A Reality Check for Reality TV

Jon and Kate 110x140Today’s announcement that TLC will officially pull the plug on Jon & Kate Plus 8 after Monday’s episode was yet another reminder of how real life can spill over even into reality TV. The dissolution of the Jon and Kate Gosselin’s marriage, followed by their prolonged quarrel in the media, brought to the fore the potentially destructive effects of making one’s private life a Truman Show experience for millions of viewers.

With the demise of Jon & Kate, the surreal “Balloon Boy” spectacle, and countless other disastrous examples of ordinary people negatively influenced by the harsh drug of reality TV, some groups are calling on the entertainment industry and the government to establish stricter rules to protect the innocent children who, as the Jon & Kate and Balloon Boy cases demonstrate, are the most vulnerable victims in our voyeuristic culture’s ongoing rush to watch each other’s self-destruction before the cameras.