So Vermont called for a Constitutional Convention to craft an amendment that overturns Citizens United, and does not tie money to protected speech. Way to go guys and gals, I take my hate off to you, and send you my warmest regards. But I am not going to talk about it anymore, I am going to kill your brain cells talking about unreality television...
Remember "The Real World", yeah, I do... Back when MTV stopped being about music on television, and put a bunch of people in the same house, they created the first reality television program. It might have been something else, but I can't remember anymore. I probably could if I wanted to, but I don't. It started a trend of crap television that is still here, and growing stronger.
Today we have Judge Judy, Pawn Stars, Hardcore Pawn, American Choppers (I think that finally died), the riveting American Pickers, American Idol, and others have killed the braincells of children in the summers, and everyone every day of every week. And they just keep spreading and feeding off each other. The Real World became Hogan Knows Best and the Osborns, and the rest became the same show just wearing different lipstick...
Lets look at how some of these shows match up to reality, shall we?
First lets use Judge Judy and other reality court room dramas. Judge Judy admits that she heads out west and can film about a weeks worth of content in a day. That would be about 7 episodes, with between one and four cases heard per episode. Now a high work load is not uncommon in the system. Usually Judges will hear a ton of cases in a day. It starts with traffic court in many areas, these are straight forward. You got caught doing something, you got a ticket, and if you are before the judge, you are fighting said ticket. Generally that is as close as reality television gets to the real world counterpart. Both the litigants give their facts to the judge, the judge rules, you pay or you do not pay. When it comes to civil matters like held by Judge Judy and others, that is where everything is different. Sure, the Judge will say are all parties present, the judge might ask if the dispute has been resolved, if not it is set aside for later. When it is heard everyone comes into the courtroom, and the case is heard. Sometimes it is just a bench hearing with only a judge, sometimes it is a jury hearing, it depends on who wants what.
So, it starts off with the judge quickly glancing over the initial filing of paperwork and the response. Evidence is always brought forth as well as testimony from witnesses who have shown up on their own accord or have been issued a summons. Whereas Judge Judy and others review the initial filing of paperwork and the responses. As far as I can tell witnesses are not summonsed, they tend to come if they want to or not. As far as the social commentary, or judge dressing down people, its a rare occurrence. If you start doing some things wrong, IE multiple people trying to question a witness, and even then its usually a polite warning, or joke that this isn't Judge Judy or something. Outside of that, court is rarely as you see it on television. After all is said and done, a judgement is issued. This could be for either side of the case, it can be appealed, and life moves on.
It makes sense if you think about it, companies usually have attorneys on retainer who will act on their behalf, and I advise anyone going to court, get one for yourself. It cuts down on it. But as for Judge Judy and others, they cram civil hearings into the same day. Now these proceedings are edited down for time frame, but even so, most judges will only hear one or two civil cases a day, not seven or more a day. Judge Judy is likely spending around thirty minutes per case, where a judge usually spends an hour or more depending on the claims made.
Next lets talk about these reality pawn shop shows that we see on various channels. First you have two or more versions of Hardcore Pawn. Lets start by saying, if I walked into a business and the employers were screeching at each other, I would probably walk right back out the door I just came in. If I observed and employee of the store being crappy to a customer (regardless of context) I would also leave. But, they do things like that on television because people seem to love the drama. It is why I have a little respect for shows like Pawn Stars, while it isn't actually how a pawnshop works, it does try to come close. If you have never been in one, you should go, you might be surprised what they have, and the decent prices many have. Now one aspect that is true to life in all the pawn shop shows is that they try to get you off what you have for as cheap a price as they can get. They also tend to mark up the price when they sell it, but you can come in and make offers, and they might let it go. I have gotten some really nice things out of pawn shops in the past, for a pretty good price (a ring for a grand that was worth about two grand). It just requires being civil and talking to the employee about it, if the tag says five hundred, ask whats the best they can do with it. Now, as I was saying about the Hardcore Pawn shows, they constantly bicker and fight, they treat customers fairly bad, and lets be honest, most pawn shops I have been too do not treat customers that way, and I have never seen employees acting like they do.
And lets not even talk about shows like All Worked Up, Lizard Lick Towing, South Beach Tow, and Operation Repo. If the people portrayed in that show did the things they did, they would be in prison. Look, I like Lizard Lick Towing, I think its funny, and I do feel that Ron and Amy Shirley are probably cool people to hang around. Same with their staff, but the recreations of their show that the producers neglect to tell people about are my major problem with the show. I don't recall ever seeing a disclaimer before the start of the show, or at any point during the show that it is a recreation of events that actually happened. Because lets be honest, I can see someone dumping gasoline on a repo-man's truck and setting it on fire.
If you do not believe me, go spend a day at the courthouse in a courtroom, go to a pawn shop and you will see drastic differences between the real world and the unreality television.