Sunday, February 27, 2011

I Wish The "Real World" Would Just Stop Hassling Me

I hate Reality TV. Actually, to say that I hate Reality TV is a gross understatement. If it was possible to weaponize my distaste for Reality TV, it would be possible to annihilate a small galactic planet (Jupiter for example).

I grew up in theater and film, creating characters from the written word of writers that took their craft as serious as I do. From the first time that I stepped foot on stage and got a response from the audience, I knew that was where my home was. There is a high that I can get from being a performer in front of a live audience, which is completely controlled by my every motion, pause in speech, twist of phrase, or reaction, that is more fulfilling to me than any alcohol or drug induced high that I have received.

I know that it is common for a lot of little kids growing up to say that they want to be an actor/actress when they get older, I actually meant it. I was fortunate enough to have support and encouragement from family that shuttled me around to auditions, rehearsals, and performances in my pre-license years, and were there to help when I needed to run lines with someone.

I used to get myself involved with anything that came along, and it was not uncommon for me to be involved in five to seven shows a year (that may not sound like much to some of you, but trust me on this: it's a lot). It didn't matter to me if the show actually had a place for me in it. If there was no role that was right for me, I'd get involved backstage doing props, costumes, stage managing (if you think I wear a lot of black now, you haven't seen anything), house managing, anything to keep me in the theater where I could learn from what was going on.

I would sit and watch rehearsals and performances of shows that I was not directly involved in (and some that I was) soaking up and absorbing everything. I had some veterans take me under their wing and teach me big and small picture things ranging from stage positioning to line delivery and character interpretation. Some of my mentors went out of their way to pass along the knowledge that they had by staying late/coming in early, even by sometimes giving me a lift to the theater and home again (something I am sure was appreciated by the adults in my house).

Just about every performer that I have met over the years has had the same dream: they have all wanted to be able to make a living performing. Very few of them actually wanted to have the mansion in Beverly Hills or the penthouse overlooking Central Park; In fact, many of us would be content with sharing a dilapidated loft in Compton, or a one room apartment in the Village.

[Enter what many see as my senseless rage against Reality TV.]

Folks, Reality TV costs performers (and many writers) jobs. We have trained ourselves over the years to be professional entertainers. Every time someone turns on their idiot box to watch some wretched program like Real Housewives of Some Neighborhood You Don't Live In, or the headache-inducing bane of my existence American Idol, they are destroying the hopes and dreams of people that I have worked with, dreamed with, and been inspired by...and people think I'm senselessly cruel.


  1. I don't care what anyone says, we were separated at birth and that's that. I hate Reality TV with a passion. It's like our generation's brain dead soap operas.

  2. oh this is an ugly truth, that the advent of reality tv has cost writers and actors jobs. but, sometimes i think it also was a reaction against tv being too phony. all the lavish sets and perfect bodies and fake sounding dialogue and corny laugh tracks and re-tread plots. in my best moods, i like to think that. my mom always says she doesn't understand why you would want to watch anyone else's life but your own. she TOTALLY doesn't get it. reality tv is cheap. no costumes to sew or sets to build. no agents to deal with or temperamental stars. i think it can be done well, i really loved "my life on the d-list" and i love competitive reality shows like "dancing with the stars" (don't hate me, you know i was a dancer) and "top chef" all the other ones are just jerry springer spin offs. the equivalent of marching the town fool through the square to be mocked and ridiculed. it's the circus maximus, where we can feel like emperors belittling and judging the plebes. ick.