Sarah Palin’s Alaska Offers Nothing New to Reality Television Genre11.16.10
While channel surfing during the breaks in Philadelphia’s total annihilation of the Washington Redskins Monday night, I caught a scene from Sarah Palin’s Alaska, the former governor’s new reality show on TLC.
Aside from the fact that the lead is a former vice presidential nominee, it seemed like pretty much every other reality show based on the lives of a family that’s ever been on TV.
That is to say, it was nothing new.
If you’ve seen The Osbournes, Hogan Knows Best, or Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels, then you know what you’re in for with Alaska — goofy musical cues, confessionals where Sarah talks directly to the camera, and carefully edited “reality” to make real life entertaining enough for television. Just the same ole vapid, mindless “entertainment” that TV producers have sculpted into an easily recognizable formula of pure, hypnotizing brain-rot.
The main difference, of course, is that the star of this reality show is generally considered to be the likely Republican nomination for president in the upcoming election of 2012.
Not that politicians can’t be celebrities prior to their civic office. Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, Bill Bradley all had careers in front of the camera one way or another before donning suits and dealing with budgets, legislatures, and all the rest that comes with governance.
Of course, the most influential and successful of that bunch, Reagan, had quite a period of time between being a movie star and running for president, spending time honing his skills first as the head of the actors’ union and then becoming the governor of California before setting his sights for the presidency — not strolling about her house making jokes about how boys aren’t allowed upstairs with her daughter unsupervised, as if the whole Bristol having a baby as a teenager never happened or something.
It’s hard for me to take someone seriously as an honest candidate for the presidency, the highest public office in the nation, when that person is spending her time play-acting for a reality TV show and perpetuating her fantasy world when she should be continuing to learn, grow, and practice her governing aptitude by holding some sort of public office. Even more absurd to me, though, are any people who would vote for her should she decide to run.
For my money, Palin has found her calling: she gets paid to live in the fantasy world she had already created in her head where anything she says gets accepted as fact and now she knows that millions of people across the globe are turning in to watch her every move.
Let’s actually hope the ratings go so high that she can’t bring herself to leave the TLC cash cow for the measly $400k a year in the White House.