Fox has a new reality show coming up called "Married by America." In the interest of full disclosure, I’m going to admit right up front that I like a lot of the reality shows that have been put out over the past few years. Even ones that were widely reviled. I watched the Big Brothers. I love Survivor. And while I haven’t gotten excited about them like I have some of the others, I’m not offended by the various "marriage" shows. But based on the history of those shows, it seems pretty obvious to me that none of these marriages will ever last.
Ok, ok, that should have been obvious before any of the shows hit the air. But at least viewers could have fantasies that the televised marriages would actually mean something that the participants would live "happily ever after." At this point, I think even the fantasies have been crushed. Every reality show marriage so far has ended just as promptly as the shows did. So, what’s the point? Everyone knows, without a doubt, that this "marriage by america" is going to fail. We know it’ll probably fail within a month, and there’s no way it’ll last a year. Knowing that, I’d argue that it doesn’t even qualify as a real marriage. It’s just as much fiction as the marriage of Monica and Chandler on Friends. Maybe even more so; at least Courtney Cox Arquette and Matthew Perry have known each other for years.
Without any illusion of reality, why would anyone watch this show? There’s no character development. The story line, if there is one, depends on the supposed "reality" of the situation being presented. That’s gone, so I don’t see how the show can succeed. It makes me wonder: are Fox’s programming folks desperate or oblivious? Or maybe they know something I don’t. I guess we’ll find out in a few weeks.