Outside of the In-Crowd – Now that people are dead, can we finally reject reality TV?

Courtney Enlow

Courtney Enlow

Sunday night, Ryan Jenkins was found dead in a hotel room, having most likely killed himself after murdering his swimsuit model wife and mutilating her body.

This story is completely horrific on its own, but it’s found its way into international news due to the fact that this sadistic, evil piece of shit was a contestant on the VH1 show Megan Wants A Millionaire.

Like the Nancy Grace be-fascinated part of the problem I am, I’ve been following this story since it broke (Google for the details, but be warned, it’s completely effed). I’ve been disgusted by this man’s actions against this woman. I’ve been saddened by the fact that yet another woman, obviously desperate for love etc., gave herself to a man who abused her without ever walking away. I’ve been many things … but I’ve never been shocked.

How many of us watch shows like this, completely entranced by the obviously unstable contestants and stars? It’s so easy to find these people hilarious, the fun kind of crazy. We’re so jaded to “reality” television being quote-unquote reality that we never believe that any of it’s real. But what if these people aren’t acting?

I have a theory that not a single reality show personality is the slightest bit mentally sound or healthy. Not a one. Each and every one of them is so desperate for money or fame or attention that they will do whatever it takes. And it works. We have helped all of these horrible heinous individuals right into their mansions and handbag deals. Which is all well and good and annoying, but we have yet to see the ramifications of all this. The reality show boom may have started in the 90s, but the famewhore boom is still young, and we haven’t seen a true burn-out yet. Paris Hilton, those Kardashian people, Tori Spelling and her husband, those Hills twats, they’re still riding the wave. But at some point, we will get distracted by some new pop cultural shiny thing and move on and they will be nothing. And that’s when things might get scary.

We’ve seen how these people have fought for fame so far. Anyone who will release footage of their vaginas being penetrated probably aren’t the most scrupulous people on the planet, and Paris Hilton taught us that sex tapes are merely the tip of the whoreberg. We’re watching as Jon and Kate completely destroy their children’s lives on a daily basis. The day is coming where Spencer actually lights Heidi on fire for the cameras. And you can’t tell me that creepy foot fetish guy on The Bachelorette doesn’t have bodies stacked in his basement.

We lap up every ounce of this. We watch as steroid-filled, spiky-haired douchechills and orange anorexic bimbos with Adderall dependencies throw themselves at the chance to be on TV. The prospect of a person going on reality shows to find fame is scary enough, but it’s even scarier to think that they’re really after love. But the latter is what audiences pull for.

Megan Wants A Millionaire featured Megan Houserman, star of Rock of Love 2, I Love Money and Charm School. She’s hideously annoying and only wears bikinis and has a retarded chihuahua. That’s literally all you need to know about her. Her own personal Flavor of Love (I bet it tastes like Sun-In, Alli poo and tanning oil) was to feature her as she looked for a man to let her be his trophy wife.

Now let’s stop there before things get murdery, because it’s really bad enough. I need to get my own prejudice out of the way here – I hate anyone whose personal mission is to be a trophy wife. If you’re reading this (and I suppose I should applaud you for attempting to read the big words), you’re an idiot and completely worthless, and how dare you celebrate the fact that you’re such a pointless waste of life, unable to function on your own, that you need a man to give you allowance for purses and spray tan. Now that I have that out of the way, we’ll move on.

I love VH1. They have a complete life pass for the I Love The series as far as I’m concerned, and dammit if I didn’t love that Adrienne Curry/Peter Brady program. So for this reason, I will point out that they were not producing MWAM. A separate company was making the show, so this company is responsible for their dropping the world’s biggest ball on those background checks.

But did they? I mean, I would imagine that reality show background checks have to be the most vague perfunctory things in the world. “Let’s make sure no one’s killed anyone yet, but we NEED crazy.” It’s not like they do proper psychiatric evaluations on every contestant, because all of them would get stamped with a big red “this bitch is loony” all over their foreheads, and there would be no show. And maybe that’s the best thing.

Look, as I said before, I’m part of the problem. I kind of love these shitshows. I watched all of Rock of Love, the first two Flavor of Loves, I Love Money and I would probably give up my commemorative travel spoon collection (that I don’t have) to bring Surreal Life back. But I would give all these shows up to stop the crazy.

We don’t need American Idol to find great singers. We don’t need Jon and Kate to show us how to raise kids. We don’t need America’s Got Talent to keep The Hoff off the wagon. So let’s just stop. Because seriously, if Heidi and Spencer, in an effort to get a spinoff, actually reproduce, we’re all fucked.

Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at courtney@hobotrashcan.com.

  1. CourtsDad August 24, 2009
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