America’s Downfall: Blame It On Reality TV

Andy Ostroy
2 min readApr 21, 2022

The phenomenon that we know today as reality television began with “Cops” thirty-three years ago (although technically more innocent ‘family-friendly’ programs such as “Candid Camera” and “Real People” preceded it). Adrenaline-addicted viewers were literally taken on a ride inside squad cars for a sometimes thrilling, often boring AF first-hand experience responding to and fighting crime. The theme was simple: the good guys vs the bad guys.

But modern-day reality shows, including “The Jersey Shore”, “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” and “The Real Housewives” are more about the bad guys and gals, typically featuring dumb, drunk, selfish, self-centered, vapid, vacuous, materialistic, narcissistic, self-aggrandizing, back-stabbing, mean-spirited attention-whores.

It’s Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame on crack.

There’s no bottom for what people will do or say on national television in search of that fame and fortune. They shamelessly prostitute themselves…stripping themselves of any dignity, self-respect, compassion and empathy…turning themselves into horrible “I don’t give a flying fuck about anyone but myself” sub-humans.

Welcome to the cesspool that is 2022 America. The United States of Reality TV. It was “The Apprentice” that gave a weekly national platform to Donald “I love the uneducated!” Trump, who ultimately seduced and radicalized 74-million angry, ignorant white people into believing that in order to be “great again” America desperately needed a sexist, racist, dictator-wannabe sociopath president.

Reality tv unleashed a never-before-seen level of incivility and self-indulgence and captured the zeitgeist of the past three decades. It ushered in the dumbing-down of America. It’s turned the “me generation” into a bunch of culturally and intellectually-bankrupt Tik Tok’in self-consumed, selfie-obsessed look at me, look at me zombies whose favorite spectator sport is watching people treat each other like a pile of freshly-minted dogshit.

No wonder then that our democracy’s mired in a terrifying existential crisis. Fighting the ultimate battle of good vs evil. Because we’ve become a nation of gun-toting, Bible-thumping, lawless, nasty-ass intolerant tribalists who’ve lost all sense of common decency and humanity.

To borrow from Trump, Americans have said to The Golden Rule, “You’re fired!’

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Andy Ostroy

Director, producer, podcaster, writer, resistor, non-profit-supporter of women filmmakers