Reality TV finally goes too far with 911 show

Nov. 27, 2012 @ 08:07 AM

On a television network formerly known as “Arts and Entertainment,” viewers will soon see a show called “Panic 911” featuring people calling for help at what may well be one of the worst times of their lives.

Why would a network executive think a show like that is a good idea? Why would anyone want to watch that show?

Has our society sunk to such a low that we’re reduced to reveling in the misery of others for our entertainment? It seems this trend of reality television has found a new low in the race to find the lowest common denominator.

There are a handful of reality shows that are family friendly, but if you watch “Duck Dynasty” with your kids because there’s no swearing, no innuendo and no … ahem … activities shown on screen with the aid of night-vision cameras, you’re constantly hammered by advertisements for “Panic 911.” When a 7-year-old television junkie sees that commercial, looks up at you and asks why someone would want to watch that, I’d say that’s a pretty good hint that the show goes over the line.

The adventures of the Robertson clan that made a fortune on handmade duck calls might not be for everyone, but the show centers around the closeness of the family. They work together, they go into the swamp to run crawfish traps together, and every show ends with the entire family seated around the dinner table and the patriarch offering his thanks for the good fortune and the good food. But hey, look here, shows like that are few and far between.

Too many of them are centered around a house full of self-centered people who only care about the next party, the next bottle, the next way to stab a roommate in the back and the next round of adult activities, perhaps with someone they don’t even know.

As Phil Robertson says, I’d much rather my kids be happy, happy, happy than crabby, crabby, crabby, and I’d much rather them follow the example of people like the Robertsons than Snooki.

If we’re stuck with reality TV, I’d much rather watch the misadventures of a bunch of swamp-loving rednecks out to have a good time and have some laughs than be dragged down by hearing people begging for help when someone has a gun on them or they’re inside a car rapidly filling with water.

Isn’t life already hard enough without partaking in someone else’s misery?


John Josey is the managing editor of the News-Topic. Reach him via e-mail at