I am addicted to reality TV.
My struggle began innocently enough. 23 seasons ago, an adventure show called “Survivor” first aired. I liked the premise- a bunch of castaways have to out wit, out play, and out last their fellow survivors for a chance to win a cool million. You’ve got an exotic destination, barely-clothed beautiful people (with a few creepy-eepies thrown in), physical and mental challenges and MONEY. Oh, and you are guaranteed to lose at least a third of your body weight. I was immediately hooked! Thursday nights, twice a year, for several months, nothing could stand in the way of my Survivor fix. Tivo it? Not a chance. I had to see this “live”. I would then immediately get on the phone with my Mom, another heavy
user viewer, an hash out the details. “Can you believe Johnny Fairplay lied that his precious Grandmother had died? OMG!” “That Dragon Slayer is such a freak!”
Since that time, I’ve dabbled in many, many reality shows, including The Bachelor, Millionaire Matchmaker, The Amazing Race and Top Chef. I love that one, but I gained too much weight running back and forth to the ‘fridge during commercials. None, however, gave me that high I was accustomed to with Survivor. The buzz wore off too quickly, and I was left wanting, needing, more
I’ve been a long time
user viewer of Project Runway. Last week began the “all-stars’ competition, and since I’ve watched every season since season 2, I know, intimately, all the players. Actually, I pretty much set my entire schedule up around it. The fashion! The drama! The catty remarks and sabotage! What a total buzz-kill that Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum are no longer a part of the show. It will be too risky to quit that one cold turkey, so I’ll slowly try to ween myself off of it. Wish me luck.
I’ve known for a while that my addiction was getting out of hand. I found myself fidigiting, sweating, even nauseous if, god-forbid, we were out to dinner during American Idol. I actually excused myself from a friend’s dinner table one night, snuck up to her bedroom and turned on Being Bobby Brown– the one that proved just what a train-wreck Whitney Houston really is- “Hell To The NO”! I just couldn’t stay away!
Finally, I hit rock bottom. I maxed-out my TIVO recording space, and Comcast on Demand (so NOT on demand) wasn’t showing re-plays of what I needed to get by. And I wasn’t getting high on the same amount of view-time anymore. It was affecting my daily life. I just laid on the couch and stared into space. No more Joie de Vivre.
What to do? I needed a substitute. Maybe there was something lighter on reality TV? Something that wouldn’t grab me in it’s clutches and obliterate the “other” world–the real world. “Lite” reality.
Imposing an intervention on myself, I began to flip through stations. A&E had lots to offer, especially Intervention. My Reality show addiction wasn’t nearly that bad! I never forgot to feed my dogs (well, there was that once during a Big Brother marathon). I certainly never alienated my friends (oh, wait…) Those people were truly fucked-up.
Jackpot! Right after Intervention came Hoarders. Another show to help me realize how high-functioning I am. OMG! This one guy let his 2 pet rats multiply in millions! They were living in his mattress, even! And this one lady was too lazy to get her ass off the couch to go to the bathroom, so she shit in her diapers and just left them strewn all over the house. You can’t not watch this stuff!
Although I still try to catch my A&E shws on TV, my guilty pleasure has switched to HGTV. That station rocks 24/7. From Sell this House to Curb Appeal to Real Estate Virgins, I am glued to my flat screen. The best, the icing on the cake, though, is House Hunters International. Imagine finding your dream home in the South of France. Tuscany. St. Lucia. It just doesn’t get better than this. So far, HHI is my new drug of choice. I haven’t had any ill-effects from it, and I know if I miss an episode, I can catch up online, or even see it another time. (They re-air them frequently).
For now, anyway, I think I have a handle on my addiction. If I keep it light, try not to use
view before 8:00pm, and keep my promise to not watch in bed, I think I can get this junky-monkey off my back. Wish me luck.
********* See here for True Confessions Part 1