Honey Boo Boo vs. Fatty Poo Poo

“This is where the bar was just a few years ago. It was lowered here when President Clinton got a blow job in the oval office and suddenly men who were just getting blow jobs in alleyways thought that they weren’t all that bad.” -South Park

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“The bar” has been constantly been getting lower and lower and we as a society are tolerating it. I think we have a big part in allowing this to keep going. We are the ones that support these kinds of shows by watching them and giving them our time. Now, I admit, I do like my fair share of reality shows, yet somehow I still have a “bar” myself. There are shows and movies that I personally think are too “stupid”, “ridiculous” or a “waste of time”, yet I turn to other shows that other people might think are “stupid”, “ridiculous” or a “waste of time”. Where did my ‘bar’ come from? Why are we so drawn into reality shows that are not actually ‘reality’?

In Andy Dehnart’s piece he said, “Reality TV is at once a window and a mirror, showing how real people react and interact in extraordinary situations. It also forces us to consider how we’d respond — and how we are responding to what we watch.” How many times have you been watching a reality show and have been judging the people you’re watching? Ragging on them for how they act, what they eat or what they wear? I know I have done that. We are all guilty of it. And who are we to judge? We’re probably sitting on the couch, watching this show, splurging on pizza and ice cream, and we’re judging the lives of people we don’t know? What would they think about us? Egan Morrissey said that reality TV often gets defined as ‘trash’, which I too have heard. She mentions that “people can pretend that they don’t like seeing other people act like idiots…” but we all know what comes next. Isn’t it entertaining to watch someone act that way? It’s amusing? I’m sure a bunch of people watched The Jersey Shore just for this reason: the drinking, the fighting, the drama. Did we really think they were making ‘smart’ choices?

In Kathleen Parker’s article, talking about Honey Boo Boo, she states, “Obviously, people watch because it is so awful. You can’t believe it and so you keep tuning in.” That is definitely true. How else could this show get the amount of ratings for one of the top TLC shows? Parker also says, “Responsible parents steered their children away not only to protect them but also because, we were taught, it wasn’t right to enjoy the misfortunes or disadvantages of others.” I think this is a big reason why people might watch reality shows as well. As much as people might hate to admit it, you know that you have it better than someone else. This is not a good reason! but it’s probably a common one.

I think ‘the bar’ has been lowering because we allow it to. We have gotten lazy and don’t want to work towards the standards we once had. Now, just about anything is tolerable in a sense. What will it take to turn things around?

I’m not sure, but please excuse me while I go binge watch some more South Park…

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Thank you for reading!

Rachel

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3 thoughts on “Honey Boo Boo vs. Fatty Poo Poo

  1. I was going to comment on your blog but I decided to go binge watch South Park. (I wish. I can’t afford the bandwidth to watch it. Home in three weeks!!!)
    I appreciate your choice of quotes at the top of your blog and your recap of the folks we read. I think there’s something to the argument that we like to judge, to feel better about ourselves by seeing someone else’s blech. There’s a word for this — schadenfreude. Which made me think of a video that I’ll post at the top of the Moodle page. I hope you watch it. It’s funny.

  2. Rachel,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog. I agree with everything you said. The bar is constantly lowering because we as a society are allowing it to. We are responsible for it, but, yes, we are getting lazy. I also agree that we can be very judge mental as we watch these reality shows, and they could be the main reason for why people watch them so much. The shows just make people feel better about themselves. I believe that raising the bar back up will not be easy, but it is something we must all do together.

  3. Hey Rachel, I definitely agree with your statements regarding the bar and us allowing it to sink so low. You are also spot on about how people are quick to criticize reality television and judge the people it is based on. But it really is entirely our own fault. As consumers, we willingly buy into these shows through our cable subscription. I have to admit, I also binge watched South Park after my blog post, and tend to on a weekly basis hah..

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