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Unreality Television

Web posted on March 16, 2017

A Curmudgeon's View

By Les Enekes

I have posted a couple of columns about the rather sorry state of the motion picture industry. I suppose it is time to look at what the television industry is trying to force upon us. For the most part I am willing to give almost anything the benefit of the doubt. If I can get to the first commercial, I will stay for the rest of the show just to see just how bad the "train wreck" is going to be. The quality of a show has to be exceptionally good for me to come back for a second look.

Let's take a look at some of the unreality programs out there, from the so called talent shows (where is the "Gong Show" when we need it?), and to the travel shows (the alleged race shows or the so called "survivor" type shows. There are the auction shows, the duck and redneck shows, the dating shows, (stick to the internet dating sites and get a life) and the gold diggers (as I refer to all the treasure hunting shows). Let's not forget the all shows involving fish. We have cooking shows (anything in or near any food preparation facility), and, the lifestyles of the "Z" list celebrities (IQs inversely proportional to the size of the ego) who think they are on the "A" list, and the list goes on. There is nothing real about any of this nonsense.

The storage locker auction shows were mildly amusing at times, but some of the prices they claimed to get, especially on the Canadian version were closer to the hockey rink than the ball park, let alone in it. As for the bidders, all but one of them made the "Yuuup" guy in California look loveable. I don't think any of them would be allowed in or near any self respecting trailer park. I didn't get to the local taping, but I have been to a few storage auctions, and reality is quite different. For a while there were a lot of amateur treasure hunters at storage auctions making life difficult for the real professionals. From what I hear the novelty has worn off for the muggles, and things are getting back to normal. It would appear that the Canadian version has faded to black along with the one from Texas (having been to Texas on numerous occasions, I can safely say that all the buyers definitely fit the stereotype). Perhaps all the auction shows are coming to a merciful end.

Then there is "The Amazing Race Canada," key word being CANADA, you know, the second largest country on the planet, and rapidly growing according to the producers. When did parts of South America, Europe, India, Viet Nam and Cuba, become a part of Canada? The show lost what little credibility it had the minute they stepped outside Canada. Either change the name, or stay in Canada. There are enough interesting places in Canada that they should never have to leave Canada. Then again, I have yet to figure out what is so amazing about any of the races. A better title would be "The Artificial Race Occasionally in Canada." I refuse to watch this garbage. The only amazing thing about all of the race shows is that people actually watch them.

Interesting how all the so called survivor shows take place in warm tropical places. I guess it's to show off the eye candy. It would be a lot more interesting on one of the Aleutian Islands, or the Falkland Islands. (That's pronounced "Malvinas" in Spanish) How about Manitoulin Island in blackfly and mosquito season.? That might actually be worth watching.

Stuff that happens in the kitchen should stay in the kitchen. After tying to watch some of the restaurant and alleged cooking competitions out there, I am having second thoughts about ever dining out again. I certainly would never go anywhere near any of the establishments owned by that British guy, or come to think of it, any of those so called celebrity chefs. The only thing I want to see coming out of a kitchen is good food, not some crazy competition. Whatever happened to real cooking shows with real chefs?

I am fed up with the waste of quality air time with all the limited run competition and elimination shows that the producers think we want to see. Yet we keep getting them several times a year pre-empting regular programming for several weeks at a time. At least with the pledge breaks on PBS you get some quality programming if you can put up with the begging.

Louisiana is obviously the redneck capital of the world. Any family of rednecks with issues, (the more the better) can get their own show. Come now, how much of the Duck People can we really tolerate? I gave up before the first commercial. It looks like they have been cancelled by the network, or as I prefer to think of it, the network told them to flock off.

I do admit that "Billy the Exterminator" had its moments. Unfortunately, his new show "Billy Goes North" is a mere shadow of his original show and his puns are getting bad even by my standards. They even taped part of an episode here in Guelph. Maybe he decided to get out of Louisiana while the getting was good Are there any normal people left in Louisiana? I figure most of the real people must have been swept away by Hurricane Katrina. Alaska is rapidly catching up with all those characters looking for gold or trying to live off the grid. If you want to live off the grid the rest of us don't want to know what you are doing.

It is also interesting to note the disproportionate number of unreality TV personalities who seem to get into trouble with the law, or get into some type of scandal. It seems that hardly a month goes by without one of these lovely people in the headlines. This gives good reasons to stay away from Alaska, Louisiana and a few other places. Would you want any of these people living in your neighbourhood? I don't even want them on my planet. Please send all of them and the people who came up with these programs to colonize Mars along with all those Hollywood types who want to come to Canada. (The sooner the better) That would be worth watching as long as it's a one way trip. Wow, that sounds like the plot for a REALLY bad sci-fi (not science fiction, there is a big difference) movie or maybe even a sitcom. I am sure that the departure of these people would cause a serious jump in the collective intelligence of the planet

The so called "talent" shows are just plain annoying. Yes, there is undiscovered talent out there waiting to be found. Unfortunately we have to watch the process with judges and show formats leave everything to be desired. I would hate to see the quality of the contestants who did not make the cut.

All of these unreality shows should be relegated to some channel with a four digit number, and kept away from real programming. The only exception would be "Antiques Roadshow." I consider it to be the only reality show on TV. I like both the British and American versions. Whatever happened to the Canadian version? I am still debating about "Dragon's Den" and "Shark Tank."

This also has a lot to say about the people watching this stuff. Think about it. If this is what people want to watch, it does not give much hope for the future. Did the audience dumb down television, or did TV dumb the audience down?

Les Enekes can be reached directly by owl. For those not owl equipped, he can be reached at

The views of columnists in The Fountain Pen do not necessarily represent the views of the principals of the publication.

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