Reality TV offers brainless outlet

Matt Paulson, Editor in Chief

Reality TV has achieved a strangle-hold on America. As the educated, we constantly harpoon it, waxing intellectual as we pretend we are not part of the stupidity of the masses that are hopelessly addicted to this, the purest form of entertainment junk food.

We have clucked in disapproval of MTV’s “The Real World,” in which participants are supposedly thrust into a real-world situation to fend for themselves with only the help of a slew of producers who hand them a job and a luxurious house in which they drink immense amounts of alcohol and forge the memorable love triangles that we all pine for. But it’s been on the air for more than 10 seasons now, and we can all vividly recall the “slap heard ’round the world” from the Seattle season.

We shake our collective heads at CBS’ “Survivor” even though it’s been on the air for how many seasons now? They’re running out of continents. It will not be long before the debut of “Survivor: the Red Planet.”

We damn Fox for “Joe Millionaire,” saying it was drawn-out and pointless and the final episode, which elapsed two hours of America’s time and could have been condensed to about five minutes, but we watched. Who could deny that the names Evan and Zora have become about as famous as Cleopatra and Marc Antony?

And because of us, Fox has decided to give “Joe Millionaire” another run. Only, on this season, “Joe” is a cowboy who has inherited $80 million and is attempting the same ploy, but in Europe.

This simply proves that America has stopped asking for originality. We want the dirt and grime that reality television provides us. We drool in anticipation of the final episode and the historic journey we vicariously take with our favorite participants to get there.

To be honest, I have no idea why Fox even went to Europe to find the uninformed. Considering the intelligence and comprehension level of most of the women on the first “Joe Millionaire” and the intellectual deficiency of the majority of reality TV participants in general, Fox could have simply called it “Chuck Millionaire,” kept it in America, and the new bunch would be none the wiser.

But I digress.

My point is that, even though, as intellectuals, we consistently claim to be above all this low-class entertainment, we are not.

These shows have prospered for a reason: People are watching, and there are very few of you out there-educated or not-that can honestly tell me that you have not been sucked in for at least a few moments.

And what is wrong with this? Why is it such an embarrassment to be caught taking in an episode of “Paradise Hotel?” On a side note: Charla, if you ever read this, I enjoyed seeing you win the money as much as I would enjoy a sponge bath from Roseanne while listening to her warble through the National Anthem.

We are Americans. We are the most technologically and economically advanced country in the world, but we yearn for low-class entertainment.

It is a guilty pleasure. In the stress-inducing collegiate atmosphere, I see this garbage as an escape. I’m not looking to the inhabitants of the “Big Brother” house to provide me with insight that can change my life. I just want to be entertained and not be required to think for a half hour.

After the show, I can go back to “Paradise Lost,” but for now, I’m going to settle back on the couch, enjoy a box of Better Cheddars and a Twinkie, and sink into the stimulating world of Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson on MTV’s “Newlyweds.”

Matt Paulson, a junior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at

Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.

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