“Take smaller bites or I’m going to have to Heimlich your butt,” Danny stated.
“You’re going to lick my butt,” Dante shrieked as curly tendrils fell into his eyes.
Danny panicked, “Oh, don’t say that! That’s worse than bastard.”
“Bastard!” delightedly screamed the little boy.
This is pretty much word-for-word the conversation Danny Bonaduce had with his 3-year-old son and demonstrates the sort of chaotic misunderstandings that rule his life. And if you are like me and millions of other Americans, you are addicted to his VH1 Celeb-reality TV show, “Breaking Bonaduce,” too. The former child star of Partridge Family fame has opened his home to cameras, shattering any notion we’d previously held about reality television.
Perhaps you are a fan for different reasons, but I tune in to see what chaos, lies, torture and manipulation Danny has in store for his long-suffering and tolerant wife, Gretchen. I am sure in real life we know and are close with people who are as unstable as Danny, but their lives aren’t being filmed for the world to see.
From his addictions to alcohol, sex, prescription drugs, steroids, etc to his incessant drama, this man is so outrageous that sometimes I can’t help but wonder if it’s all an intricate act engineered specifically to garner ratings.
What is so fascinating, not only about this man’s life, but about watching peoples’ personal lives implode in general? The trend holds true with the success of shows such as A&E’s “Intervention” and MTV’s “True Life,” which “exploit” subjects in their darkest moments. Do these shows make us feel better about the paths our lives have taken or are they merely a sick, twisted form of entertainment?
In recent years, reality TV has received heat for being menial and pointless. We need to get back to the humble and taboo beginnings first explored in the early years of MTV’s “The Real World,” which groundbreakingly delved into homosexuality and living with AIDS. However, with the advent/popularity of darker shows like “Breaking Bonaduce” which expose the seedier side of human nature, namely by airing dirty laundry, I feel as though there is hope that we can make a return to a genre of reality that focuses on what makes us uncomfortable as a society.
While it seems plain wrong to be entranced by the deterioration of lives and relationships, in my very humble opinion it is important for us to be exposed to such negativity as a gauge for our own well-being.
Maybe a glimpse into someone else’s demons will be the motivating factor that causes one to look in a mirror and realize, “I have a problem.” Or maybe they exist as a reference point for fits of self-pity that make us realize we don’t have it so bad after all.
Regardless of the reason, I’m rooting for the revolution.
Alicia Montalvo is a first year graduate student concentrating in sports medicine. Arguments may be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.