Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Unreality TV

My disdain for the media's slanted views has been revealed many times on this blog. It takes much effort to read or listen to a news article and then be forced to decipher where the truth lies. I need to pay attention to what the political views of the station or site owners are, the personal opinions of the journalist, what sources are used, etc, before I'm able to interpret the information presented to me. Usually, it's not balanced enough for me to form my own opinion. Does anyone else relate to this experience?

Anyway, when I did have television, I would watch everything reality. Don't be grossed out because, five years ago, reality TV was still in its infant stage. It took off right shortly after 9/11 and we stopped watching in the spring of 2003. It was such a unique and enthralling concept to me, so I started with "Survivor" and went from there. Now that I read about the various themes of these shows, I'm glad that I'm not tempted to watch because it's apparent that the art of reality TV isn't real at all. Series are sometimes loosely scripted, but, worse, the content is edited by producers to present any slant they wish. The network develops plots where, in real life, none existed. They manipulate situations to have us believe that there's a good guy and an evil antagonist. So it may be entertaining, but it's not real.

I suppose there have been many "reality" shows about real estate, too. I've read about some that involve flipping, redecorating, building, and so on. I haven't seen any, but I did hear that the one about flipping highly misrepresented the money being made and the exact events that took place. It doesn't matter to me because the last place where I'd want to learn about real estate is on a reality show.

Well, it seems that the downturn in the real estate market hasn't slowed the production of these real estate shows. I wonder if the 2:00 am infomercial with the guy sitting in front of a video of the ocean in a Hawaiian shirt is still playing--it would be a little out of sync with the shape of the economy right now.

It seems that television execs feel that flipping houses is still a relevant and timely subject matter for a show:

"Flip That House" will become more reflective of the economy, said Brant Pinvidic, TLC's senior vice president of programming. Not every "flipper" gets rich quick. The show will make sure every time at the end to clearly outline how each investor did, he said.

"If the programming reflects the attitudes in the community and what people are feeling it will do better than if the programs feel outdated," Pinvidic said.

Newsflash: It's outdated already! Someone needs to tell this guy that, except under ideal circumstances, flipping has gone the way of the dinosaur right now--unless you consider a 7-10 year hold/sale a "flip". It'll be interesting to see if this show portrays the real "reality" of the market conditions. Why don't they have a show called "Flip This Stock"? Wouldn't that teach viewers practical lessons on how to invest?

I'm still watching this market. If I had the money to invest, I probably would have bought another rental by now. However, in conjunction with the rest of the economy, I'm trying to figure out where sale prices and rental rates will be in the next six months. I only see sales headed downward and, for me, that's very exciting. I just hope and pray that I won't need to sell anything in the next few years. It's like the difference between watching a rain storm while inside of a house versus while changing a flat tire. Sometimes it's just more comfortable to be an observer rather than a participant.

It seems a stretch for reality TV to try to mirror this chaotic economy, especially when shows are traditionally taped many months in advance. By the time they're ready to air, it may be a whole new ball game. Then maybe the series could be labeled a comedy instead of "reality".