Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Dose of True Reality

Let me start by saying I hate most reality shows. Give me actors and scripts and a plot any day. I don't want to watch people dividing into groups and plotting against each other to win a case of bananas, nor do I want to see twenty women dating one man at the same time, or people doing humiliating things to win the approval of a celebrity. Some shows may be entertaining but once the concept took off, you gotta admit they went too far. Now it is reality show after reality show on television.

I would like to see a follow up to the "Extreme Home Makeover Home Edition" show. You know the one where they take the rundown average home of the modest income family and bulldoze it to replace it with a mansion with a refrigerator the size of a walk in closet and a big screen TV in every room. After that first year when everything is paid for I want to see what the family does when faced with their first $800 electric bill. Does the family huddle in three rooms to save energy or do they start charging the neighborhood kids admission to use the go-cart track in the backyard?

There is another series of shows where they dress fat people in spandex and sports bras and yell at them. I watched one the other day. While oddly fascinating I could only handle about ten minutes of it. It's a very strange concept.

It was while pondering this show that I came up with an idea for a new show that may be helpful to us as a nation. They had a show where they picked people who may not have been able to afford cosmetic surgery and gave them nose jobs and new breasts and fixed their teeth. Let's get away from the vanity and just allow some people basic health care.

The show opens and you see a day in the life of a waitress, a taxi driver, a part-time bank teller, a temporary factory worker, and a cashier. You see the job they do and then catch a glimpse of their paycheck. They talk about their life at work and their aches and pains and what it is like to live their life, and then the interviewer surprises them with a trip to the hospital and complete health care. They get problems corrected, and learn what pains they have been ignoring out of necessity are symptoms of. Treatment is given to those on the show and America gets a glimpse of their neighbors lives and possibly gains a better understanding of how others get by.

We need a better understanding of the health care situation. We need more compassion, and perhaps a dose of reality.


  1. I too think compassion seems to be missing from a lot of the dialogue in our country.

    I have had health insurance for nearly every day of my life, but have family members not as lucky.

  2. Bucksome, thanks for stopping by! I miss compassion and patience. Hardly anyone has these two qualities anymore.

  3. My personal daydream for your show:
    Cast the perfect host as Barbara Ehrenreich (the woman who wrote Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.)
    Sort of make it a working class version of "Queen for a Day."
    After the show's been on a season or two, they could do "let's revisit" episodes, to show how getting decent health care has made folks more productive, employable and happy.

  4. I read a while back (can't remember when) that many of the people who received homes as part of Extreme Makeover - Home Edition ended up in deep financial trouble because they couldn't sustain the cost of maintenance. Wouldn't it have been better to give them homes whose ongoing affordability was tailored to their income?

    I enjoy reading your blog and wish you and your family the best.

  5. Excellent, excellent post. Just superb!

  6. Linuxnewbie, I love it..."Healthy for a Day."

    Frugal zeitgeist, I read something along those lines too. I was flipping channels the other day and caught them bulldozing a 150 year old house. They just have to bulldoze for ratings I suppose. Thank you, :)

    April, thank you too!

  7. The only updates I have seen with extreme home makeover are one when the the family get's into debt again or they lose their job and then can't take care of the house... I would say I have come across a handful of them like that.

  8. Dawn, I'm going to have to do an internet search to see if there are any good follow up stories about that show. Perhaps that's why they have never done a follow up show themselves.

  9. We have all manner of 'reality' shows over here in the UK ... I do not watch any (do not have a telly) but read about them in the papers. It looks as if one of the objectives of them is to make some of the participants feel bad about themselves ... shaking my head here ... is everyone so desperate for their 15 minutes of fame? Anne in Cambridge