Reality television skews success

I was channel surfing this weekend when I came across an episode from the third season of Flavor of Love. This wildly popular show – the Cadillac of smut reality television – is showing no signs of slowing down. It validates my theory that reality television is the “get rich quick” scheme of the entertainment industry.

Flavor Flav is one of the most repulsive personalities on television, but I can’t knock him for making his money and having a good time doing it. I have a very hard time believing that these women actually love Flavor Flav. For the women who continue to sign up for this show, the analysis is simple – humiliate yourself on national television for three months and then cash in on the exposure you receive in its aftermath.

Previous contestants on the show have appeared in music videos, magazines and award shows. They gain immediate fame and fortune upon completing this show – win or lose. But what kind of career can you have once the hangover ends? I still don’t understand who would take a contestant seriously after competing on any reality TV show that encourages its cast to be so classless.

I believe the reason people compete on these shows is because all it takes to be successful is a lack of pride, not skill. The more despicable the conduct, the more exposure they get. I’m shocked when I hear people talking as if there is an abundance of expertise required to be successful on reality TV.

I believe it’s a matter of timing. If you act a certain way at the casting call and if the producer thinks you are a good fit for the program, you’re on your way. They throw you into a house with the cameras rolling, and the video editors make the story appealing. I know it must be cool to live the life of a celebrity, but it isn’t worth embarrassment to the individuals or their families. I can’t think of anything more degrading than being known as one of the Flavor of Love girls. Either these people don’t understand the ramifications of their actions or perhaps they figure that in 10 years no one will remember them anyway so they might as well get the money and fame while they can. I can only speculate.

Fortunately for America, not all reality stars have to humiliate themselves to be a success.

One person who is a great example of someone who didn’t have to act crazy to be successful on a reality is USF’s own Ivy Box, who appeared on BET’s College Hill Interns.

Of all the people on the show, Ivy conducted herself with the most class and professionalism. Even though some of her castmates had some pretty wild antics, her actions were consistently classy. For those who don’t know, quality behavior is very unusual in the College Hill series. Because she didn’t embarrass herself on television, she has left her options open. Sadly, Ivy Box is a minority when it comes to the conduct of the casts of these reality shows. For every Ivy Box, there are 10 Bootz and Buckeeys (Flavor of Love girls) -not to mention the hundreds of women who show up to the casting call prepared to do whatever it takes to make the cast.

I would suggest anyone who is considering going on a reality show, where shameful conduct is encouraged, to think long and hard about the road he or she is about to go down, because once the footage hits the public, there is no taking it back.

Ryan Watson is majoring in performing arts.