Wednesday, March 16, 2011


My seventeen daughter likes reality shows. 

My daughter likes Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, New York, New Jersey, Atlanta, Tuscaloosa, Tampa, Miami, Des Moines, Beaver Falls, Imperial Beach and Youngstown, Ohio.  She likes Rock Star Wives which is an adventure in talentless women being married to former rhythm guitarists.  She likes Rock of Love which is an adventure in talentless women trying to marry a former rhythm guitarist.   She likes America’s Top Make Over which is an adventure in unattractive women, through a regime of exercise, nutrition and plastic surgery, being turned into America’s Next Top Model which is an adventure in self-involvement.   

She doesn’t like Jersey Shore which she considers pathetic.   

She occasionally likes some pool party from Las Vegas show where waitresses try to chisel tips from shirtless, drunken morons and bouncers try to break up fights.   She likes it when the fighting morons are women.

She used to like The Girls Next Store which was about three Playboy centerfolds living in a mansion, pretending to be an oblivious octogenarian’s harem.  The girls are always going to photo shoots, planning “cute” parties and donating their time to charity.  The octogenarian – okay, Hugh Hefner – “Hef” – is called sweetie.   It is implied that the girls sleep with him.  One is not sure if it’s all at once or one at a time but regardless, you know there’s going to be a ton of make-up on the pillow.   The girls’ parents seem to approve.

How do I know all this?   I know this because I like spending time with my daughter and these days, since being in the same room with her is an event, I watch reality television as well.  

I sputter in disbelief.   I roll my eyes in contempt.   I provide withering commentary.   How can you watch this drivel, I say?   

It’s funny, she says. 

You’re a smart, sensible, self-reliant young woman with aspirations and diverse interests, I say.   The people on these shows are social mutants and materialistic courtesans.    

I don't take it seriously, she says.

I tell her when I was a boy, Playboy was hidden under mattresses.  I tell her I lived through the time when feminists burned their bras.  (If they did, I wasn’t paying attention.)   I tell her the women on these shows don’t even need bras – their breasts are that plastic.  

If you don’t like it, leave the room,, she says.

But I don’t.  It is funny and I'm not taking it seriously and  I’m having too much fun making fun.  

I only hope she is too.


More and more I realize the reason I write this little blog about the enjoyable, and exaggerated indignities of a self-proclaimed “desperate man” - his silly dogs, his work, his family - is because the real world  has become too serious not to.   The newspaper has been a daily companion for forty years.  We share coffee in the morning.  I dislike talking to others before it talks to me.   It makes me sad and it frightens me, what it’s telling me these days.

We all live lives of quiet desperation.

1 comment:

  1. I turned off our TV several decades ago, ostensibly so it wouldn't dumb down my children, but honestly to deal with my addiction to it whenever it was on, whether football or quiz show. (see how long ago?)

    Now we have one in California for Netflix (and I sneak an occasional look at a football game, golf tournament or tennis match) and one without any signal for the same purpose in Vermont.

    I sort of miss it but not much.

    Reading this piece makes me think I might take it up again. If you check my blog you'll see it's not remotely fun or funny like this one, and it may be that I need to watch some mindless women hang out with a senile 80 year old.

    I doubt he has real sex with them. I base that on the personal experience of a man ten years his junior.