Jesus Watches ‘Jersey Shore’

November 21, 2011

I want to know who invented reality TV.

I would shake that man’s hand…and then while I’ve got one of his hands, I’d punch him in the throat.

I can’t stand reality TV, with few exceptions.  If your reality TV show is on the History or Discovery channels, there is a better chance I’ll like your show.

But for the most part, reality TV is the bane of my existence.  It’s like roadkill.  It just pops into my field of vision and I can’t avert my eyes quickly enough to keep them from being permanently damaged.

It makes me wonder if Jesus would be a fan of reality TV.

A Thousand Tabloid Magazines

A typical episode of reality TV is like a thousand tabloid magazines, liquefied and pumped into your brain in audio-visual format.  It’s a highly concentrated dose of idiocy, and like hard liquor, probably kills thousands of brain cells.

There’s the lighter fare, stuff like The X Factor, American Idol, or The Amazing Race.  These are largely harmless, recreational shows.  But they can be gateways for harder reality shows.  And there are hundreds to choose from.  Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood, Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, The Girls Next Door, Ice Loves Coco, The Bachelorette, Big Brother, and the crack cocaine of all reality TV: Jersey Shore.

Tell me: why is Atlanta a hotbed of housewife drama?  Why does anyone care about what one terrible mother is doing to exploit her three talentless daughters?

A Flaming Bag of Dog Poop

Reality TV is a theater of the absurd.  Some people like to peek in, like voyeurs, into the ridiculous lives, the petty dramas, the pathetic problems of self-important people.  It is the absolute bottom of the cultural food chain, like a flaming bag of dog poop on your TV.  After just thirty seconds of reality TV, I find myself despairing of life and close to a mental breakdown.  This is why the founding fathers didn’t want everyone to be able to vote.

It’s a formula that works.  Even shows which should be pretty straightforward dip into the idiot drama department.  American Chopper should be about a bunch of grown men building amazing motorcycles.  Instead, American Chopper is about a bunch of grown men acting like spoiled, whiny, prima donna princesses…while building amazing motorcycles.  The guys look masculine…but they couldn’t be less masculine.

And while I can’t help but change the channel as quickly as possible, I realized that if there’s one reality TV fan, it’s Jesus.

Jesus Watches ‘Jersey Shore’

Jesus gets to see a lot of great things.  He sees every sunrise, every child being born.  He sees miracles every day.  He also watches every episode of Jersey Shore.  While I look away, you’re not going to find a bigger fan of reality TV than Jesus.

I guess it kind of goes with being omnipotent.

But there is another reality show that I’ve largely tried to block out.  I’ve tried to forget and erase and ignore huge episodes of my own reality show.  There are plenty of shameful episodes in my life that would’ve made great TV.  They would’ve been ratings killers.  And I hate them.

And Jesus hasn’t missed an episode.

Jesus hasn’t changed the channel.  He hasn’t pushed the ‘mute’ button.  He hasn’t thrown the remote at the TV in disgust.  He’s just watched, faithfully for thousands of episodes of my life.

Jesus is the biggest fan of reality.  Your reality, my reality, Snooki’s reality.  The things that we can’t stand about ourselves, Jesus can stand.  All the dark episodes of human drama, Jesus was there.

I’m thankful for that.  No matter how bad my show gets, or how low the ratings are, someone is watching and pulling for me.

I hope you each have a fantastic Thanksgiving.  I’ll be taking the rest of the week off and returning next Monday.  Just as a fun send-off for the rest of the week, tell me what, if any reality TV you watch!

25 responses to Jesus Watches ‘Jersey Shore’

  1. Great piece! What scares me is not only does Jesus watch the Jersey Shore, it is that Jesus knows when I am watching the Jersey Shore…

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Hi Matt,

    Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

    I really like your line: “Jesus hasn’t changed the channel. He hasn’t pushed the ‘mute’ button. He hasn’t thrown the remote at the TV in disgust. He’s just watched, faithfully for thousands of episodes of my life”.

    I don’t watch reality tv, I live it.


  3. I believe it all started with Cops. An then the show in the ER with the guy who had a knife stuck in his brain. It was real, but is sure set a standard – kinda jumped the shark!

    I still watch Cops once in awhile and catch an episode of AFV or Most Shocking videos. Oh and Sons of Guns was OK – but a lot dysfunction along with blowing up stuff.

