I got the middle finger Saturday after-whoa-forgetting to put on my blinker before a left-hand turn, but that was the high point of a boring week.
So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I watch MTV’s hit pseudo-reality drama “The Hills” like it’s a televised visual Bible flowing out of the HD screen on my TV.
The half-hour long night soap is the highly successful spin-off of the network’s show “Laguna Beach” — an addicting weekly chronicling the life of high schoolers in one of California’s most exclusive coastal towns.
Blonde hotness Lauren Conrad turned out to be Beach’s breakout star, and the network opted to create a new reality show based on her flashy life after a move to Los Angeles to intern at Teen Vogue and study fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.
“The Hills” is (unbelievably) in its third season and MTV was kind enough to air a mid-season, half-hour cram session for those, unlike myself, who may have missed bits and pieces of episodes.
Sitting there in the dark watching the freeze-dried version of everything I’d seen since August, I got to thinking: could “The Hills” be destroying the way I look at the world?
According to TV-Free America, Americans watch 250 billion hours of television every year. The publication also reported that parents spend an average of 3.5 minutes per week engaging in meaningful conversation with their children.
If parents are finding it difficult to corner their kids for more than 3.5 minutes a week, it wouldn’t surprise me if parents with children away at college are having an exponentially harder time doing the same thing.
But no, I thought, not me.
I talk to my mom on the phone everyday-plus, she lives about 20 minutes from me. We talk about “I Love New York,” “America’s Next Top Model” and. “The Hills.”
There it was-the awful truth. We talk about crappy reality television all the time.
I had been hypothesized correctly and I wasn’t particularly proud. Television has become a bridge between people-a topic of conversation when the real stuff gets a little too boring.
If that’s not enough, this new breed of reality television is acting like a set of proverbial blinders to what is reality in true form-the test you have next Thursday, the car that needs an oil change and the checking account with a negative balance. It just makes all that real-life lameness seem far too monotonous to deal with.
Indulging in the glamour of 21-year-olds like Lauren Conrad driving a Mercedes convertible around West Hollywood and hitting up the most exclusive Los Angeles clubs night after night could make any normal person feel a little inadequate.
Suffice it to say-there are probably very few people as neurotic as me. But I know the reality TV obsession affects more people than will probably admit it. After all, TV-Free America says the average U.S. home has a television powered on for about 6 hours and 47 minutes a day.
I’m going somewhere with this:
Reality TV is awesome. Don’t get me wrong I love the stuff like crack for the eyes and ears. But maybe there’s a line where recreational viewing becomes just an excuse to ignore what really matters, or at least what may matter a little more than who Lauren Conrad is dating.
It’s a simple concept but the statistics suggest someone had to say something.
Who said a night in “The Hills” couldn’t be a learning experience?