I use to watch a lot of television. I must admit, my sister and I would always argue over who got to hold the remote, what shows we would watch, what shows to skip to during the commercials of three other shows we were already in to. Between comedies, cartoons, and soaps. My favourites during elementary school were Family Matters, Home Improvement and Student Bodies; she loved those talk shows like Rosie O’Donnell, and also loved the evil Passions soap. As we grew up however, our interests shifted and we would watch the later shows of celebrity shows like ET, sitcoms like Friends, and reality shows like the oh so popular Survivor.
About two years ago, I really began to pass off watching television. I was too focused on my homework and student council work that I didn’t have time for meaningless shows, although I wish I could just sit and indulge in the all that entertainment. I spent my last year without almost any television because all I had was a TV with a built-in VCR and Playstation that could play DVD’s. So this became my entertainment. Work would be over and I would go home and watch movies. I spent a lot of money on previously viewed Blockbuster films. I bought around 40-50 movies in one year! But I’m getting a bit off topic here.
What I want to tell you, is that all I really watch on television now is Prison Break. The family that I’m living with likes NCIS and The Unit. So I’ve begun to watch these shows off and on as well, but that’s about it. I can’t stand reality shows like Survivor, those Celebrity Dancing shows, Deal or No Deal… hmm… to be honest, I was about to write a big list of similar shows, but I really have no idea what other big money-spending shows are out there now.
First of all, I find them all pretty cheesy. But second, I look at the elaborate set of Deal or No Deal. I look at ol’ Howie Mandel and all his gorgeous female helpers and the cash that they probably rake in each episode. I look at all the money that is represented by all those silver brief cases. And in turn, all the money that is forked out to contestants every night that the show is aired. Think about all that cash. And where is it going? Who is it going to? Are we not helping to pay them by watching the show? For that hour, they are told how many viewers they had, and that determines how much money is printed on the TV stars pay checks.
Am I naïve or too cliché to raise your attention to all the people that don’t have anything close to that much money. People over-seas, people without homes, people in your own community, in your neighbourhood? I know we hear this all the time, ‘how can you spend your money on that while there are children dying in Africa?’ And it is just as applicable in this circumstance. To answer the question of who the cash is going out to each night on the game shows; to someone who probably doesn’t really need it. Did they pull the contestants off the streets, from a destroyed home in New Orleans, from a house fire that took all their possessions including their dear family members? Probably not. I don’t want to generalize, but I can only assume that if you can get on a show like Deal or No Deal, you’re probably already doing fairly well financially. I am still guilty though. I switch on the tube and watch some shows that may not be as bad as some like Amazing Race, Miami Ink, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition or like I said, Prison Break. But still, a lot of unnecessary money has been invested into these shows, and we just make entertainment out of it. But I’m doing my best to limit myself to what I support on the television. Think about the shows you watch… are they worthwhile? Do they challenge you with how you live your life? Do you gain anything positive from them? Are you supporting a show you probably shouldn’t? And don't just try to cover it up to impress me, be honest with yourself, seriously ask yourself these questions when you're deciding what to watch on the television. Are you really just wasting hours each evening? The O.C.? 24? Prison Break? Laguna Beach? MTV? Simpson’s? Deal or No Deal? American Idol? Think about what you are filling your mind with, and what you are supporting.