True confessions (as if I’ve spent the last 20 days of #write31days just lying through my teeth); I like to unwind with “Reality TV”. Not the train wreck variety, where watching people embarrass themselves is taken for entertainment. I know I’m in the minority on that one, but I have flashbacks of I Love Lucy reruns. I always worried so much about her. One of these days, I thought, poor Lucy will actually fall on the conveyor belt at the chocolate factory and be packaged for shipping, despite the laugh track.
Some have fairly commented that reality TV, which became popular in the 90’s, has initiated “the end of civilization” as we know it (according to Ted Koppel) , but I think it’s been the awakening of truer stories for the same day delivery supremacy that has become the new normal. In a free wi-fi age, we need even more closeup experiences, and reality TV takes us not just front row on the action, but inside the player’s head. Like it or not, I like it.
My favorite reality TV shows are the ones where the hope floats. Where the dreamers behind the endurance are characters unfolding even to themselves.
The Great British Baking Show is actually the one I love the best. Home bakers of an elite sort come together at work stations resembling mini Martha Stewart kitchens, complete with pastel colored Kitchen Aids, and execute sweet assignments as, one by one, they are critiqued off the show. I honestly don’t even know what they win, because all these contestants seem to really want is to be crowned Star Baker.
Like Survivor, The Great British Baking Show has camera dialog that happens during “the bake” during which the cook explains their thought processes and how they believe they will fare in the competition. This gets me every time because it’s so honest, always accompanied by nervous laughter. On a recent episode, one woman said, “I know even if this falls apart, I’ve done my very best. And that, in the end, is what I came to do.” I get the feeling I’m hearing her true inner narrative; the way she does life, the way she survives; raising the crown she weaves for herself, even in the face of thinning odds. I take comfort from it, because my narrative, whatever it is on any given day, usually comes true too. We are who we believe we will be.
“And with that, grab your torches, head back to camp. G’night.”