The people have made their choices, the gold dipped globes have been presented and the acting community has bestowed their praises upon their peers, which means we find ourselves more than halfway through awards season. Like many of you, awards season competes with the holidays for my favorite time of year. Everything about it brings a bit of magic, from the red carpets and glamorous attire to the heartwarming, tear-jerking, mom-thanking acceptance speeches from those actors and actresses who truly touched our hearts through their work. However, the most wonderful revelation in the midst of all the glitz and glam has little to do with the best dressed and everything to do with uncovering the immense talent at work in Hollywood.
This year, our cup runneth over with wonderful writing and brilliant acting, bringing us stories we won’t soon forget. As this talent was appropriately honored over the past month, I began to wonder why, with so many amazing actors and actresses, brilliant storytellers and endless stories to be told, we seem to be a culture obsessed with reality television?
I am as guilty as the next person of indulging in the occasional (every single week) episode of The Voice and have often found myself engrossed in an hour or so of The Biggest Loser. Is that so bad? I like to think that there are guilty pleasures of the television variety that we tune into because they contain a strong human interest element; reality can also serve as an outlet for storytelling after all. Let’s be honest though, there are a great deal of time slots filled with “realities” that highlight only the most unrealistic parts of our world; hours upon hours of shock, awe, generally bad behavior and unrealistic views on “life.”
We all immediately know the shows that are guilty as charged. Keeping Up With The Kardashians (and the numerous spin offs the team at E! deemed necessary), The Bachelor, Swamp People, Teen Mom, Flavor of Love, Real Housewives of (Your City Here); the list goes on and the reality seems to get more out of control with every premiere (seriously, has anyone seen Buckwild?!). At what point do we say enough is enough? Are we actually even enjoying some of these programs?
The thing is, most of us are at least partly responsible for the ratings these shows garner. I have seen each of the aforementioned programs at least one time, but they generally just make me wonder what this world is coming to. Wouldn’t we rather bring back real storytelling into our entertainment? Turn these time slots over to genuine comedy instead of continuing to indulge in over-the-top antics that bring fame to individuals willing to exhibit out of control behavior for their chance in the spotlight?
Furthermore, I think it was a commendable year for women in television and cinema. While some may argue that females are still working to find their place in Hollywood, fighting for characters with more strength and depth, I found 2012 to be an exciting representation of where we are headed. Our very own Zooey Deschanel was nominated for her hilariously lovable portrayal of New Girl’s Jess, a girl with a personality that was long overdue for some positive exposure. Lena Dunham single handedly gave us the ability to truly believe we didn’t have to pretend to have it all figured out in our twenties and was appropriately honored for doing so. Jessica Chastain. Wow. Talk about portraying a complex female character with formidable strength. The loot she gathered for Zero Dark Thirty was more than deserved as she entertained and inspired us all. We could continue on with a discussion revolving around Anne Hathaway, Kathryn Bigelow, Jennifer Lawrence, Claire Danes, Emily Blunt, Lea Michele and many others, which would only serve to support the conclusion that the talent in Hollywood is fierce, and opportunity for sincere storytelling is endless. Why wouldn’t we want to make room for more of this in entertainment?
Ms. Chastain lovingly honored Kathryn Bigelow in her speech for “making a film that allowed her character to break the conventions of Hollywood.” Our soul sister Lena, holding back unexpected tears, proclaimed that her award was for “every woman who felt like there wasn’t a space for her,” as she felt that Girls gave her a place to belong. These speeches make it hard to argue that we don’t need more of this; cinema and television that puts crazy talent on display, entertains us by telling stories that deserve to be told.
Allow me to take a moment to come full circle. I am not calling for a ban on reality television all together and I believe that after you spend the day doing whatever it is that pays your bills, you have the right to watch anything you choose without judgement. I, myself, will certainly continue to tune in to catch a glimpse of Adam Levine each week upon the return of The Voice and would be lying if I said I would never again be caught in the middle of a Keeping Up With The Kardashian’s weekend marathon. So I guess the real question is, at what point do we say we have had enough? Is there a point where we admit reality television has gone too far so that we can return to a time where talent and storytelling dominate the entertainment world?
Personally, I say bring on the Zooey’s and Lena’s of the world; I would gladly trade my reality indulgences for additional acting of this variety. My hope is that more writers have the opportunity to tell stories that are important to both themselves and their audiences; that they continue to put their words in the hands of genius directors like Kathryn Bigelow and Ryan Murphy, who produce television and movies that we can’t help but watch. I like to think true talent will, once again, outweigh fifteen seconds of fame because there are so many stories still waiting to be told, so many lovely actors waiting for their chance to tell them.
To each their own though, right? So, what do you think? Are you Team Racy Reality or Team True Talent?
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