Thursday, June 14, 2007

Vicarious Television

When Reality TV first hit the airwaves, I dismissed it as gussied-up game shows. On most of these shows, the notion of "reality" is simply what the producers want to edit together to create better drama. Auditions for these shows search for people who will make for interesting "characters". Don't even get me started on celebrity reality shows: rubbernecking for the new century.

But in recent years, reality shows have been popping up that actually demand real talent from the contestants instead of just being crazy or conniving.

Granted some of the "talent" is questionable (Ahem. Sanjaya.) , but entertaining nonetheless.

Last night while watching our summer addiction, So You Think You Can Dance, I realized that entertainment alone isn't what's driving me to tune in to these shows. I am living vicariously through the performers on the show.

Now I can't walk across the room without tripping over something (my own feet), but I've always dreamed of being able to dance. Now I watch SYTYCD and plug along with all the aspiring hoofers, rooting them on and getting involved in their little storylines.

Same is true of American Idol, which grew a bit dull this season. Still, when I sing I make what can only be described as a "joyful noise", and so I allow myself to get wrapped up in the competition of undiscovered singing sensations because darn it, I wish I could sing half as good as Melinda.

I can dress myself with some degree of skill and manage to walk out of the house on a daily basis looking 10x better than a one Miss Spears. But I sure as shit can't draw nor design clothing nor can I sew with any modicum of skill. That's why I get sucked into the creative combat on Project Runway. Those people amaze with with their skills. Except last season, I know I could have thrown together better looking outfits than most of the hot mess that Vincent or Angela sent down the runway.

Admittedly, I have absolutely no discernible talents or skills except maybe blowing bubbles with my spit and tying a cherry stem into a knot with my tongue. A girl can dream of being Somebody, though. And thank goodness the kind and generous people of TV Land have given me a medium through which I can live out those fantasies.

At least until Alastair gets a little older.

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