By Sally McGruire
Staff reporter

Rumor has it?  No, no, it’s “Groomer Has It,” the new show on Animal Planet.  Wait, a reality show on Animal Planet?  Who would’ve thought.

Yes, this series is about back-stabbing, drama-filled, competitive dog grooming.  How fascinating.

This brings me to my question for all television watchers: why are people so obsessed with reality television?  Besides the fact that the plain stupidity of it all can make for a petty laugh, what is it about reality TV that draws so many people’s attention?  Are people just so bored with their lives that they watch other people act in foolish ways to feel better about themselves? Whether or not this is the case, please, someone inform me.

I admit that I did watch part of “For the Love of Ray J.”  Ray J. William Raymond Norwood Jr., has made a great start in the music business, producing albums that have sold relatively well.  Now he is looking to settle down with someone and with this dating show he got what he wanted.  After season one, which obviously didn’t work out quite as planned, season two was hence created with 19 new girls for him to choose from.  But now the show has ended and die-hard viewers get to see how long the true love will last this time.

“Flavor of Love,” “I Love New York” and “Rock of Love” all seem quite similar to Ray J’s show.  Dating shows like these especially irk me.  I wonder how much people on those kinds of shows are paid to act the way viewers see them act on television.  If this is the case, what are they really like when they’re behind the scenes where the rest of the world can’t see them?  Is this “reality” really reality?  Shows like these claim to be unscripted, but that little fact may not be 100 percent accurate.

For the people whom I know watch reality television often, their answers are similar for why they partake in viewing.  People enjoy laughing at the idiocy of others, and hearing this makes me think that not everyone who watches these shows is lacking common sense or a brain. Thank goodness. However, watching an episode of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” can supply one with many acts of stupidity for one to think about rather than becoming attached to a whole series.

I appreciate the time and talent put in to making shows like “CSI,” “Law & Order,” “The Office” and medical-type show such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “House.”  There are also some shows like “Dancing with the Stars” and “Punk’d” that are entertaining, but these two are a step ahead of true reality shows: there’s a point to them.  “Dancing with the Stars” is a legitimate competition that can make people believe they have a chance at dancing well, and the crude humor of “Punk’d” and the practical jokes played on those people is funny because of so much dramatic irony. I enjoy these sometimes, but it is rare. My dorm room is lacking an important piece of the puzzle, a TV. This isn’t a problem though.  Both my roommate and I keep ourselves busy with school work, jobs and sports. Watching television isn’t a need for either of us.  Some may say that this is “un-American,” but I say it’s just one less thing that would otherwise keep us distracted from what we need to do.

People could spend their time in a much better way. I’m not saying a little TV everyday is a bad thing, but mowing the lawn, playing with kids, getting procrastinated work done, heck, saving the world should be higher on the to-do lists of some.  Even realizing this, some still choose to simply sit on their behinds and become immersed in TV land.

Watching TV can be insightful, but I still think reality shows are irrational.  Go ahead, watch the show that makes you laugh, but when you start acting like any one of the ignorant, idiotic characters off of “Jersey Shore,” you’ll know it’s rubbing off somehow.

Sally McGuire is a freshman with an undeclared major.  You may e-mail her at sally.mcguire@sckans.edu.