Has Reality TV hit rock bottom?

Well, no, probably not...

But seriously, "Celebrity Cooking Showdown?" Following hard upon the success of "Dancing With the Stars" and "Skating With Celebrities," NBC has come up with its own version of "let's take some D-list celebrities and put them in some sort of vaguely competitive but subjectively judged situation, and televise the whole damn thing!"

How is any of this entertaining to watch? Who wants to watch Tom Arnold caramelizing shallots? Who does watch it? All the people who weren't/aren't watching "Arrested Development" and all the other good shows that don't find an audience, I guess. No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public, they say. Or is it overestimating? I don't know. Either way the saying doesn't make a lot of sense...but you get my point: the majority of the people who make TV assume that their audience is composed largely of idiots, and they're right.

I don't want to rant about "nobody watches good TV," even though they don't. That doesn't so much bother me. What sort of amazes me is how many people watch bad TV. What's entertaining about the eighteen different versions of Science Cops? How many times can you really watch a fatass with an improbably hot wife make mother-in-law jokes that were old when people were doing them on the vaudeville circuit? What do you get out of watching whatsisname and his team of idiots build a new house for a family of bible-thumpers?

We (and here I'm speaking about myself and Mle, but it applies generally to a broad section of the American populace) are in a bad habit of watching whatever's on TV, whether we really want to watch it or not. I think we're culturally trained to have the TV on. It's easy, it's mindless, it doesn't take any real effort on our part. I don't ever want to be one of those smug "I don't watch TV, I don't even own one" assholes. I don't inherently dislike television. There's some really great stuff on TV, stuff worth watching. But you have to look for it amongst the rest of the aptly-described "vast wasteland" like looking for an oasis in the desert.