In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 20, 2008 / 14 Adar I 5768

An overdose of reality

By Malcolm Fleschner

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Recently, reports began circulating that the Hollywood writers strike may end soon. This can only be viewed as good news for those of us who are tired of tuning in to our favorite shows only to see, for example, an hour of the cast of "Lost" aimlessly sitting around on the beach, poking sticks in the sand and occasionally opening their mouths to speak but with no words coming out.

It's no better over on Fox, where for three months agent Jack Bauer has been powerless to stop the dozens of terrorist acts committed on American soil every hour. Unable to set up a single perimeter, download any schematics to his cell phone or even bark "There's no time!" to a spineless superior, Bauer has been anxiously pacing in his office for 12 straight hours, breaking the silence only sporadically by looking directly into the camera and shouting, "Dammit!"

Another unfortunate consequence of the writers strike has been broadcasters' increased reliance on "reality" programs. When these shows first gained popularity, many viewers hoped that the phenomenon would soon fade, much like previous television fads, including:

  • Sitcoms about hayseeds ("Beverly Hillbillies," "Green Acres," "Petticoat Junction")

  • Shows with superintelligent animals that could communicate with humans ("Lassie," "Mr. Ed," "Flipper")

  • Shows featuring women with supernatural powers ("Bewitched," "I Dream of Jeannie")

  • Attempts to boost long-running shows' ratings by introducing a new baby ("Family Ties"), adopted cousin ("Brady Bunch") or wayward orphan portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio ("Growing Pains" — really!).

But instead of dying out, the reality TV genre has actually grown in strength, much like some sort of mutant creature fed by ambient broadcasting waves and viewer stupidity. Today's reality shows are even spawning sequels, spinoffs, spoofs, "all-star" seasons and reunion shows. Clearly, it's only a matter of time before the producers of "Survivor" announce they're spicing up the show by introducing a tribe with a baby contestant. Either that or a talking baboon.

The reality premise itself has evolved as well. Early installments tended to follow a similar formula: sequester a diverse group of ordinary citizens under the same roof or on a tropical island and see how they respond when they get into arguments, compete in unusual "challenges" and are forced to eat sheep testicles.

The next great reality show innovation was the introduction of celebrities. Or, more precisely, "celebrities." Most common nowadays are the shows featuring D-list stars who use a reality show to overcome specific life struggles, such as former teen idol Scott Baio and his commitment phobia, wrestler Hulk Hogan with his out-of-control family or newlyweds Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson navigating married life (how did that work out, anyway?). It appears that, when confronted with any major life crisis, today's celebrities have two options: either go on a reality show or into rehab.

But wait! That decision just got a whole lot easier, thanks to my new favorite entry into the reality television pantheon: "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew." If you enjoyed reality shows where famous people get wasted and then crash their cars, assault police officers and vomit all over themselves, just imagine how you'll enjoy watching the very same celebrities get sober and then go through withdrawal, assault their therapists and vomit all over themselves.

If the writers strike does drag on, the networks will likely continue demanding more of this type of programming. The problem, however, is that the nation's supply of has-been and drug-addicted celebrities is already beginning to dry up. Faced with such a crippling shortage, desperate producers will eventually turn to average Americans to star in such shows — perhaps without even getting permission! In fact, since this process is probably already under way, I've decided to include the following as a public service:

Signs you may be unwittingly participating in a reality TV show:

  • Someone with a camera follows you everywhere you go, and you're not a toddler.

  • You frequently get through awkward, disgusting or painful activities by repeating to yourself, "Come on, you're doing this for a million bucks."

  • Immediately following a confrontation with a co-worker, family member or neighbor, a headset-wearing stranger approaches, asking you to re-enact the altercation, "so we can get takes from different angles."

  • People are constantly critiquing your talents as a singer, dancer, model, chef, fashion designer, business person or prospective mate for rapper Flavor Flav.

  • You just got voted out of the house you own.

If you do suspect you've become a reality TV star, don't panic. For one thing, panicking is a ratings grabber, and will likely get you picked up for a second season. Just ride out the storm and soon your show will probably meet the same fate as most reality programs and fade into obscurity. Unless you do something foolish like have a baby, that is.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Malcolm Fleschner is a humor columnist for The DC Examiner. Let him know what you think by clicking here.


02/14/08: A developing situation
01/30/08: I can tech it or leave it
01/02/08: Confessions of a coke addict
01/02/08: Our bills are due
12/13/07: Going (to lunch) once, going twice…
11/28/07: Out with the old
11/06/07: My latest pet project
11/06/07: Can't tune it out
10/23/07: Something special in the hair
09/12/07: Can I have your attention, please?
09/12/07: Houston, we have an image problem
08/21/07: In the heat of fashion
08/09/07: Let's get in the game
06/13/07: You gonna eat that?
05/08/07: That's disinter-tainment
05/02/07:You Are (not) Getting Sleepy...
04/18/07: No time like Father Time
03/15/07: Deface the Nation
03/08/07: More gifts? You shouldn't have
02/22/07: Relationships can be such a chore
12/05/06: Who's calling the shots?
11/09/06: I'm taking selling to a whole new level
10/27/06: Some skills are beyond repair
10/18/06: You can't tech it with you
10/04/06: Award to the wise
08/24/06: Phrased and Confused
08/09/06: We're Gonna Party Like it's $19.99
07/19/06: Just Singing in the Brain
05/24/06: Who says you can't go home again?
05/11/06: When nightly news stories go off script
04/26/06: Cents and sensibility: A thought for your pennies
03/16/06: The day the Muzak died
02/23/06: Checkbook diplomacy begins at home
02/15/06: Today's toys: Where learning means earning

© 2006, Malcolm Fleschner