Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Train Wreck

So, I'm hooking up the new cable box. Fascinating task. Really. After a call to the cable company (Note - if you're going have instructions that refer to a number printed on the box - please print the number on the box. Thank you!), I got everything up and working, and was sifting through the channels to see what I had to work with.

Suddenly, the television erupted with a woman's barely coherent screaming. This was a tantrum that would shame a five-year old. It was a "what on Earth?" moment unlike none I'd ever had before. This wasn't someone who'd simply gone over the edge, even with a running jump - she'd been shot out of a cannon. As an aside, I finally understood just what people meant when they talked about watching a train wreck. The sight of this woman undergoing a complete meltdown was strangely gripping. I quickly realized that I was watching some sort of reality television show. There were camera people scattered around, some clearly unsure whether they should stand their ground, or run for their lives.

A quick online search revealed that I'd stumbled upon an episode of Trading Spouses from a few years back. This particular matchup featured a born-again family on one side, with some new-age neopagans on the other. Hilarity ensued. To shorten what's already becoming a long story, the Christian wife basically lost it, and the viewing public was treated to her breakdown on national television. As riveting and bizarre at it was, it was also sad. From having had cameras trained on the two households for several days, the network must have generated hundreds of hours of raw footage. Someone in an executive suite somewhere looked at the tape of a woman suddenly terrified that someone had come into her home and cut her family off from God and said "This is reality gold."

Say what you will about someone deciding that this was fit entertainment. But considering that this is still being re-run five years later, they're not the only person with questionable judgment.

No comments: