There are certain things about television reality that I can accept, like that nothing ever happens unless it’s moving the story forward (no one goes to the bathroom, has a conversation, or eats unless it’s a scene), or that sidekicks never have ANYTHING going on in their own lives, and are just available for coffee. Also, when you imagine your memories, it’s always from a third-person perspective.
However, there are so many things about television I just refuse to accept as reality. And I cannot understand why the most educated, informed, technologically advanced, wealthiest, and most cultured generation in the HISTORY OF THE WORLD cannot make a television show that does not perpetrate these down-right falsities. I just want a great new show that I can believe, okay people? Just make that show. And put it on Netflix. Right away.
Now, to be fair, not all shows advance all of these distortions of reality. But many do, and some worse than others. The important thing, I think, is to be aware of them. The Bible is very clear that lies are from The Evil One, but that God always tells the “Capital-T” Truth. So take a gander at this list I’ve compiled and let me know if I missed any big ones. And please do not accept these lies that entertainment tells us.
Marriage is a death sentence in television. Marriage is something that you stumble into in a season finale because the actor decided to come back next year. Gone are the Huxtables of yesteryear. Now it’s all about lazy husbands, nagging wives, screaming children, and trying to avoid the inevitable affair (either physical or emotional). Women have to trick men into marrying them, sometimes by pretending to be pregnant. And men totally lose their manhood when they put a ring on it.
Married people on TV are more afraid of “losing themselves” than anything else in the world, and often it seems like the spouses are in a competition to be the most selfish they can possibly be before the other one loses it. And married people are always keeping secrets from each other! Big life-altering things or small “I bought this on an impulse” things – they never tell each other anything. Also married people never have sex and they complain about it all the time, because sex is as important as air or water – it’s essential to life.
2. High School
In what world does high school take place essentially outside, and it’s always sunny and a breezy 67 degrees? Also, your locker is always next to your best friend, everyone looks 25, and there’s no dress code? Answer: every movie and television show ever. High school was a huge disappointment when I realized all our hallways were enclosed structures and we had only 3 minutes between classes.
If college in real life is like it is on TV, then I don’t know why anyone doesn’t go! All they do is hang out with their friends, it’s gorgeous weather all the time, no one cares how much money it is to be there, and classes only happen as an excuse for people to leave a scene. Also it’s all about the Greeks. My college didn’t even have a Greek system. Also it was a dry campus. I basically didn’t go to college.
How do these people afford to eat out so much? I mean, seriously!? And in the Great Recession, I’m sure I’m not the only one who got tired of watching yet another great meal out at a restaurant. Why do you have such a nice kitchen if you eat out for every meal?!! If I had those counters and that dishwasher, I would be all up in that space, making whatever for all the meals of all the days.
Also, surprise! We’re going on a flight right now for a very important purpose that could also be accomplished over the phone because I have so much cash available that I can just fly to Italy. And have zero consequences at my job or home. The dog is fed for the next two weeks. Basically, everyone on TV has an endless pile of money they can just access no problem.
I recently saw this article on Relevant Magazine about 3 Lies Entertainment Tells You About Sex, and they really got it right. But there are even more lies about sex that entertainment tells you, that I can’t even start. Just, every time there is anything said or done about sex, sexuality, porn, stripping, or anything else sex-related, just assume it’s false, cause it is.
6. Gender Roles
Women like shopping, champagne, getting their nails done, and handbags so expensive, they could be mortgaged. They only care about how much men like them, how much money they give them, and men won’t do anything unless she tricks him into doing it. Women are in charge of everything, but have to make men feel like they did something good.
Men are valued for their ability to bring home a paycheck. They like beer, sports, vehicles, noise, and guns. Men are basically animals. They can barely function unless it’s to impress a woman. But boy, do they feel good when they win at something. Women don’t get so distracted by that childish competitive stuff, unless it’s competing against other women: in that sport, we all want the secret gold medal.
7. Hair, makeup, and clothing
Bear with me on this one; I took film classes in college. People on television always dress according to their character, which is fine (I understand the importance of visual cues). What I cannot understand are down-right lies, like women waking up with perfect hair and makeup and the “totally inappropriate for the work-place but somehow they can wear that in the office” outfits. Also, I hate how women’s clothing is often so tight that when they get pregnant and it has to be hidden on the show then it’s a huge ordeal from month 2 and she has to wear parkas and oversize accessories. (Except for Leslie Knope. She’s the bomb.)
Now in all fairness, there are some people in real life who do look that good, but most of us don’t. And none of hang out in jeans; as soon as I get home it’s all about the comfy pants. (Thank you Liz Lemon for showing me I’m not the only one.)
When I went to India four years ago, it was my first time being in a foreign country. Before that my only exposure to foreign anything was either in movies or stories from friends. So, naturally, when I was riding in the back of a taxi to Panaji to go shopping, I half-expected there to be some light Indian-style dance jam in the background of my fun shopping/travel montage, a la Mary-Kate and Ashley. But that didn’t happen. Instead, I just heard conversations and honking horns. And that was actually better.
What is the deal with everyone being all about the pregnant lady on the show, but as soon as that baby comes out, it just disappears, and the mom and dad are available for everything they used to do just like they used to. Nothing’s changed and she’s back in her old clothes! And there are no food stains on anyone’s clothes. Oh, television, you crack me up.
Legal Practice All Jobs
Everyone on TV is paid plenty, no matter what his or her job. They also have tons of time to take naps, get home for dinner, or have long conversations with friends about personal matters. I know that no job is accurately portrayed on television because I’m going to be a lawyer (hopefully) in a year and I’ve been in law offices for years. I know that lawyers do not run to court every ten minutes, solve a case in a week, and the perp doesn’t confess every time! Lawyers on TV never read, do research, write, or have bad client meetings. They are always running from place to place and having productive meetings. No wonder they’re so thin! Yeah, that’s not real life. Also no one’s office is that clean. Ever.
Did I miss any big ones? How much do these lies bug you? Which ones bother you the most?