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antiMUSIC is pleased to welcome aboard with Chuck DiMaria, who will be giving us his 2 cents every week on a variety of music topics.

As always the views expressed by the writer do not neccessarily reflect the views of antiMUSIC or the iconoclast entertainment group


The Un-Real World

I want to blame MTV.

There was a time a while back when MTV used to play nothing but videos. It was a glorious time. Music videos all day, all night and a pre-recorded live concert on Friday nights. It was amazing. But all good things must come to an end while all things stupid seem to last forever…

Some airhead decided that they should add non-music programming to Music Television. Brilliant, huh?

And as a result we were subjected to some of the most mind-numbing drivel ever to be shown on the old HDBB. Game shows, variety shows, lip-synching shows…you name it, they put it on the air. It was just awful. And just as quickly as one show would bomb, another one just as bad if not worse would take its place.

Now I understand why all those rock stars used to scream "I want my MTV!" They, like the rest of us, just wanted to see some music videos, not this half-assed attempt at must-see TV programming.

But then, quite unexpectedly, they finally got it right. It was a little experiment in voyeurism known as The Real World. They took a bunch of twenty-somethings, seven to be exact, put them in a loft in NYC (a nice place, too, not some rat-trap), and then just let the cameras roll. It was all caught on tape, set to a slammin' soundtrack and delivered to us on a weekly basis.

We couldn't get enough of it. We were looking in through someone's window and couldn't get caught. Talk about freakin' Big Brother watching. (If only there had been a shower-cam in the girl's bathroom, my life would have been complete.)

And to be honest with you, it was actually pretty cool. The situations seemed fairly realistic, the characters weren't too off the wall and there wasn't a dull moment.

And it was original. I mean, no one else was doing it, at least not in that context.

Ah, the good old days; Jim Carrey was just the white guy on In Living Color, Rap stars were non-threatening, and the only reality show on television was The Real World on MTV.

But like I said, that was a long time ago and reality television is now the norm and no longer the exception.

And like all things vying for a larger market share, the Springer Factor kicked in and the second season of The Real World had a band of misfits on it the likes of which hadn't been seen since Caligula was having slumber parties at the Coliseum.

Sadly, it's only gotten worse. I think they're up to season 14 now, each one a freak-show John Waters couldn't watch with a straight face.

And now you can't turn on the television without something stamped Reality Television garnering more Nielson points than if The Naked News went prime time.

And to make matters worse, we're also getting the bastard children of other reality shows. Case in point: Ashlee Simpson, who's famous because her sister, Jessica Simpson (bless her heart) was a little confused about tuna and chicken and…oh, never mind. All brought to you courtesy of the corporate bastards over at MTV.

We interrupt this rave so that I can go on record as saying that Jessica Simpson can sing her ass off. She's easy on the eyes, too. If Nick doesn't roll out of bed every morning and thank the good Lord, there's something intrinsically wrong here. Kooky or not, she's a catch. (Of course, I don't have to deal with her 24/7, so my opinion my be limited in its scope.) Having said that, we now return you to this rave, already in progress…

Either way, we now get the distinct pleasure of following Ashlee around as she does whatever it is that famous siblings do when they're trying to get their fifteen minutes in. I really don't know much about Ashlee Simpson, to be honest with you. I mean, other than she's Jessica's boy-crazy lil' sister -- which, in this day and age, is obviously grounds for super-stardom – she's an enigma to me.

Once again, I am hoping for a shower-cam. But, once again, I digress…

And if we're not talking sex, we're talking fear. I had no idea serving up a big ol' honkin' plate of bull testicles was primetime entertainment, but what the hell do I know? And if it's not bull testicles, it's industrial-sized cockroaches. (I hear they taste like chicken, but I think we'll need Jessica Simpson for a ruling on that one.)

You know, Chuck Barris once said that the ultimate game show will be the one where someone dies at the end.

Well, Chuckie-baby wasn't too far off, kids. There's a reality show that's coming soon to a television near you where a body bag will come as standard equipment.

Here's a little Show-Biz buzz for ya: It seems there's a guy called Russ Wicks, also known as the AMERICAN SPEEDKING, who's trying to break every speed record known to man and this guy won't stop till he's either done it or died trying. Wicks is such an adrenaline junkie he makes Evil Knieval look like Winnie the Pooh.

AMERICAN SPEEDKING, you mark my words cause you heard it here first, is gonna put everything you've ever seen to shame. And every week you're gonna tune in just to see if this guy dies at the end. (http://www.americanspeedfreak.com)

Rumor is both Metallica and Billy Corgan are fans of Wicks, so you know that if the guy dies, at least the funeral will be rockin'.

And do you want to know what the worst thing is? Just like I was glued to the television, watching episode after episode of the Real World, I'll guarantee you that I'll be doing the same thing when AMERICAN SPEEDKING hits the air.

Why? Simple: We've been so inundated with sex and violence over the years that very little gets my pupils to dilate. And since I can see all the sex I want on the internet, it only stands to reason that the last bastion of entertainment will soon be public executions on primetime.

Like I said, I want to blame MTV. The sad part is I can't. Doesn't matter who's programming it, kids – we're the ones watching. People say television is a vast wasteland. Then why are you sitting in front of it? Why are you all bowing down before the HDBB?

I'll tell you why: You love being bathed by its soothing rays of light. You love being lulled to sleep by its gentle hum. You live for that black box. Face it; it's your best friend.

And Nick, Jessica and lil' sister Ashlee are practically long lost kin.

So, since I sincerely doubt anything I say is gonna change anything you do, you may as well go grab some popcorn, sit back, relax, enjoy the show and hope for the Ashlee shower-cam.

That's my two cents, now gimme my change. (And pass the popcorn.)



Chuck DiMaria is Los Angeles based musician and antiMUSIC columnist. Check out his website ChuckDiMaria.com for more of his writings, MP3s and more (be sure to read about his adventures in online dating!!)