Too big a dose of reality

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 11, 2006

On Thursday, many of the 24-hour news television stations were focused on the big news of the day – a real “shocker.”

How could America have not voted to keep Chris Daughtry on “American Idol?”

First, let me admit that I’m not really an “American Idol” fan. I mainly started watching about every other week or so just to keep up with the Wednesday lunch time conversation with co-workers. Otherwise, I’m out of the loop.

However, having caught some episodes of the reality show over the past few weeks, I was kind of surprised myself at the dismissal of rocker Daughtry.

He has a good voice and stage presence, and (I realize I’m going to upset some people here), but much more so than Alabama’s Taylor Hicks.

Still, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.

I was much more excited that the “hippie” team came in first this week on “Amazing Race.”

Especially considering they had come in last place the week before and had almost been eliminated.

Instead, the “hippie” boys had to give up all their money and their belongings, but were allowed to continue the race.

They left the next morning to travel from Sydney, Australia, to Bangkok, Thailand, with just the clothes on their backs. In the case of one of the team members, that meant being barefoot in boxer shorts. (Fortunately, members of two of the other teams donated flip flops and exercise pants).

Remember when “reality television” meant game shows and “Candid Camera?”

Things have definitely changed with programs like “Survivor,” “The Bachelor,” “The Real World” and “Big Brother.” (Although “The Bachelor” is kind of an extended version of “The Dating Game).

But, after a while all these reality shows start blurring together and it’s hard to tell one from the other.

Even network television and non-reality shows have gotten a little mundane. I mean, how many times can “ER” promise the “most surprising ending you’ve ever seen?”

And good television shows like “Law and Order” and “CSI” often take plots from real life events, so they’ve kinda become reality television as well.

Maybe that’s one reason viewers have turned to these “real” shows in droves.

When you toss in some of the other reality television shows, such as “Top Chef,” it seems I watch way too much of other people’s “real” lives, instead of spending much time living my own.

Speaking of “real” life and television, there’s a comparison that could be made with our local governmental meetings.

Attending a Dallas County Commission meeting is like watching “Teletubbies.” (That’s a compliment, by the way. Everything’s gentle, easy-going, peaceful).

Watching a Selma City Council meeting is a little more like watching “The Shield.” (Tough, gritty, sometimes some bad language).

At any rate, I’m going to try to spend less time watching reality television and more time watching reality.

Shouldn’t be too hard. There’s plenty of controversy, drama and high jinks

all around us.

Tammy Leytham is editor of The Times-Journal.