Tales From the Hilltop
An intelligent, yet Devil's Advocate view of the world

Episode Eight: Pro Wrestling – The “realest” thing on TV

Authenticity….what a joke of a concept these days. Especially on TV.

As human beings, the majority of us go though real life everyday. In our jobs, in our relationships, in our life-changing experiences. (i.e. puberty, parenthood, death) The invention of television helped to take some pressure away from that an give us avenues to where our minds could drift away from nine-to-fives, electric bills, and what’s for dinner. However, with this, we also put standards on the shows networks decide to air. While wanting our real lives to drift away slightly while we were being captivated, we also wanted our TV programs (unless they were cartoons, then all bets are off) to have a sense of reality to them.

Unfortunately, the word “reality” seems to be marred by the concept of “entertainment”.

Let us not forget, that above all, television programs – with exception of the news – are meant to entertain the masses. The issue is that there is a now dwindling number of folks who still seem to know the difference of what TV is to us, and what it’s supposed to do for us, which is simply entertain. A lot more people than you think actually take these shows, programs, and events seriously, to the point where it’s taken more serious than the very lives they lead. Of course, network executives have seen this, and have capitalized on exploiting the fantasies of the rich, poor, ignorant, and intelligent alike. The sad thing is that it seems to be working like a charm.

Take a look at the majority of the shows now featured at the peak hours most people watch TV. Starting with prime time hours, 8-10 PM, networks have flooded them with pseudo-reality contest shows, with inane premises, the patriarch of this being “Survivor.” In Survivor’s case, I can give them a pass; at least they acknowledge their show was nothing more than a game. But when shows started becoming contest and involving real human emotions is when it became out-of-hand. I don’t know about you, but I have a very hard time believing any self-respecting female is truly willing to scratch, cuss out, and fight for the love of either Flava Flav, Brett Michaels, or Ray J, or gentlemen trying to tear each other apart for New York without them having ulterior motives for themselves. I find it funny that the network putting this drivel on, vh1, thinks we’re that naive to believe that in the end, the host will have narrowed their choice down to one lucky winner, to which they will live happily ever after….until the next season of the show comes on.

Then you have the dreaded music videos. OK, we all know these are strictly fabricated to tease us. But the majority people’s gripe, especially with one network in particular – the now hated Black Embarrassment Television – is that these videos have lost their artistry. Most of the video realm that is shown on this network is the same old format: Thugs throwing money into the camera, with half-naked women on bed behind them, or a gang of guys at a strip club throwing money at women, who seemingly swoon over them while pouring Nuvo, or Alize, or Ace of Spades on them. This wouldn’t be outrageous enough if the youth, who these videos especially tailor to, can’t stop watching it and honestly think that is the lifestyle of these artists.

So, after all the phony reality shows, misleading videos, what do you have left? Sports. Now, what could be fabricated about sports? I mean, sports is the ultimate venue of competition, a showcase of skill, will, speed, power, and courage all rolled into a three-hour time block. Then again, with the overwhelming cases of steroids that have cast baseball in the black hole it sits in now, the referee scandals of point-shaving and favoritism leading to certain teams winning titles in basketball, and the filtering of contact not only on quarterbacks, but what seems like everyone in football, exactly what seems to be authentic about sports anymore? I would give hockey some credit, but let’s be honest; no one watches hockey other than people in Detroit and Canada.

So, now that leads me back to my title: pro wrestling. Here we have sweaty men and women squaring off in a ring to pin one another though obviously simulated violence, almost made to look like a dance, except people occasionally get hit by chairs and fly off of top ropes. So, why, does this seem any more real then everything on TV? In hindsight, it doesn’t. Wrestling – just as everything not new related – was only built to entertain. But it stayed true to the format that brought to national attention. Wrestling never went though glorious makeovers, or re-vamped formats. It got pyrotechnics added to it, but for the most, it is what it is: sweaty people fake fighting it out (which occasionally, someone breaks a leg for real real) and riles up the masses. No one really feels cheated having seen guys fly 30 feet in the air onto a set a tables to punish their adversaries, not even in the WWE, where it’s gotten really watered-down over the years.

But then again, if wrestling is the realest thing on TV, then people, just stick to the real world for “authentic” and let TV do what it’s supposed to do…entertain. It’s not going to get any realer than this, I guarantee you.

12/3/2009

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One Response to “Episode Eight: Pro Wrestling – The “realest” thing on TV”

  1. way to defend a claim you’ve been pushing for years. but doesn’t wrestling simulate human emotion as much as the Flavor of Loves and For the love of Ray J. I coulda swore Triple H married his arch nemesis’s daughter and had to “act” like he hated his father and brother in-laws. Was that not simulated emotion??


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