Thursday, December 20, 2007

Watch the realityspeak!

This week I watched the finales of two popular reality dating shows: "I Love New York 2" and "A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila." (Haters, don't bother dissing me for watching. How does that song go? "If you don't know me by now/You will never never never know me/Oooohhhooooooohhhhoooooohhh.")

Yes, New York dodged a bullet by not picking the foxy-but-shady Buddha, and there's a league of women out there, gay and straight, who have girl-crushes on Dani, the adorable lesbian who got dumped by Tila. But what I couldn't get past was all the realityspeak -- the words that have become shorthand for what passes as liquored-up "feelings" on these shows.

It's amazing how, ever since the first "Bachelor," reality shows have built a language for their reality emotions. My fear is the phrases are going to start slipping into everyday folks' conversations with their lovers, spouses and online hookups.

Here's a typical example of realityspeak, tears optional: "We've been on this roller coaster of a journey together, full of adventure, and I feel like I've made connections with all of you. But I'm determined to find the right person for me and I'm about to make the most important decision of my life."

(Turns to one person, usually a viewers' favorite, so you know they're going home.) "We've built a trust, and this is so much harder than I thought it would be! You got me to open up on a level I never have before, and you really put yourself out there. You're awesome, you make me laugh and every time I see you, you brighten up the room. But there's someone here I've made a stronger connection with. I love you .... but I'm not in love with you."

Translation: "I'm just not that into you." But simply saying that would leave a lot of dead airtime.

I hope my friends pop me upside the head if they ever hear me talk of "connections" or "journeys" or "roller coasters of emotion" when discussing some new dude in my life. And if someone ever tells you they're looking for their "soul mate," tell them to buy some Marvin Gaye or Mary J. Blige or Earth, Wind & Fire. They're soulful enough.

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