Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reality Hurts

I was saddened by the news of the death of Beverly Hills Housewives husband, Russell Armstrong. He was a part of the Housewives franchise and our beloved reality TV world, but he has now become a member of another prestigious club that is grim and growing. The fact of the matter is, we sometimes can get lost in all the hair extensions and breast implants, the wig pulling and the name calling. The children are asleep and we indulge in our guilty pleasure, this phenomena -- and we are pleased and entertained, or we even disturbed and disgusted. Either way, we give these shows the ratings they need and we anticipate the next episode and wait all summer for a new season to begin. There have been many times that I had to pause and remind myself that these are real people. Yes, stories may be slightly scripted and scenes edited to add to the hype, but in the end, these are not characters on a sitcom. These are real people. I remember when Najai Turpin committed suicide back in 2005. It was my birthday and he must have felt like the loneliest person in the world because he sat in his car and he shot himself that Valentine's Day morning. Turpin was a boxer and appeared on the NBC reality-competition show, The Contender, a show that I enjoyed from week to week. There was  speculation that his suicide was related to the show and his performance while he was on it, or may have been because of other personal family and/or business issues he was dealing with at the time, but it was definitely something to think about as the episodes from his season began to air. Fast forward to Celebrity Rehab and the deaths of Jeff Conway and Mike Starr. I find it so hard to understand why that show is still on the VH1 line-up. Talk about reality, these people are battling real addiction to serious drugs and we are supposed to watch them on TV and not be surprised when they die? If Dr. Drew truly cared for his "patients", he would help them outside of the presence of cameras and they would not be offered a paycheck for their time in his "rehab". But I am losing my focus here. A man has died. He killed himself and we may never know why. He had a daughter and a wife. And his dirty laundry was flung all over television every week on Bravo. And we all watched and rolled around in it. His wife accused him of abuse and filed for divorce recently, the tabloids had a field day with the news. His demons must have had one also. The only thing left to do now is pray for his daughter, who is innocent in all of this and couldn't care less if the camera men and producers and directors and television executives all packed their contracts and bags full of money and left her home. I'm sure she would trade it all to be in her daddy's arms again.

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