Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Real Thing

If Reality TV, and specifically Contest-Type Reality TV, has it's way with America, soon there will be no free time to leave the 63-inch HD set and go to the bathroom. The recent season premieres of several popular shows proves my point. "Tune in to watch the 3-night season premiere of Dancing With The Stars!"

Wow! 3 nights to view the return of a show, followed by the mind-numbing, butt-widening 2-3 nights weekly of the same show, for the next several months.

It's entirely possible, especially with the magic of DVR, to watch reality TV 24 hours a day, on any possible topic your mind could conjure. I'm pretty sure I know some people who are testing that theory, give or take a few side-trips to McDonalds and StuffMart!

We started watching American Idol during the CLAY SHOULD HAVE WON 2nd season. Due to moves and various other activities, we missed episodes and, some years, entire seasons, but still managed to mostly stay in the loop through relatives and entertainment news. We saw Daughtry get booted when he shouldn't have. Tom accurately predicted during auditions that Taylor Hicks would land the top spot. For the life of me, I couldn't tell you the current Idol.

A friend told us about Dancing With The Stars, so we tuned in to that midway through the 2nd season. Waaaay cool, Savannah and I both loved it. It didn't take long, though, for me to start pondering the whole concept of DWTS. Yes, it's a competition, albeit with a cheesy trophy for the winner. Yes, it's fun. Yes, it's beautiful. But many of the other things that it is go directly against who I am as a Christian wife and mother.

If it's true that people are influenced by what they see on TV, (we are - bought anything you've seen advertised on TV lately?) then it stands to reason that might include negative influence. Call me crazy, but it doesn't seem logical to teach my daughter to be ladylike, and then let her watch Cheryl and Drew grind all over each other to "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy". It doesn't make much sense to talk to my boys about respecting women, when the TV set is showing Edyta and Karina's attempts to recover from their costume malfunction.

While a once-in-a-while viewing most likely won't corrupt the kids' minds, a steady diet of skimpy clothing and often overtly sexual dance acts does not reinforce our values, and does nothing to honor God. So, where do I draw the line? What is ok to watch, what is questionable and why, what is a possible learning experience, and what is definitely off limits? It isn't just my kids that need the limits, either. I, like my children, am vulnerable to letting something ungodly impact my life, and therefore affect my relationships. Can I continually watch DWTS, where the women are all put together, have gorgeous bodies, and can turn a man on with their dancing, and not compare myself to that? Probably not. In my head, I KNOW my value is not based on how I look, but society tells me otherwise, and I sometimes fall for that lie.

I do not attempt to shelter my children from all situations that could be construed as negative influence. Children need opportunities to make choices, right or wrong, when consequences are small, to help prepare them for making (hopefully) right decisions when the stakes are higher. I don't tell my children "we shouldn't do THAT" without giving them explanations WHY we shouldn't do whatever it is we're discussing.

I don't think dancing is evil. (If you know how I was raised, you'll find that comical.) Actually, one of my secret (until now!) fantasies has, for years, been for Tom and I to take ballroom dancing lessons. It is beautiful, and extremely sexy. If I could convince him to accompany me, I would put myself through the pain and torture. Not to be on display for other people, but simply for us.

Over the past 2 years, changes in our family lifestyle and budgeting issues have forced us to be out of the house during Primetime Television on many nights. What I've discovered - well, it hasn't been so much of a discovery as it has been a confirmation - is that we're just plain not missing all that much.

So while I appreciate the offer, ABC, I'm going to have to pass on this "Television Event of the Season". Your reality is just So. Not. Mine.


Grandy said...

I can't keep up with any of it, so I don't even try. I have seen a few DWTS, and enjoy it, but can never be in the same place at the same time every week. I think if I tried to Tivo it...the boys would blacklist me. ;)

The Mother said...

Hubby and I took ballroom dancing lessons. It is, indeed sexy.

You do have to keep it up to not lose it.

Don't watch reality TV. It conflicts with my family's values--intelligence and reason.

(Except cooking shows. We watch cooking shows. Sue me.)