The Duggar Lesson: Stop This Reality Exploitation

Columnist: We beat a familiar path from entertained to horrified
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2015 1:06 PM CDT
Michelle Duggar holds her newborn daughter Jordyn-Grace Mikaya Duggarin 2008.   (AP Photo/Beth Hall)

(Newser) – Boy, those Duggars were fun to watch—even hate-watch—until things got creepy. Same with Honey Boo Boo. And Duck Dynasty. Enough already, pleads Kevin Fallon in a post at the Daily Beast whose headline advocates the "end of hicksploitation on TV." When doling out blame to the particular families on these shows, or to TLC, or to reality TV in general, don't forget that it's the rest of us that make these shows possible, writes Fallon. We looked at the Duggars as if they were a "zoo exhibit," and we're now "horrified" by religious practices that "bemused" us just weeks ago. "Reality TV has always been branded empty calorie entertainment," he writes, but "these calories aren’t just empty anymore. They’re poisoned. They’re making us sick. And we’re complicit in our ruin."

"Perhaps it’s time to no longer be charmed by, amused by, or mindlessly entertained by these 'normal' families that constitute 'real America,' whose gee-golly, god-fearing goodness we’re exploiting," he writes. "Perhaps it’s time to stop over-simplifying the heartland: they love Christ and have funny accents, how cute!" Yes, exploitation will probably always play a role in reality TV shows, "but we can and should be more judicious and selective about who and what we’re exploiting." Click for Fallon's full post. (Read more reality TV stories.)

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