Tuesday, December 7, 2010

They Get to Go Home

I admit that I am a fan of reality TV. I realize that might put me in a category of folks with a presumption of IQ lower than a snails. I don't care. I love that crap, all of it. Well, except for the recent onslaught of bizarreness on MTV. It's the regular stuff I am addicted to. The Amazing Race, Big Brother, Project Runway, The Apprentice, The Bachelor, Hoarders and Intervention. Supernanny, Worlds Strictest Parents etc. Even Survivor, despite my suspicion that the winner is already decided by demographic and half the "contestants" are actors. Fun, fun, fun! FUN!

My daughters like to watch some of them too, especially shows where there are competitions. They always root for the "girls" and become pseudo upset when a "boy" wins. We encourage Girl Power in this house!

However, for a long time I struggled with getting them to understand the point of the games. The goal of winning. The way they saw it, both of them, was that the great prize the 'winner' received was to go home. That ultimately all that physical exertion was for one purpose and the victorious contender was the one who got to leave. The losers had to stay wherever they were at the time. No no, I would try to explain, the contestants want to stay there! They want to stay in that house or on that island or keep going in a race around the world. 

Nope. They were insistent. The winner of the competition each week was the person who was voted out or came in last, because that person got to go home. Home, back to their families, their house, their life. Home!

They get it now of course. After I explained to them a little over 500 times that the purpose is to stay in the game, to stay on the show and compete in the next race and try to be first. The winner each week is the person who does not go home in fact what they want is to be away from home. But I think it is funny how kids see things, especially my kids. Whether it is a reaction to Genea being moved out of her first home and into ours I don't know. Maybe Teena has internalized Genea's circumstances into a file in her brain that says, that's the worst thing in the world, to be unable to return to your home. And Genea's file says, oh hell no. To be moved away from your home with all those people you don't know, that's the worst. Then there is the possibility that all kids view the competition results on reality shows the same way, and it's my personal file that has been rewritten after feeling Genea's pain these few years. That I see their thoughts as based in what they must have viewed as terrifying, tragic. Or is that merely my perception of reality, based on my own experiences?

I speculate endlessly sometimes. It is quite likely they just enjoy the TV shows and got confused as to the outcome.


  1. Huh! Interesting! And proof (for thsoe who needed it) that your IQ is much, much, higher than a snail :)

  2. Hmmmm? I wanted to ask 'cause I know you watched... do you think that family really knew MJ that deeply and are the song recordings real?

  3. OK, I am wondering the same thing as De about that MJ family.

    But on the subject of my kids' interpretation of winning on reality shows: They have only gotten a few glimpses of AR (which they LOVED), and they totally got it. I am a huge Survivor fan, and am getting ready to watch season 1 with our boys over the holidays. I am pretty sure they'll get it and want to go on it. It will be very interesting to hear their take on how the castaways must feel being away from their families for so long -- which I know my boys will definitely recognize and comment on.

  4. PS I am still thinking about your previous posts regarding Genea's classroom seating. We have so been there with P -- year after year after year. I have a lot of thoughts to sort through before commenting.

  5. I don't watch TV much, let alone those shows....except some friends of ours who adopted a girl from Ivanovo were on World's Strictest Parents. That was so cool!

    Anyway, I'm with them. Home. It is the Wizard of Oz point of view, I guess! Some have to learn it, some have it internalized!


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