Is Reality TV the new “American Dream?”

Jan 13, 2011 @ 12:08 pm | By TheFeministGriote | 1 Comment

…”Cause ain’t no tuition for havin no ambition And ain’t no loans for sittin your ass at home So we forced to sell crack ,rap, and get a job”… Kanye West from the song “We don’t Care”

As an unemployed American I have realized that there is so much writing, reading, and tweeting that one can do to fill up the day when you are not applying for jobs. Like many Americans television is a past time of mine a form of escapism and as much as I would rather watch MSNBC or Law & Order SVU all day I do get sucked into watching ‘reality tv.’ I love pop-culture, but I do caution anyone that too much ‘reality tv’ may actually be detrimental to one’s mind and perception of reality. I watched the season premiere episode of “The Jersey Shore,” as I sat there on the couch with my macbook on my lap I realized that reality tv is the new “American Dream!”

I read an article that was written by Richard Vedder for  The Chronicle it is titled “Why did 17 million students go to college?” and the article stated that 5,057 janitors in the US have Ph.D’s or other  professional degrees over 317,00 waiters/waitresses have college degrees along with 80,000 bartenders. As an English Literature major I found the article very depressing. The recession has forced many people to seek higher education. No one wants to face the big bad recession so every one is running to their nearest institution of higher learning to either get an undergraduate degree or get into a master’s program. On the other side of that equation there is a huge shift in our society. Many 20-somethings instead of applying for internships or colleges they’re foregoing the traditional road to success and have instead started applying to networks for various reality shows. I know several friends who have auditioned to be on ‘reality tv’. I pride myself on privacy having a twitter and facebook account is evasive enough for me, I would not be able to handle public scrutiny and being human on television, but I can definitely see the appeal which is the money!

Mike Sorrentino pka ‘The Situation’ from the show “The Jersey Shore” made $5 million dollars in 2010. I remember watching the first initial season of “The Jersey Shore” when it was still pretty unknown and I never could have fathom that it would turn into what it has morphed into presently. ‘The Situation’ makes $60k per episode according to and of course he gets income from doing appearances and endorsing products. With one episode ‘The Situation’ can satisfy my deferred student loan that I will probably be paying for well into my middle age. When the “The Hills” was on the air Heidi Montag and her husband Spencer Pratt made $65k per episode. The appeal of ‘reality tv’ is that you do need to have a talent. One does not need acting abilities nor do you need to be drop dead gorgeous. All you need is confidence and as long as you don’t mind being a caricature or a token then you are on your way to super stardom and quite possibly a stint on the show “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” if your new fame becomes too much for you.

America is a country where we automatically root for the underdog like the most recent Ted Williams the homeless man with the “golden voice,” who is now being sought after by every major network, but its hard to root for the likes of the Jersey Shore who all they the do is party, drink, smush (casual sex), fight, and classify women as grenades, dtf (down to f*ck), landmines, or hippo’s. While the cast of “The Jersey Shore” is living it up many newly college graduates are forced to work in retail, work minimum wage jobs, or not work at all due to the market being over saturated with quality applicants. The American dream has evolved. You can become rich from a “leaked” sex tape or sleeping with a high profiled married man. There seems to be many shortcuts being taken when it comes to realizing the “American Dream.” America is the land of opportunity, but as of late I am questioning who are the true beneficiaries of that opportunity.

What do you think is reality tv the new American Dream?

Categories: Mind Over Chatter

One Response to “ Is Reality TV the new “American Dream?” ”

  1. I have to admit it, I love watching some of those reality TV shows. It’s like a train wreck, I just can’t look away. Maybe it makes us all feel more normal to see how crazy other people are? But I’ve decided it’s time to start looking away from these train wrecks. I need to stop giving these shows ratings.

    There are real life American heroes like Daniel Hernandez and Dorwan Stoddard who put their lives on the line to save others. That’s the reality that deserves my attention.

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