After 20 years at the University of Oregon, I have retired. So, I will begin posting about my new experiences here and hope you find them interesting.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Phony Drama on "Reality" TV Bad for America's Image and Promotes Poor Behavior

This morning I read an article by Stacy Johnson, Why House Hunters Shouldn’t Watch HGTV’s ‘House Hunters’ and the followup piece, pointing out that HGTV's House Hunters is pretty much a total fake.  Stacy essentially received confirmation in a fluffy PR-kind of way from HGTV admitting that the buyers portrayed on the show were "pretty far along" (as in already in escrow!) in the house buying process and the network "recreates" their decision process by filming them considering two other houses that, of course, they have no intention of purchasing since they were already committed to a house before the filming even began.

 From reading the comments from other visitors to Stacy's article, I gather the general consensus was viewers at least get to see other homes in the featured locale and can enjoy trying to figure out which house the couple actually bought so no real harm is done and most viewers find the show at least entertaining.  But I find other so-called reality shows far less innocuous.

I posted:

"I'm not at all surprised (that House Hunters is faked) considering the production values of so-called 'reality" shows. House Hunters is at least entertaining and doesn't attempt to create "fake" drama by introducing artificial deadlines, fights between employees and fake firings like those that occur on such shows as American Chopper, Ax Men, West Coast Customs and more recently, Saw Dogs. The week they premièred Saw Dogs, West Coast Customs had a staged scene on their show where the automotive refurbishing crew were on a "fake" tight deadline and one of the main designers decided he was getting too stressed out and needed to blow off steam so he takes off on a 4-wheeler to rip up some nearby countryside. Then, a few hours later when Saw Dogs came on, the wood carvers had a "fake" tight deadline and one of the "clumsy" newbies "accidentally" knocked the head off the eagle sculpture and felt so bad about it they had to blow off steam and take off on a 4-wheeler to rip up some nearby countryside. With those two episodes of two different shows just a couple of hours apart, it really spotlighted the total phony nature of both shows. The thing I worry about with these types of phony stagings, is that young people will assume the behavior they see is actually how real employees act and real companies operate since they have little experience to make an informed judgement. Professionals do not act like spoiled children in the workplace or, hopefully, anywhere else."

I strongly feel that these shows cheapen legitimate occupations and consistently set an extremely bad example for our young people and future work force.  If an employee of one of the real automakers acted like someone in one of these reality shows, I would hope they would be down the road so fast it would make their head spin, especially in this economy where good-paying steady jobs are so sought after by literally millions that are currently out of work.  Glamorizing atrocious management or outrageous employee behavior is not only NOT entertaining, it is detrimental to America's image both at home and abroad and in a global marketplace that is nothing to take lightly.  Would you want to buy an American car and place your family's safety in the hands of employees who behave as irresponsibly as those you see on American television?
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