I saw the future (okay, just a piece of the future, but still) today. It was horrifying.
Didn't the M in MTV used to stand for music?
Aren't there an awful lot of books and articles and editorials and blogs and commentary about teenagers and disrespect and entitlement? And lots of people making money off of bootcamps and treatment programs?
I know this is what happens if you take a ten (or twenty) year hiatus from certain segments of television, but really, I had no idea it had gotten quite this bad.
Today, I did the unthinkable and took a day off from my non-job. I wanted to sleep, in hopes of ridding myself of this beastly chest cold, and since I stink at taking naps (even when that's what i want, which just makes no sense at all), I settled in on my purple down couch and turned on the TV, cuz if anything puts me to sleep, it's television. I'm a bit of a sucker for reality shows--some of 'em, anyway--which you have to admit have a look about them that you can't miss. I saw it as I flipped by, so I stopped to take a look for a moment. I ended up watching for. well let's just say it was for sociological research. It was a mistake.
It was the "incredibly popular dating show" (source: MTV) called "Parental Control". Have you heard of this show, by any chance? Here's a tip: Don't watch it.
It's about parents who (theoretically) don't like their child's boyfriend or girlfriend, so they hold interviews and set up blind dates with two "alternatives". At the end, their child picks the one they want to keep dating.
What kind of parents go on this show? Where do they find these people who have no boundaries whatsoever--as parents, as teens, as guests in someone's house? And who in god's name watches this show, which is blatantly (and badly) scripted, making its status as a reality show more like a poorly written high school play with a cast of inconceivably bad actors?
I'll tell you who watches it. Kids.
I really had no idea.
Kids are sitting in their living rooms, watching teens cussing out and disrespecting their date's parents (yeah, it's not even their own parents!). Kids are in their rooms, watching teenage boys make repeated overt sexual comments to their girlfriend's mother. Kids may be laughing at the the lame script, but they are at the same time soaking in the glorification of wildly inappropriate behavior and parenting.
Now, to their credit, reviews of this show (even by kids) do recognize that it's "fake" and "horrific". But there are plenty of reviews like this one:
"....there is alot of harsh words said between the parents and the person they don't like and thats pretty funny. I love Mtv and this show is good and pretty funny, especially when they pick the ones their parents don't like haha. Overall its actaully a pretty good show I would give it an A."
I may be old. I may be a fuddy-duddy. But the generation who is making this show "incredibly popular" will be running the country (well, not the actual people on these shows, they'll probably be in jail) when I am genuinely old. Scary.
Yeah, I know that the people who go on these shows nearly always do it out of a simple narcissistic desire to be on TV. I know. And I know that the casting is always done exclusively in the L.A. area, which pretty much speaks for itself. Still. I even know that this does not represent a majority of youth--but I also know that the ones who find it appalling are not lobbying for its cancellation, and that market share of audience is what determines longevity on television.
Okay. Fine. Next time I'll just go in and take a nap.