I have a sister who loves reality TV. I don’t. I find it depressing and downright boring. I really would prefer to watch paint dry.
Reality TV is a subject on which my sister and I will always clash. Therefore, since our last bust-up over How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? it’s a subject we’ve agreed to avoid.
She’s an aficionado (and I sort-of respect her for that). Reality TV is her preferred viewing. She watches X Factor, Pop Idol, Wife Swap, Celebrity Love Island, I’d Do Anything, and countless shows I’ve never heard of.
She involves herself with a passion; agreeing or not with Simon Cowell, hating Sharon Osborne, defending this or that contestant, shocked at what a certain family feeds their children, appalled at whom Sir Alan Sugar did or did not hire as his new Apprentice.
And she believes it is real.
Our fall-out over ‘Maria’ occurred after I read an article when the show first aired, which happened to mention the writers. My sister would not accept it was even partly scripted. Nor would she accept that the TV portrayal of the process is not how auditions take place in the real world, and that her enthusiasm to see the winner perform in Andrew Lloyd Webber's West End production of The Sound of Music, was really the whole point of the show; the reality, in this case, of reality TV.
So I was pleased when Kevin Spacey, actor and artistic director of the Old Vic, said this: "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? was a 13-week promotion for a musical, on a public-service broadcaster. I thought that was crossing the line."
But then I read something on Meg Cabot’s blog:
… one third of people aged 100 or older watch reality television. One quarter of them watch MTV or music videos, and some even surf the web and use an iPod.
Curl up on the couch. Watching reality TV is the key to long life!