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Reality TV vs. Hollywood

Well ... I compromised myself. I did what I promised myself I wouldn't do ... ever. I'll admit it; I watched the last four episodes of ABC's The Bachelor. Even though "star" Jason Mesnick was a fellow Seattleite, I didn't think I could stomach yet another drama veiled as "Reality TV." But I succumbed.

Did I prove anything to myself? Yes, once again I made a vow ... I will not watch that show again!

But for the sake of honesty ... I, like millions of others, watched the final episode with stars in my eyes and that resplendent romantic glow as this seemingly striking couple finally found true love. It was the same feeling one gets after a particularly mesmerizing novel that ends ... just right.

But that, and only then, "Reality" strikes and we realize once again ... it's just a script, an inventive storyline to dupe people like me into their drama and increase ratings that were this year more than 5 times higher than in previous years. I can see why. It was a snapshot of what most Americans want to see today ... a beautiful couple, stars in their eyes and discovering love with a "happy-ever-after" ending.

Well ... Hollywood, take note. Please. Take a look at this year's rollout of hopeful blockbusters: Milk, Man on Wire, Frost Nixon, The Dark Knight, The Duchess ... all with a somewhat twisted, depressive outlook of reality.

Let's take a page from history and hopefully repeat it. According to Top Ten Reviews, the attention-getters in The Great Depression era were; Gone with the Wind, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. These are only a few titles but one can get a clear picture of the hopefulness written into these screenplays. Something that Americans of that time couldn't get enough of.

The theatres of the era were exquisitely beautiful and elaborate and far above the means of the average American. Movies were larger than life, something to aspire to, or so fantastic, like King Kong for example, that it served to take collective minds from the horrific conditions of the day. Conditions, I might add, we've yet to experience in our current economic crisis; bread lines and 25 percent unemployment to name a few.

So, late last night, after another Reality TV show, American Idol, I soothed my mind with one of my favorite movies; Harrison Ford's Witness. It was as good as it was back in the 80's.

Oh ... and by the way, for the wordsmiths out there: "Seattleite" is truly a word. I checked the Urban Dictionary. While Jason Mesnick may not literally fit the description, he lives in Kirkland, I guess I wouldn't either ... but close enough.

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