    But I have a question, if they play a real clip over and and over is it still reality?

    Happy Thanksgiving, Matt!

  4. I’m sure Jesus must fall asleep watching the reality tv of my life. But, I have my moments. This was a good read. Lots of food for thought. :) Happy Thanksgiving.

  5. My wife and I like “What Not to Wear” …so much good stuff to learn about psychology and style, modesty and respect, clothing choices and life direction. So that’s one reality show–of course, is it really reality to have $5,000 to spend on a few clothing options?–I enjoy.

    And, yes, I’m glad Christ is cheering me on as my own little reality show plays out. Great way to think about it. Thanks, Matt!


  6. Since all our TV reception must arrive via the antenna on the roof (remember those?), we don’t get many options. We watched a couple of seasons of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (does that count as reality TV?), got bored, and now I don’t watch any reality shows. In fact, except for a random football game once or twice a season, I don’t watch TV at all.

    Real life has more than enough drama for me… and I’m so glad Jesus is tuned in. That’s something well worth keeping in mind.

  7. Nice post. I like your take! No amount of money would tempt me to have my life on the tube, and we’re pretty tame! I’m not strong enough to take that kind of scrutiny. Over the years, I’ve watched all kinds of reality TV. It sucks me in and then I feel like my brain has been mulched!

  8. Thank you Matt. This really made me think again about really loving the people we see on TV.

    Early on in the school year I had a student tell me that his favorite memory was the day Jersey Shore started airing on TV. He’s a 7th grader. But my reaction should be to love him and the people caught in sin on the “reality” shows.

    That’s what He does.

    Thanks again.

  9. Awesome blog. The only thing worse than making my life a reality show would be to make my thought life a reality show. And yet, Jesus has to watch THAT too. (shudder)

    I have never been a fan of reality TV. QIt seems to much like a modern day version of the colosseum games involving lions chewing up Christians and other unfortunates. It also gives me a false sense of superiority, which is something I definitely do not need.

    We have watched “The Amazing Race” in the past and I have enjoyed it because it really is about teams doing their best and not about messing up other teams. And I like seeing the world.

  10. We like the Amazing Race, but even that tempts me to judge based on how the contestants treat each other and the locals. That’s why I keep my reality show viewing to a minimum, lest my own reality show become long scenes of me judging the “stars” of other shows. Meta,but still wrong.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. My reality show isin my house, my neighborhood, my church, my grocery store, my little town. Sheez, with all that reality (drama) I don’t have time to watch other’s.

  12. I was going to say, Thank heaven I have never seen an episode of “reality” TV. But then I remembered I once stumbled into American Chopper and watched to the end. You’re right; it’s probably no better than all the others I’ve not seen. Except for the bikes!

    Hope you have, or had, a blessed Thanksgiving.

  13. I’m with you on reality tv. I used to enjoy Deadliest Catch, but dang, those guys have turned into a bunch of drama queens. Pawn Stars, Swamp People. You can have the rest. As for American Chopper, that’s just a very sad situation made sadder with the addition of cameras.

    My exposure to Jersey Shore is limited to commentary made by Beavis & Butthead, who sum up the show rather nicely I think.

  14. Hey Matt thanks I am always in the market for a new way to use “flaming bag of dog poop” in a comparison. This use is dead on. I despise reality tv. For one IT’S NOT REAL. That’s not real life to me. It’s a train wreck with a pompador hairdo.

  15. Two reasons why reality TV is so popular:

    1) It’s cheaper than hiring writers.

    2) It satisfies our need to feel smug about ourselves, which I think can be an even stronger drive than hunger or sex.

    Think about it–there was probably a guy walking out of a play in ancient Greece telling himself “Whew; at least I’M not as messed-up as that Oedipus dude.”

    I have to admit that the only reality shows I’ve really followed have been the historical-reenactment ones that they’ve done on PBS–like “1900 House” and “Regency House Party”. It was kind of sad that even those ones weren’t totally immune from manufactured “drama.”

  16. Yeah, Matt, I really appreciate the History Channel. I especially enjoy their weekend “Ancient Alien” marathons. Until I watched a couple of those, I didn’t realize the tons of ancient civilizations out there who could not possibly have done what they did without Space Alien intervention. Yup, that’s great reality TV all right.

  17. Hi,
    I’m a keen sport rankings fan myself and am really glad i can get this information on
    Thank you for your time to write this,

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