Forget 'Friends,' embrace reality TV

    Hello, my name is Mara and I ello my name is Mara and I am a reality television addict.

    I don¹t remember when my fixation started, but it probably was somewhere around the time my mother decided that MTV¹s “”Real World”” was too trashy. Ever since, Iave been unable to stop my habit and the number of shows I’ve needed to satisfy my cravings has multiplied. Call me crazy, but I fail to see this as an illness.

    While my mother, as a kid, stayed up late to watch the “”Ed Sullivan Show,”” I dutifully sit and watch Jeff Provost say to another shabby contestant, “”I’m sorry, the tribe has spoken.”” I see reality television as the television of my generation. Some might argue that the early episodes of “”Friends”” or “”Seinfeld”” are what we should cherish, but years after the reruns, we’ll really only remember the “”Rachel haircut”” and Seinfeld’s inability to keep a straight face. Where’s the fun in that?

    It seems to me that pop culture, like a really bad mullet, is destined to come back and haunt you. Along those lines, reality television is a perfect nightmare and one that I have chosen to embrace. In fact, to be more specific about my addiction, I’d like to expand my impulses to include “”un-scripted television”” with all its glory of decorating, makeover and cooking shows. I can watch neighbors let a rowdy carpenter pound holes in each other’s homes, then click over to watch Emeril fill a frozen watermelon with vodka to make some inexplicable mixed drink. Honestly, what more could a girl ask for?

    She could ask for: the Fab Five, the stars of Bravo’s “”Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.”” They are, hands down, God’s gift to television, reality-based or otherwise. Addict or not, everyone should sit for an hour and watch Carson prance across the screen and study how Kyan helps a very heterosexual cowboy feel comfortable enough to have a manicure and pedicure. You will even find yourself moaning with the rest of the five as they lament straight men’s habit of “”speed shaving”” (seriously guys, cut that out, because it looks more dangerous than a bikini wax).

    That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my addiction. But there are other reasons why my fetish is justified. Watching all these not-so-average Joes and Janes be unimaginably stupid on national television makes me feel pretty damn good about myself. I know for a fact that I would never fall into hysterics over not getting a rose; and trust me, $50,000 is not nearly enough to get me to eat rat innards.

    Yet, through my arrogance, I must admit that there are times when I see small slivers of myself in these people who revel in their 15 minutes of fame.

    Take Jessica Simpson, for example. She is no Rhodes Scholar; in fact, tell her that and she might answer, “”Are they, like, experts on making highways?”” But honestly folks, we all have a little Jessica in us. Just the other day I asked my boyfriend if he liked Napoleon ice cream. When he looked perplexed, I said, “”You know, it has chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.”” After he was done with his belly laugh he said, “”It’s Neopolitan ice cream!””

    So why is reality TV so great? Because Jessica Simpson will go down in history for thinking buffaloes have wings, and because her reality will never be truly real. Perhaps that takes away some of the guilt as I sit and watch a two-hour wedding of people I’ve never even met. What I watch does not come close to resembling reality. There is no way that every time a new show goes on air, the producers manage to get the same cast of characters in a totally new batch of people. Statistically, I like to think that the demographics of America are not so bitchy or macho to let that happen.

    Deep down the reasons I watch reality television are very feeble. After all, it’s nearly impossible to fall madly in love in three weeks, but on reality television it happens all the time! And how else can you strike it rich for starving yourself for 30 days and be conniving at the same time? So really, I’m an addict to anti-reality television ‹ and whenever “”Queer Eye”” happens to be on, that’s the best time to watch.

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