Yes, it’s a guilty pleasure, but go ahead and watch

Posted Feb. 12, 2009, at 6:18 p.m.

Why is it that all the people who talk to me about their reality TV-watching habits do so as if they’re ashamed of what they’re doing? At times, I feel like I’m in a confessional with people whispering to me their darkest secrets and dirtiest deeds.

I don’t care if you’re addicted to “Dancing With the Stars”; I won’t judge you if you can’t live a week without “Survivor”; and to be honest, I won’t even roll my eyes if you were one of the many viewers who was mesmerized by “Flavor of Love.”

Reality TV, perhaps because some of it is much like watching a train wreck, has become one of America’s most shameful addictions, but I’m here to tell you that it’s OK to watch.

Do you think the generations before us felt guilty for watching “Married With Children” or “Perfect Strangers”? Of course not, because it was the television of the time.

Today, we’re hit over the head with reality TV. It’s on during primetime, lunchtime, and even has its own network for those of us who just can’t seem to get enough.

If you watched all day, every day, you might have a problem, but for now just sit back, relax, set your TiVo or DVR and enjoy the brainless drama that unfolds every night on your television screen.

Speaking of brainless drama, The Man on the Couch and I had a serious discussion this week about what has happened to all the previous winners of shows such as “American Idol,” “Nashville Star” and “America’s Got Talent.”

Obviously Carrie Underwood has gone on to do great things, and every once in a while we hear about Clay Aiken or Ruben Studdard, but where is Terry Fator with his puppets, or “Idol” season three winner Fantasia Barrino? What ever happened to funny men Dat Phan or John Hefron? And when are Angela and Zac Hacker going to make a big-time television or concert appearance?

Here’s what I propose. A new show called “Reality Reunion” where all the former winners of the previous big-time reality shows give us a glimpse of what their lives are like now, what has changed and what they’re working on. After all, reality TV isn’t like a “Friends” or “M.A.S.H” because the characters of our generation are real people. Even after the grand finale, the reality of life kicks in and there’s more to be learned.

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