Saturday, November 13, 2010

sure, it's trashy... but why are we really freaking out about Lake Shore?

everyone is having a goddamned fit about this new "show" Lake Shore.

i've seen the trailer and it's certainly something that i wouldn't like to watch, so i won't watch it. but what about this program is causing such public outrage and furied tweeting/facebooking about how horrifying it is?

there are petitions to stop it from airing, people declaring it's the end of the world, that it signifies some kind of shift, and basically all around pointing to it as something meaningful and new.

but how new is it really? how extra-offensive is it compared to programming that's been airing for years?

my favorite thing right now is seeing my friends who were obsessed with shows like "a shot at love with tila tequila", who watch the "jersey shore", or who consume any number of offensive and trashy reality tv posting articles and videos about Lake Shore like it's different from everything else they've been watching obsessively.

it's not different from those shows. there is ALWAYS race baiting in reality tv, it's one of the factors that keep people going back--to see what outrageous racist, sexist, homophobic thing these idiots will say next. is there really a huge difference between what was on that trailer for Lake Shore and watching the "america's next top model" contestants talk about how they're the best model and most worthy of winning because they're white?????

this article in the toronto star called "pushed into race-bashing" describes how lake shore contestants were pigeonholed into different races and asked to play them up. uh, yeah, duh. the kind of outrageous shit that they do on this show and EVERY reality tv show pushes ratings, are you telling me that on jersey shore they weren't asked to play up their "guido-ness"?? because they most certainly were, because that's how they sell their product.

in shows like "a shot at love with tila tequila" we watched people get wasted out of their minds, fight with one another (verbally and physically), and line up to make out with one person. do we really think that these people weren't asked to be extra dramatic and skeezy for the cameras??
we've been watching the worst of people magnified on television for as long as reality tv has existed.

do people really think that the people on Lake Shore are somehow being taken advantage of? there is a certain kind of person who wants to be on reality tv, for a myriad of reasons, but can we stop pretending that reality tv and documentary are the same thing here, because they really aren't. reality tv shows are about the spectacle, about being the MOST offensive, the MOST disgusting, the MOST caricature, and the people who get on these shows are into that--and they're allowed to be.

so why are we freaking out about Lake Shore? because it's based in toronto? because it's canadian?

remember the reality series "the lofters"? that was based in toronto and it was pretty trashy. that was in the era of hidden camera reality tv, which was always totally creepy but promised to catch people at their worst (or at their most naked).

sure, it's pretty nasty that Lake Shore labels people by their "race"-- the turk, the jew, etc.. but jersey shore already does that and pretty much every reality tv show has people playing into stereotypes about race and race relations.

i think people are going nuts for a lot of reasons, the biggest one being that this show is being produced in toronto and features canadians. long gone are the days where we can feel good about all of the trashiest shows being produced in america and consumed by americans because now we are just as bad (and if you listen to some media outlets, we're WORSE).

this show didn't come out of nowhere, toronto, and pretending that it exists in a vacuum doesn't really do anything except give the show tonnes of media exposure.

if you don't like reality tv, don't watch the show but let's not pretend that we haven't been participating in this exact system happily all of this time.

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