If it was meant to be a passing fancy, it shows no sign of abatement. In fact, "reality" television seems to be seeping out of every crack and crevice on the tube these days. Hollywood is satisfying audiences' desire for extravagant new setups that create the prerequisite audacious buzz.
Some of these shows sound worse than they really are. The A&E cable channel aired "God or the Girl," about the struggle of four young Catholic men as to whether they will join the priesthood. It sounded like the typically obnoxious Hollywood offering. It was expected that producers would throw loose women in young men's paths, tempting them out of a lifetime of religious service when new priests are too scarce. The reality of the show as it has unfolded is that it has been much more respectful: Even some church officials welcomed the idea of giving the struggle over priestly vocations such a high profile. That's amazing, considering the executive producer also delivered Penn and Teller's sulfurously bigoted "B.S." show for Showtime.
Others are awful, because they are going to be awful. The New York Post reports Fox is preparing a show out of the porn industry titled "My Bare Lady," which "will take female performers from American adult films and cast them in a classic stage drama to be performed in London's West End." They call it a story of "redemption." Only Fox Entertainment can find redemption in garbage like this.
The current king of bad "reality" TV concepts has to be MTV, with dreadful shows like "Date My Mom," where a young man dates three mothers first to figure out which daughter he wants to date. But one real stinker of a show is called "My Super Sweet 16," in which extravagantly rich and bratty teenagers are awarded lavish 16th birthday parties from their embarrassingly servile parents, who ought to be too ashamed to show their faces on television, except shame for them is an entirely foreign concept.
It goes without saying that teenagers in general today are generally wealthier, heavier, lazier, and often times sleazier. MTV's "Sweet 16" preys on this sloth and delivers role models for it. After watching these punks gorge themselves on conspicuous consumption, children watching probably want to emulate them, while their parents, if they watch, would want to slap these brats into the next zip code.