On Jan. 1, Court TV became truTV. The network specializes in video recordings of real-life law enforcement and rescue activities.
A few episodes of “COPS” or similar shows can make me believe my late father was right when he told me as a teen and young adult that “no one but hoodlums stay out past midnight.”
In their new tag line, however, the renamed network distinguishes between the “actuality” they broadcast and the so-called “reality” shows offered by MTV and others.
“Reality” television has come to mean showing irresponsible behavior by untrained, yet willing actors who (unlike the criminals on “COPS”) welcome the public exposure of their misdeeds.
Joel McHale, the wiry and witty host of E!’s “The Soup” has noted three things are required for success on a “reality television” show: (1.) a desire to embarrass parents (2.) a very low self-esteem, and (3.) an ability to cry at even the most mundane matters.
A third attribute, it seems, is needed as well: the complete absence of any sense of shame.
There is some debate over whether “reality TV” is “real.” Wrong question.
The better one is whether all “real behavior” deserves public exposure.