If there’s one good thing about reality TV it may be that it is teaching skepticism to a whole new generation of TV watchers. A great example is Spike TV’s latest entry World’s Worst Tenants. For anyone, like myself, who has had to deal with neighbors from hell, who wouldn’t want to watch bad tenants get evicted? I was about to watch something from my Netflix que when this show hooked me.
The problem is after the first episode something about the scenes seemed too entertainingly perfect: A brawl resulting from an attempt to evict a gang of bikers, a man rescued from falling in his tub and not being able to move for several days, and a pervert caught taping his neighbors…
A quick Google search shows I’m not the only one being skeptical. Fact is, currently, if you just type in World’s Worst Tenants into Google you get a link for “Is the tv show worlds worst tenants real?” that leads to Yahoo Answers. A better link is a forum on TivoCommunity.com with the entry “Spike TV Almost Got Me.” The forum examined all the mistakes in the show concerning law enforcement and eviction rules and then someone simply noted that on the end credits of the show it says that we are watching reenactments.
This kind of reality TV is pretty questionable and as far as a money-making venture I’m beginning to think this borders on fraud. Commercials have to tell you if what you are seeing is a reenactment, they’re not allowed to hide it in the fine print. Why shouldn’t Spike TV have to inform us upfront that we’re watching a “faked” show?
The side effect of these fake reality shows is a possible irony; that we are becoming more skeptical about what we see. And with forums and YouTube channels like Spike aren’t allowed to get away with it. The question is, will it be enough to dissuade advertisers from supporting a faked show and do people still watch these shows even though they know it’s not real? A little junkfood TV isn’t a horrible thing after expanding your mind with something like The Universe series, but shouldn’t we demand our trash TV be real?
Well, I guess it’s back to Parking Wars on Netflix for my junkfood TV cravings. Maybe it’s not as exciting as bad tenant evictions but at least I know it’s real (I would hope!) .
SIDENOTE: Maybe I’m too optimistic, but I believe the kids coming up into adulthood today may be smarter than the past generation when it comes to being skeptical. It’s kind of a game to see who gets fooled by the next scam show or urban myth which puts them on alert that they have to question TV, what they read and what they’re told by family and friends. The peer pressure online not to be taken in by stupidity is fairly strong as far as I’ve observed from skipping from one forum to another and even Facebook. To be suckered by these shows you literally have to be so lazy you don’t do a simple Google search. Like I mentioned, I didn’t even have to use the search term “fake” when looking for information on World’s Worst Tenants. It just popped up.