Irksome Phrase, Part 2: ‘Reality TV’ has joined the club

Time for an admission. I watch an occasional “reality TV” show, even though I find it astonishing that contemporary culture has adopted the term in the first place.

There’s nothing real about “reality TV.”

What was the first one? I believe it was “Survivor,” correct? CBS TV launched this “reality” series that features individuals being “stranded” in some out of the way place, having to fend for themselves. They get voted out by their colleagues, I suppose, for not doing what they’re supposed to do to stay in the game.

I’ve never watched a single episode of this “reality TV” series. I’m going on what I have heard and read about it.

The roster of “reality TV” shows has too numerous to count.

I do watch “The Voice.” Why? Well, I enjoy the banter among the judges and I certainly enjoy watching the unknown talents competing for the title of being “The Voice” champion.

But this whole notion of “reality TV” is among the greatest misnomers I can imagine. The one where contestants race around the world against each other is kind of fun. I won’t watch the show where the contestants are enclosed in a room with the camera watching over them.

And all those “Real Housewives” series on Bravo? Puh-leeease!

I understand the economics of this type of programming. Networks pay these individuals far less than they pay established film and TV stars. The reduced overhead makes “reality TV” shows more affordable. So, I get that part of it.

What I don’t quite get is why the networks call it “reality TV.”

Those “Survivor” contestants aren’t going to be allowed to starve to death, or face wild animals, or have to cope with disease-carrying insects. The TV production crews are standing by to assist them.

Is any of that a form of reality?

I do not think so.

The very term “reality TV” simply irks me.

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