Is there a God? Did we evolve from primates? Are there aliens? What killed the Dinosaurs? Did we really land on the moon? Did Lee Harvey Oswald really kill JFK or was it a conspiracy? Who shot JR? These are questions that many people have debated over for years. However, there is a question that is rising to rank among these immortal debates: 

Why do we watch mind-numbingly dumb television?

People eat this dumb stuff up like Fruity Pebbles (Derek Spahr does not advocate the consumption of Fruity Pebbles; however it is undeniable that this cereal is both fruity and delicious.) What is it that makes us captivated by these shows? Is it the quick-cuts? Is it our fascination with people this disgusting? Is it because value and wealth are now our most prestigious values? 

While I could probably go on for pages among pages about how much awful television there is on TV, I will instead focus my attention on one station in particular, MTV. Why, you curious reader might ask? Well because MTV is the metropolis of mind-numbingly dumb television. The New York City, the Los Angeles, the Houston, whatever geographical reference you want to compare it to it doesn’t really matter, MTV’s the biggest and it’s got most and the dumbest.

Now, perhaps the even bigger question is where to start. I’ll pick the most atrocious and most immoral, MTV’s I Want a Famous Face. In case you have not had the opportunity to view this fine display of lowered individual aspirations, what happens is some seemingly decent looking person who has low self-esteem feel that they need to alter their own face to look like a celebrity of their choosing. While MTV did not pay for any of the operations they documented, the fact that they decided to make this a part of their roster of television shows has some pretty big implications. This type of show exploits and preys on the participant’s low self-esteem. Not only are the characters subsuming to the celebrity standard of physical beauty, but hey are also falling for the allure of the television camera.

Cribs. Oh god I hate Cribs. Here’s the point of the show in a nutshell: take a celebrity, who may or may not actually be that famous, and let them show their homes to everybody who wants to tune in and check it out. Implicitly, it’s an excellent chance for celebrities to show off their pretty unattainable wealth and their massive homes. What makes this even more ridiculous/awesome is the fact that other celebrities watch Cribs; which then makes this incredible materialistic competition to have the most impressive/useless crap in your home. “Hey! Sweet gold-encrusted rims man, it looks good on each of your nine, incredibly useful cars.” Oh wow check that out, you’ve got people over grilling- what are the chances, just on the day the camera crew was coming by! Here’s a nice thing to put on television, look at the wealth of celebrities, see how expensive their crap is. Maybe someday you’ll be able to put a full movie screen in your convertible.

We’ll finish strong with the Holy Grail, the Stanley cup, the crown, the nuclear bomb of mind-numbingly awful television shows, My Super Sweet 16. This show features undeserving, self-centred annoying douche bags who put on the most over-the-top, see self-aggrandizing, parties for their sweet 16th birthday. While the concept is incredibly useless, what makes it even worse is the fact that it shows these awful humans continuously degrading and disrespecting their friends and family- who continue to stand by this person for no other logical reason than because they have a ton of money. Now Derek, you will undoubtedly say, doesn’t My Super Sweet 16 sort of make fun of its characters in segues between each scene? Yes, they do. But let’s look at it from that angle. MTV now has this show that exists solely for the purpose of making fun of these delusional fools. Is it really worth using a half-hour of programming just to make fun of some selfless kids? They could do tons of stuff with that time, like bring back Clone Highor, more likely, give another member of Bam’s friends a show where they destroy stuff and inconvenience people … which subsequently will be cancelled in 2 weeks and be replaced by re-runs of Laguna Beach.

As disgusting as all these shows are, we find ourselves watching them. The big question is why do we watch them? After going through these three shows, all of which I have watched on several occasions, I am left with a big “I have no idea.” I honestly don’t. I hate everything about these shows, yet I can’t stop from watching them. I don’t enjoy watching these shows. But I’m sucked in and I can’t quit.

Is there a support group for this?

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