Reality TV: Who Has the Final Say

What a wise man says about a TV fad.

by Dena J. Dyer

The October 20, 2001, issue of TV Guide reported that, mainly due to the September 11 terrorist attacks, “reality” television just might be on its way out. Americans now have a new reality — terrorism, war, bombings, strip searches — to deal with.

I wasn’t too surprised when I read that reality TV may have ridden out the crest of the entertainment wave. To be honest, I was even a little bit relieved. As I was reading one of my favorite books lately, I thought about many of these shows. The author of the book had some great advice that readily applies to many of the participants.

Wise words

This author would probably ask Temptation Island couples, “Why would you trade enduring intimacies . . . for dalliance with a promiscuous stranger?” and “Can you build a fire in your lap and not burn your pants?” (I like that one!)

Perhaps he’d give this advice to a PopStar2 wannabe: “Easy come, easy go, but steady diligence pays off.”

What would he say to cast members of The Mole? “Evil scheming distorts the schemer; peace-planning brings joy to the planner.”

My least favorite entry into the reality TV competition for viewers — ElimiDate Deluxe (yikes!) — brings to mind this quote: “Wise living gets rewarded with honor; stupid living gets the booby prize.”

The writer might tell the Love Cruise guys and gals (who often spew angry words after an emotional challenge): “The more talk, the less truth; the wise measure their words” or “Mean-spirited slander is heartless; quiet discretion accompanies good sense.”

Hmmm . . . discretion. A lost word in this age of “letting it all hang out” — sometimes literally — in front of millions of viewers each week.

Here’s what my author says that applies to Survivor contestants: “Isn’t it obvious that conspirators lose out, while the thoughtful win love and trust?” and “Don’t figure ways of taking advantage of your neighbor when he’s sitting there trusting and unsuspecting.”

For Fear Factor folks: “The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.”


You may have guessed by now that my favorite book is Proverbs, written by the wisest man who ever lived: King Solomon. I’ve quoted from The Message, a contemporary translation of the Bible, by Eugene Peterson.

Now who says the Bible isn’t relevant in today’s world?

Just listen to one of my favorite verses from Proverbs: “Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say.” That’s surely applicable for everyone on The Weakest Link, especially when Ann Robinson says, “Goodbye!”

Oh, one final quote from Proverbs 28, for all those guys and gals who think “reality TV” is the way to get ahead in life: “If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.”

Bible verses included in this article: Proverbs 3:29, 35; 5:20; 6:27; 10:19; 11:12; 12:20; 13:11; 14:22; 16:33; 28:26; 29:25