Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Reality TV Bad For You?

If you star in it, it may be. Since the recent suicide of Taylor Armstrong’s estranged, reality husband, Russell Armstrong, of the Real Housewives of Beverley Hills, many are wondering if reality tv causes more problems than it’s worth. In the case of Russell Armstrong, his attorney explains that he invested heavily in promoting and supporting his wife until he was spending more than he was making. He got into financial trouble and she was at the peak of her “career.” However, she picked that point in time to divorce him. It’s a sad story and we may never know the whole truth, though I am sure there is a lot more to it.

I recall many years ago, watching the Loud family on PBS. It was a documentary of the filming of the daily lives of this family. The family was fine at the beginning of the show, but living under the scrutiny of a camera 24/7 eventually destroyed this family. When I look back on it, that was really a very similar example of reality tv to the max. Their cameras were rolling 24/7, unlike today’s shows, where they set up a situation and bring the camera crew in to film what develops.

I was reading that many of the Real Housewives are always saying how perfect their families are while the camera is on. Unfortunately for them, the media has ways of getting to the truth and publishing it. Once you are a “star” on reality television, you open yourself up to all kinds of scrutiny and everything that happens to you is a hot story. They no longer have any privacy. In fact, it turns out, that since starring on these shows, which are very successful, six women have become involved in divorce proceedings and at least that many more have filed for bankruptcy. Who knows to what degree the shows are responsible? Look at Jon and Kate who are divorced, and all of their dirty laundry was aired at the time. Though I have to say I blame Kate for that one, not the show.

I think these reality shows are going to have to bring in some experts and rethink the psychological damage these shows might be doing by throwing people into the lime light and exposing them to a ruthless media. Those they have skeletons in their closet, that they want to keep there, better rethink their decision. Many “friends” will come out of the woodwork and expose their stories for them for a couple of thousand dollars from a tabloid. If they are going to star on a popular show they better be prepared to handle all the consequences.

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