Did you guys hear about the reality TV question being asked in this year’s SATs? OH GOOD, you’ve ignored all of the New York Times articles your mom has sent you this week, even the property listings? Excellent. So on this year’s SAT, this is the question being asked: Reality television programs, which feature real people engaged in real activities rather than professional actors performing scripted scenes, are increasingly popular. These shows depict ordinary people competing in everything from singing and dancing to losing weight, or just living their everyday lives. Most people believe that the reality these shows portray is authentic, but they are being misled. How authentic can these shows be when producers design challenges for the participants and then editors alter filmed scenes? Do people benefit from forms of entertainment that show so-called reality, or are such forms of entertainment harmful?
Do you know the answer? Don’t be a hero and use the 800 words you’re supposed to use to write about how the question is offensive. Real people read the answers now, you know. They’re not just scanned through machines that look for “hot words” or “fire words” and then award you points based on if you strung words like "perception," "reality," "programming," "entertainment," "erroneous," "Gone with the Wind," and "Still Life with Woodpecker" together. It’s much more than that. They’re looking for you to argue on behalf of your own coherence and insight. So as we recap this episode of Jersey Shore, please consider how your response to the above question can determine if you’ll go on to being a successful person who happens to edit Michelle Obama’s upcoming book, or if you’ll be marrying a State Farm agent who's been reduced to cleaning up the peanut shells he throws on the floor of the car as drives from accident site to accident site.
“Hello, I’m here to hook up with, and you still haven’t hooked up with me.” – Snooki
Vinny took Snooki out for burgers, and Snooki decided to get onion rings that were smothered with beer in their batter. Vinny started telling Snooki how great the girl he was with last night because of how comfortable she was after sex, and Snooki got frustrated because he still hadn’t hooked up with her yet. To her credit, she’s made it pretty clear that she’s available Monday through Sunday. But Vinny tried to explain to her that he lives with her and sees her every day, and watched as she got a facial from The Situation so she’s pretty much even less desirable than a Hallmark card that doesn’t play any music when you open it up.
“This woman is not a grenade. This woman is an atomic bomb.” – Pauly
At Aztec that night, everyone was surprised to see that it was filled with old people. One woman in particular took a liking to Pauly, and he even danced with her Chico-clad self for a little bit. Back at the house, Ronnie and Sammi were trying to work things out after the whole Arvin fiasco. Sammi was apologizing profusely, and Ronnie was just sitting next to her on the park bench enjoying his heritage and making hamburgers. Ronnie also very much enjoyed the ear nibbling and the palm pressure to the inside of his thighs, and he eventually invited Sammi to sleep with him upstairs. Sammi’s only remark about Ronnie’s obvious forgiveness was that she couldn’t control what the other housemates would think of them sleeping together again.
“Okay Snooki let’s go.” –Vinny
Vinny and Pauly D returned to the house with girls. But suddenly, the brother of one of them showed up and asked how his sister and her friend were getting home that night. Vinny thought things had gotten too complicated and so he told the girls they needed to leave and once they had, he started to drag Snooki towards the smush room. Snooki was offended and she said she wasn’t someone’s last resort, but rather, she was someone’s first priority. 9 MILLION POINTS TO SNOOKI FOR USING A P-WORD THAT’S NOT PENIS OR PIZZA.
“I look so tan. I look Indian.” – Ronnie’s mom
So, in what was more fantastic than a dream where Darren Aronofsky doesn’t have a mustache, Ronnie’s mom called the house. She had been drinking, and when Deena answered the phone, Ronnie’s mom proceeded to tell her how tan she was. Completely uncomfortable, Deena handed the phone to Jenni, who then handed the phone to Mike. Ronnie’s mom was saying things like, “you know they love each other, but enough is enough,” which led Mike to tell her the entire thing that happened with Arvin, and how Sammi had been texting him while she was home. Eventually, Ronnie’s mom got tired of talking and Mike was able to hang up the phone, but as soon as Sammi and Ronnie got back from the eye-doctor, Jenni informed Sammi that Mike had told Ronnie’s mom about how Sammi was texting another guy while she was home. This made Sammi make a sound that was equivalent to the exact moment a plunger plunges a clog in the toilet and sends it rushing down into the sea. She began to shake, and informed Ronnie that if she saw Mike around the house she was going to have to hit him right in his rhinestone cross, the makers of which he makes sure to tweet about once every day.
“You’re a crock of shit.” - Sammi
But then out on the porch, Mike was reminding Ronnie how wrong it was for her to text Arvin when she was home. He also reminded him that Arvin came to the club alone, which I guess was supposed to mean he was really planning on hanging out with Sam and nobody else. Jenni went into the kitchen and told Sammi how Mike was rehashing everything that Ronnie and Sammi had already smushed and moved on from. Once Sammi finally went outside and told Mike to stop telling Ronnie that she had lined up Arvin in case things between she and Ronnie didn’t work, Mike suggested they all call Arvin and they let him say once and for all what had happened, and then Sammi would get her chance to dispute everything. Unfortunately for us, the episode ended just as Ronnie was confronting Sammi after he learned that she had made out with Arvin one time.
Right on, everyone! So have you figured out what you're going to write on the SAT? I think you've had enough time. If I were you, I'd argue how the characters on reality TV are hardly ever normal, which means they cannot be expected to do normal things. Because they aren't normal, audiences expect outrageous things from them, which accounts for how heavily edited each of the episodes are and how they are scripted so that there are no dull plot points. I would then conclude that reality TV isn't harmful if you are able to conceptualize it for what it is and you don't expect it to replace real entertainment, like a giraffe on roller skates. But you can't take that answer. I've already taken the SAT. The point is you haven't, and you should start practicing. Reading the New York Times would be a really great start.