The Vicious Cycle

So we were over at Momversation. Yes, we admit it. We like to know what the Moms are up to. It keeps us current.

Anyway, they were talking about kids of Reality TV and how awful it is. And while we totally agree that the exploitation of kids for money is appalling, we also need to admit to some complicity. 

In the old days "movie stars" were revered and looked up to. But it was simple and pretty straight-forward. Stars were on the big screen or the little screen and that is where they stayed. Today, we not only want them on the big and small screens, we want a piece of their lives too. And if we can't get theirs we want ours. Sure we've all dreamed of stardom at one point or another, but with reality TV and other outlets we all have a chance. Really??

We call it the Vicious Cycle. And it's out of control. Here's how it works.

1. People dream of fame. But they don't want to actually work at something to be good enough to get famous. So they think up ways of becoming famous. One way is to objectify themselves or act completely idiotic for laughs. Another way is to exploit their resources. Translation: Use their kids!

2. Enter reality shows. These shows look for people to open their lives for the rest of the world to see.

3. And boy do we watch!! The numbers get higher and higher each year. We are curious! This is an extreme form of rubber necking from the comfort of our own homes. Pretty cool!

4. Soon other networks get in the act and they produce shows that just TALK about the reality stars.
That's an interesting concept. Shows about other TV shows! Weird.

5. And we watch those too!

6. Now the magazines get in the act too. The paparazzi get paid big bucks to follow these reality TV stars around. Now everyone's making money hand over fist. Sweet!

7. And we buy those too! They're so fun to read. We call them our vacation treats. Along with a candy bar and a few other goodies, we gobble these up to enjoy on the road. OK, we'll admit, they're pretty good while doing our morning "duty."

8. So now everyone's making money and the reality kids start to feel entitled. They start behaving worse than they already did before they got on the show. And they're being encouraged by their parents. Nice!!

9. So now more networks, get in the act and more and more people are being recruited to do more extreme shows and more invasive shows.

10. Finally these kids grow up and continue to live their dream. They get their own reality shows and the vicious cycle begins again.

That is if they don't end up in jail, rehab or worse….dead!

WOW! we feel like we're missing something here??!!


ps. Are you part of the vicious cycle? How do we change this? Or do we care?

13 Comments on The Vicious Cycle

  1. The only solution is to stop feeding the beast… don’t watch the shows, don’t buy the magazines. That’s what I try to do… at least until “Survivor” comes on.

  2. Those who exploit their kids for the sake of monetary or personal gain should be penalized in some way. It is an unseemly abuse of parental rights. The first case which comes to mind is JonBenet Ramsey. The mom bleached that child’s hair, dressed her up for a parade of beauty as opposed to character, and the child was murdered. Was the mom re-living her own glory days through her child? We may never know. The Balloon Boy is another example of child-exploitation. The father is a punk and a publicity hound who taught his children that telling a lie is okay? There are many people who would love to have children for all the right reasons. Exploitation should never be one.

  3. When I was growing up the big controversy was “stage moms.” (I guess there must have been stage dads, but it was the moms were heard about.) I remember when Brooke Shields was barely more than a child and was in the “nothing gets between me and my Calvin’s” ads. Talk about exploitive!
    I think the exploitation has always been there in one form or another, but with reality TV there is no talent required so the barrier to entry is pretty much non existent.
    I agree with what cherlock said about child beauty pageants. When we lived in the south I couldn’t believe that parents would parade these little girls around in makeup and bathing suits on stage. Most of us are praying that people don’t eye our children inappropriately instead of encouraging it.
    I think that as long as there is a buck to be made or a belief that you can live vicariously through your child that this behavior isn’t likely to change.

  4. I’m so sick of reality tv. The only reality entertainment that interests me are the blogs I read! All of these people that want their five minutes of fame are just so ridiculous. To me this reality craze is the downfall of our society.
    I’m happy that the networks are bringing back good tv, with the new drama Flashforward, and all of the funny new sitcoms out there. Hopefully this reality craze gets put to rest, and SOON!

  5. I’m not a big TV watcher to begin with, but I’d feel like a creepy voyeur watching some of those so-called “reality shows”. There’s nothing “real” about living your life out in front of cameras.

  6. Yes, we do need to stop feeding the beast. This is the only way to stop this trend of fame seeking and child exploitation.
    Money talks!
    Thanks for the great comments.

  7. To some degree we all play a role in this right? I try hard not to watch reality TV but sometimes it just ropes you right on in there a la Project Runway. But in my personal defense I don’t watch the ones with kids. That is where I draw the line. It’s not entertaining to me to see parents who can’t control their own children and need programs like Supernanny or Wife Swap and I refuse to watch the ones like Jon & Kate +8. Honestly I didn’t understand the whole premise…it’s supposed to be entertaining because instead of two kids they have 8…I don’t get it.
    It is good to see real television making a small comeback with shows like Glee and Lie to Me. I just hope the reality craze has hit it’s peak and is slowly but surely on the decline.

  8. With the exception of The Amazing Race, I don’t watch reality shows.

  9. I’m with you the shows have really gotten out of control anything for the money and it’s sickening. I further wonder how this will affect the kids in the future my suspicion we’re going to have some really weird adults in a few years.
    Great post and there doesn’t seem to be much left to watch on television glad we have the net although have to be careful there as well.
    Dorothy from grammology

  10. Never watch reality TV. It is not a good way for my girls to view “Reality”.

  11. I haven’t owned a TV in over 30 years, so I’m oblivious to all this stuff. I don’t read the paper either. If I owned a TV, I’m sure none of this would affect or offend me. It’s all showbiz and good for a laugh.

  12. I can proudly say that I’m not complicit in this cycle. I have never once watched a reality show (or purchased a magazine that writes about them), nor do I ever plan on it. The fact that this whole reality show thing actually passes for good tv is amazing to me. And while I’m on the bash reality tv train, let me just say that seasons of Jon and Kate Plus 8 are taking up shelf space at Target where they could be putting good tv, and it just ticks me off.
    Ok, thank you for letting me get up on my reality tv soapbox. 🙂
    A great post, btw!

  13. And if the cycle breaks itself up and no one is watching the reality kid anymore, you can always pretend that he got stuck in a balloon and call for a news helicopter…

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Maximum comment length is 1500 characters.