When I first saw the previews for America’s Toughest Jobs, one of the newest reality series, my curiosity was peaked. Out of all the reality shows one can choose from, this seemed to have a bit more quality than some.
The previews show them panning for gold, driving monster trucks, participating in a rodeo, lumberjacking, and a number of other hands-on, blue-collar occupations that do require a good amount of skill, strength, endurance, and nerve.
So as I am watching the show, a whole 15 minutes into it, I’m already about to turn it off. I guess I shouldn’t have expected quality, but the egos alone are enough to make me sick. I know the producers have to create drama, but sometimes I wonder if someone had to learn about Americans by watching our reality shows, how would they describe us?
Self-centered, greedy, arrogant, rude, vain, stubborn. Do I need to go on? I know not all participants in reality series fit this description and most of us display one or more of these characteristics from time to time, but sometimes I feel like this traits are pursued for these shows. Makes me wonder about the generation that has grown up with this as the entertainment staple. What would they list as some of America’s toughest jobs?
Would it be the social worker who works for so little, but gives so much? Maybe someone would list a teacher or mother, maybe a single dad. Since we are in an election year, maybe someone would talk about a community organizer (I know) or alderman (or woman). What about nurses? I could go on.
I’m not trying to take away from the jobs portrayed on the show; most have a purpose and place within society. My point is that maybe tough shouldn’t just be associated the physical capability. Sometimes tough is doing the job that requires the greatest sacrifice and offers the least amount of center-stage praise. Sometimes the shadows are where the real show takes place.