Friday, November 4, 2011

On Schadenfreude, Falling For Your Best Friend, and Terrible Television

This post is decidedly not intellectual in the slightest. Please do not try to decipher an intellectual or pseudo-intellectual message from within it. I appreciate your cooperation in this matter.

So, my darling readers, as I'm sure you've come to understand, I have an addiction to bad television. And good television. Okay, just television in general. And my roommate does not help with this matter.

Recently added to our repertoire are such delights as Blue Mountain State, which I have to confess is actually ridiculously funny; Ridiculousness, which really just makes me want to lock Rob Dyrdek in a cupboard somewhere until he agrees to stop trying to be Daniel Tosh; and, thankfully, new episodes of South Park which, while mildly offensive and occasionally depressing, give me faith in the world's ability to laugh at itself. But what I really want to talk about is a new show on MTV called "Friend Zone."

The concept is slightly adorable, I confess. A guest on the show comes on and admits that they have feelings for their best friend and would like to take it to the next level (move out of the metaphorical Friend Zone). The episode progresses with the friend helping them to plan a date for "someone special" and then right before the date is supposed to begin, the guest reveals their feelings to their friend, in hopes that the friend will agree to go on the date that was really intended for him/her.

This concept is cute...supposing the friend says yes or returns the feelings. But let's take a moment to look at this a different way -- what if they say no? I have two major complaints here. The first is that it seems incredibly sadistic to watch someone get their heartbroken on national television. This show would be entertaining if the endings were always happy, but to delight in watching some poor kid who put their heart on the line get turned down (and probably ruin a good friendship forever), is a kind of schadenfreude that leads me to worry about the human race. Not that a lot of things don't do that. See Rob Dyrdek's "Ridiculousness" for examples of other things that test my faith in humanity.

My other problem here is that anyone who legitimately cares about your feelings, I would think, wouldn't turn you down on national television. If someone is really your friend and they ask you on a date on a reality show, your thought process should probably be "I may not like him/her like that, but the only thing worse than getting turned down would be getting turned down in front of millions of viewers." And then you suck it up and go on the date...then break the news to them after. Because someone who would knowingly humiliate a good friend on television probably needs a lesson or two in what being a friend entails. Like, y'know, a bit of self-sacrifice and some compassion for the people you supposedly care about.

Just my input. Anyone with some quality/terrible TV suggestions, I would love to hear them!

Lovingly yours,
Rachel Leigh

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