Wednesday, December 21, 2011

You Can't Pretty Ugly

You can't pretty ugly. That's the conclusion I've come to after tuning into non-reality, reality TV. I kept hearing about these shows and their cast of characters that I was clueless about, so I decided to watch a few episodes, and was quickly reminded of the lyrics of a Jill Scott song that says, “Everything ain’t for everybody.”

People will liken my distaste for reality TV to that of being bougie or of liking things that are intellectually stimulating or thought-provoking. And yes, I do like watching, reading, listening to or talking about things that make me think. But I also like mindless, guilty pleasure stuff as well. One of my favorite pastimes is watching stupid comedies, and I love Beverly Jenkins African-American historical romance novels.

I know that not all idiots watch Maury and the plethora of judge shows. Humans beings are complicated creatures and most of us contradict ourselves in one way or another. Our complexity makes life so much more interesting. I get it; I understand why so many of us are glued to the TV and sucked into the lives of the “stars” of reality TV. It does make for compelling viewing as we become voyeurs in the real-life soap opera of the somewhat rich and famous. We fantasize about what it would be like to have money and status—to chase the promised, but elusive American Dream. We want to see what we think we might be missing.

So for a few weeks I tuned in too, but it got old for me fast because what I saw was pretty sad. The women are in their designer finest. They strut around in their Christian Louboutin shoes, working the wonders of the best weave that money can buy. They have perfectly manicured nails, toothpaste lover’s dream teeth courtesy of veneers and enough plastic parts to fill a landfill or two. On the outside, the women are beautiful, but it doesn’t cover up the ugly that reeks out week after week. I know it’s all about editing and ratings so much of what is passed off as real isn’t. But there’s enough backstabbing, gossiping and hater-aid being passed around to send everybody into rehab. The viewers take solace in the fact that our lives aren’t that bad. And we understand that the money-magic wand cannot fix all that ails us. But it doesn’t stop us from wondering what if we had that money what would we do?

Years ago, I promised myself that I would remove toxic people from my life, and I had until I started watching some of these shows. Feeling tired after an episode, I realized that watching these women is poisonous to my spirit. I had to hit the channel changer on my remote. I like Unsung and Life After because they’re about life’s trials, tribulations, tragedies, and triumphs. A bunch of whining women with too much time on their hands doesn’t give me the slightest bit of pleasure. Life happens to all of us--rich, poor, well-known and unknown. And I like tuning into the lives of people who wrestle with adversity and win.


  1. I too enjoy "mindless TV" sometimes. However after watching each week the women shown above, I often wonder what is their definition of friendship. It is so interesting that they are so consumed with labels and their big homes. However when it comes to real honest friendships I agree that you cannot pretty ugly. Their attitudes toward each other are really ugly.

  2. It's getting old and boring. I used to watch the show but; it makes black women looking like gold digging back stabbing egotistical materialistic and shallow. When there isn't controversy or back stabbing it is deemed to be boring. Some of the women are broke and have gone bankrupt. What I hate more than anything about the shows is the exploitation of their children.