The boob tube is awash in “reality” programming and has been for sometime. The genre’s newest products – those day-to-day chronicles of blue collar jobs – annoy and bore me more than any of the previous incarnations involving elimination rounds, confessionals, and/or tokens of faux affection in the form of roses or oversized clocks. These new shows are specifically male-oriented, diluted in testosterone, and DULL AS ALL HELL. The culprits include:
* Ice Road Truckers: Another of The History Channel’s non-history programs, this one documents the trials & tribulations of truckers driving Canada’s Dempster Highway. The Male-centricity of the show is underscored by the confessions of the trucker’s wives – worried & proud of their men! The fact that the truckers are blowing through untold amounts of fossil fuels to service the DeBeer’s diamond mines and the show gives no lip service to the environmental or human rights aspects of the industry doesn’t surprise me, but it does annoy me. Unless someone finally dies on that God Damned ice road, I don’t give a fuck what those boys are up to.
* Ax Men: Apparently, the History Channel thinks this type of show is quality programming, because they’ve hit us with another version of Ice Road. This time the show details the daily activities of loggers in the Pacific Northwest. Once again, women are non-existent in the Ax Men world, unless they are expressing concern for the logger’s safety (like a good wife or mother). Also, the environmental aspect of logging goes un-disclosed which makes me wary of the political motivations behind this show. “How dare you question the noble & historic profession of logging! People can die, you know!”
* Tougher in Alaska: Also the fault of The History Channel. This show chronicles various professions & aspects of life in Alaska, but still remains the realm of the Penis. *Yawn*
* Deadliest Catch: The God-Father of this kind of reality show, aired on The Discovery Channel, and probably the one that I have the least amount of beef with. Crab fishermen tend to be men & it actually is semi-entertaining.
* Black Gold: Tru TV has entered the fray with their own Man Job epic, this time the industry in question is the PR-needy purveyors of fossil fuels. Seriously? They aren’t even trying to hide their motivations anymore? See my issues with Ax Men since the problem with Black Gold is the same.
Dudes need shows too, I know, and obviously someone is watching these programs, but is it too much to ask for a little more equality in representation? Women do make up 46% of the American workforce, after all. I bet I’ll regret saying this when some network launches Secretaries! or The Secret Lives of Nurses, but whatever.