Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Even in Reality, That's Weird

Caught sight a few weeks ago of a fascinating tv program called Laguna Beach airing on MTV. The show, the latest creation from the lab of reality tv, blends drama and real life by choosing real Laguna Beach to teenagers to be filmed in both their normal routines and certain "dramatic situations." For one who enjoys reality tv when it's done well, this show has a draw to it, a certain appeal, perhaps because of the youth of the characters. They're all pre-20 and going through the ups and downs that attractive Laguna Beach teens go through: you know, having splashy pool parties, catfighting over boys, and posturing for hours on end. The show provides a window into the life of the average attractive American team, and predictably, it's not pretty. There's little sense of something greater to life, no moral accountability save the social codes of teenagers, and surprisingly little parental involvement.

It seems that youth is increasingly squeezed of its innocence in this age. The bar measuring social and physical interaction with the opposite sex, for example, drops further and further until it's clear that I as a 24 year-old man am a greenhorn in a world of fourteen year-old veterans of "hooking up" and such things. Life without God has always meant a life of flirtation with the darker side for teens, but I wonder if nowadays college isn't the initiation into license it used to be. One wonders how much teenagers of this generation actually discover when entering college, and how much they simply hone their craft. Either way, the world of Laguna Beach is as interesting--what is a dramatic reality show, anyway?--as it is saddening. MTV shows little deviation from its prior course in producing such a show.


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