Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Maybe It's Time to Rethink Reality Shows

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Not that any human being should be watching Next Great Baker on TLC, which is a reality contest connected to a reality show about a guy making cakes, but if you were watching last night, you were in for an unpleasant surprise at the end of the show. Turns out the guy who was eliminated, Wesley Durden, committed suicide back in October.

So, TLC, seemingly because they didn't want to scrap a season of the show or otherwise acknowledge in any way that their program was heading towards a very dark and terrible place, ran promos featuring a guy who had already committed suicide. They did throw a card up at the end, but this still seems like a series of bad decisions to me and wildly insensitive to the guy's family and friends, but maybe we're still all supposed to be upset that the same network runs a show about Muslims or something.

And this isn't the first time even this year that a cable network has had to deal with a reality show suicide. Bravo's Real Housewives of Beverly Hills possibly managed to show a bit more delicacy with the death of Russell Armstrong, the husband of one of the "housewives", at least acknowledging what happened at the beginning of the season, but every other episode or so, there's Russell discussing his personal woes. It's almost like the people in charge of the show were secretly happy that the suicide could eventually become the end of season cliffhanger.

I understand that a lot goes into putting these shows together, but there has to be a better way to deal with actual reality when it creeps into our reality programs.

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