Reality Shows place toxins in the culture

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The stats are surprising, 1 in every 4 TV shows today are considered reality shows.  The number one program on NBC, the network that brought us such hits as Seinfeld and the Law & Order franchise, is now The Biggest Loser.  Ouch.  From a business standpoint, the reason for this paradoxical shift is that while producing a scripted drama can run in the millions, a reality show can be made for hundreds of thousands.  (The Leno/Conan fiasco all started when management calculated the savings at running Leno 5 nights a week but don’t get me started.)  Add to that, the fact that people are willing to embarrass themselves publicly for the opportunity to be famous, and you have a recipe for toxic culture soup.

Jersey Shore is the latest train wreck to take up tasty space on the Huffington Post.  Since when did Snooki reading her first book become news?  According to Dr. Drew Pinsky, the man behind the mind-wincing Celebrity Rehab, “people are drawn to dysfunctional behavior”.  That may be true, but we are also attracted to great storytelling.

When I was a kid, Steve Austin and Wonder Woman were my cultural role models.  Today, Miley Cyrus admits to shirking the responsibility.  So, it begs the question, what are the long term implications for our national psyche to absorb just plain bad behavior?

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