Reality TV lacks bite

I saw a dreadful TV show the last time I was in England. A group of lazy humans were filmed moping about in an open-plan house. Not one of them had an ounce of performing talent. They couldn’t sing or dance; they couldn’t juggle or do magic; they couldn’t banter or tell jokes – they weren’t even capable of a decent game of ping pong. Any hints of sexual activity never came to fruition and the drama they attempted was very poorly acted. I had a good chuckle when someone told me this was “Reality TV”. If human reality is really that boring it would be better to live in a fantasy world like Don Quixote.

All this lethargy and tedium comes from pampering the human herd. As any wild animal knows, life is full of meaning when you’re struggling to stay alive. When a band of gorillas is short of victuals, we all pull together for the common good. Ration cards are issued and the females make a savoury soup from tree-bark and powdered worms. We forage away busily, whistling merry tunes to keep our spirits up, and when food is discovered the females ululate in triumph. After we’ve stuffed ourselves, it’s time for a wild party. Even the baboons are invited and we really whoop it up, shaking our hairy arses into the small hours. Overcoming challenges is what makes you feel alive.

Filming humans being chased by predators would certainly make good television. I suppose it’s not done more often because of the expense of hiring dangerous beasts. But even the indoor events could be livened up by a better selection of guests. The Marquis de Sade strikes me as the kind of party animal who would have sparkled in such a setting. The man was an accomplished socialite who thoroughly enjoyed interacting with other humans, particularly in confined spaces. Just imagine the conversations he might have had with the attention-seeking dolly-birds who appear on these shows.

Marquis de Sade: Who will be your lover in this house?

Tracey Hotpants: Don’t say that, Marky, my boyfriend is watching this!

Marquis de Sade: Your boyfriend is a fool. I call him a pimp to his face. Let him watch me bite your soft white boobies.

Tracey Hotpants: Is that whatcha do to girls in your chateau?

Marquis de Sade: To begin with, yes. Sometimes I like to bite the derrière first. I can do this if you prefer.

Tracey Hotpants: Thanks, Marky, but I don’t like being bitten.

Marquis de Sade: Why not? Have you ever tried this?

Tracey Hotpants: I won’t try anything that hurts coz I don’t like pain.

Marquis de Sade: Mademoiselle Hotpants! Sex without pain is like food without taste!

The absence of dialogue like this shows what’s wrong with Reality TV. The houseguests are mired in the mundane, quite incapable of tackling issues as profound as whether biting or squeezing is sexually pleasing. It takes the incisive mind of a man like the Marquis to bring these meaty matters to the fore. Lacking a conversationalist of his calibre, countless hours are squandered on vacuous, inconsequential chatter. It’s the waste that saddens me.

Now the Marquis de Sade was no hero and I do not advance him as a role model for the modern human. In many ways the fellow was a bounder and it’s not for me to defend him. Yet no one could say that he was dull. Even as we condemn him for being a perverted fiend, we must respect him as a man who spoke his mind and remained true to his convictions. His ideas and conjectures may yet breathe new life into tired and lacklustre TV formats.

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