It’s a phenomenon that has swept the nation. With few exceptions, it’s one that the Schrocks haven’t embraced.
It’s reality TV, and it looks like it’s here to stay.
Every year, a plethora of new reality shows pops up, and from what I can see, most of them have little to do with reality. Call me old fashioned, but I’m usually exhausted by day’s end with my own reality. The stuffing’s coming out at the seams, and I have little energy left to watch someone else’s.
Oh, it’s not that I have nothing in common, reality shows and I. In fact, there are a few that resonate with me, and the long-running Survivor series is one. Or the name does, anyway.
If Hollywood wants to showcase some real survivors, I can think of a few. I know a mom, for instance, who has four sons. In fact, there are days when this poor, beleaguered woman feels that she’s actually got five, depending on what mood their dad is in.
Take what happened the other day when the dad came home from work. This busy, smallish mom I know was upstairs at her desk, finishing the day’s reports, when a ruckus arose from the floor below. Somewhere down there, the alleged grownup was pounding the family pet (a.k.a. Little Brother) with much hollering, thrashing and giggling.
The mother sighed, knowing from experience what was really being said. “I love you, and I’m terribly glad to see you again.” That’s what the tussling meant. Remembering that the other pet they once had (a beagle named Copper) was a boy, too, she sighed again, long and deep.
See? Right there, you could have a hit show. Literally. They hit each other, and you show it ‘cause it’s all in love (well, mostly). Dads of all ages would identify. Moms who’ve raised boys would, too, along with anyone else who is a boy, has a boy or knows a boy. That’s a real broad base, and a network would love it.
In many shows, guns are a real crowd pleaser. We—uh, the family I know has those, too. At their house in the country, windows are merely shooting stations from which you aim at varmints with BB guns. Yup and yes. That can happen there in the Land of Men.
When, say, a Davy Crockett springs into action, a crowd gathers. Oblivious to the delicate lace panels that filter the light, they pick off the pests that infiltrate the grounds. Forget the Wild West. It’s the Wild Midwest, and it’s a reality. Put that in your pilot, Mr. Burnett.
Moms who raise boys and live to tell about it are survivors, but I think perhaps those who raise girls are survivors, too. While I don’t have any girls, I have friends who do, and I have nieces. This means I hear stuff.
A Mother Who Knows reports that her adolescent daughter can go from shockingly grownup to moody with a chance of tantrums in the flick of a ponytail. And another friend, also raising daughters, reported that crying incidents were high at their house.
I listened, stunned, when she told me about the roller coaster they’d ridden with a “simple” volleyball tryout. They’d gotten three days’ worth of crying out of that deal, and she said it in a matter of fact tone such as one might use when discussing the stock market instead of a hormonal tsunami.
Afraid she wouldn’t make it, Hopeful One had burst into tears. That was round one. When she did make it, she cried again. That was round two. Then, when she learned that certain friends hadn’t made it, there were tears again. Round three. That, God love her, was her reality, but it certainly wasn’t mine.
Nope. No girls here with wild emotional swings or pink, sparkly stuff (okay, maybe one). But I did have something she didn’t have. I had superheroes.
We had a sighting again the other day, and when it came, I knew. It was the underwear.
When you’re in first grade, it’s the little things that do it. The world’s still exciting, people are still nice and underwear with pictures makes you happy.
He announced it right straight up. “I’m wearing Superman,” he said, beaming proud.
“Do you feel super?” I asked him, curious.
“Oh, yes.” This, in all sincerity. “I feel super.” And the next day, the sighting.
It was a flash of red that caught my eye. I looked up from my desk just in time to catch the flutter of a red cape as it disappeared ‘round the corner and down the stairs. It was Flash, the superhero.
That’s my reality. A little boy, lost in the world of supers, saving the planet in a bright red cape that matches his underwear. Three big brothers that scuffle and devour home cooking. One big, strong dad that oversees it all and (sometimes) stirs it up.
It may not play in Hollywood, but it’s the most real show I know. I think I rather like it.