

So I am sitting at home this evening, watching the new reality game show "Shear Genius" on Bravo – and they are introducing the new contestants – and up popped "Jim" – and I know him – SURPRISE – he was the stylist on the Suze Orman pledge specials I co-hosted in St. Paul.

To catch some of you up, I have done almost 2 dozen national pledge specials for PBS – we call them "Virtuals" and we tape a set of pledge breaks (usually with the program's star) and then public television stations across the country air these breaks during their pledge drives… so they are kind of a big deal and a major production. So anyway, I have hosted three of these special with Suze over the last 8 years, and Jim was Suze's hair stylist who was brought in from NY.

All I can say is Jim is a riot and a whole lot of fun – and boy did he have dirt on a ton of stars – but I am sworn to secrecy… unless you ask me really really nicely! Anyway, at this point I am routing for Jim to win – just because I know him!

And I have had the pleasure to get to know a few Reality show folks – Will Makar, Uchenna & Joyce, Vanessa Riley – and all have been down right nice people – but most people never actually meet any of these Reality Stars in person, but that doesn't stop them from thinking they know these people.

Funny, in a way the characters on reality TV shows have become our "friends", our community – in the same way the internet has started to take over our interpersonal interactions – we can talk to anyone, tell them anything and watch the lives of those on TV as though they are those of real friends (not just our "Reality Friends").

And why shouldn't we get attached? We go through their heart breaks with them, and their joys and highs from success – in some cases they show us more of their secret and "true" lives than our actual friends – so the attachments we develop with them over the course of a season can seem just as real. But it is not – it is manipulated and we are shown what the producers want us to see, so that we will react and feel about these people the way the producers want us to!

Kind of scary if you think about it…

Science fiction will have us believing in time we will live completely in a virtual world ("" is already a very successful online community where people are creating secondary virtual lives – interacting with people, making friends, building families, starting careers…). So in time, how will we be able to separate this virtual life from real life – and truthfully – does it really matter?

Do we just interpret what we have now as "real life," and maybe there is something more? Many religions talk of Heaven, so what are we experiencing in this "life" if there is eternal life? Is this just a virtual life and the after life is real life??? Or do we simply become Gods of our "virtual" worlds? Or, could we all just be virtual beings that God made up playing with his version of "SecondLife"???

Oh it gets complicated and confusing… Time for bed… Next time will be more fun!

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