Mean Betty on MTV, The Situation, and the Rehabilitation of Reality Television
Do you believe that MTV warned Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino about his substance abuse problems? Mean Betty investigates!
Kittens, it is no secret that Jersey Shore’s own Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino has recently been seeking treatment for a rather serious problem. After initially denying reports that he had checked into a rehab facility, Michael released a statement at the end of March announcing that there was truth to the rumor: “I have voluntarily taken steps to get control of a prescription medication problem I had due to exhaustion,” he said. “I have spent the past several weeks getting treatment for this problem and recuperating from my work and appearance schedule. I appreciate my fans support and love you guys.” Although Meanie has very little patience for this “Situation” and his ilk, she was, nevertheless, happy to hear that he had decided to get help. Addiction is no laughing matter.
Of course, though, there have been various conflicting rumors about exactly what Mr. Sitch’s problem was. He himself put forth the “prescription meds/exhaustion” reason that seems so very popular with the stars (Meanie supposes that it sounds better than many alternatives); others, however, have reported recreational drugs and/or, of course, alcohol. Meanie wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the problem was, in reality, some combination of the above—the vices of celebrity are many, and Jersey Shore relies on the sort of hijinks amplified by such substances to keep its ratings high.
But interestingly, now there is this: As reported by the gossip mongers at TMZ, MTV allegedly warned dear Michael repeatedly about his excessive drinking as the years have gone by. Sources (unnamed, naturally) allegedly revealed to the site that producers from both MTV and Jersey Shore production company 495 Productions first sat the party boy down for a chat in 2010, during the show’s second season. After being told that his drinking had become such a problem that it was making it difficult to shoot the show, Michael promised to pull himself together.
Unfortunately, his promise went the way of all things during season three, and the producers sat him down again—this time threatening to replace him if he didn’t wise up. Again Michael agreed, and again he attempted to control himself between seasons three and four. Italy looked to be a good change for the boy, as he was apparently at his best during that particular season; but once the crew returned to the US of A, he relapsed again, resulting in a third talk and another threat of recasting.
Truthfully? Meanie finds this a wee bit… surprising. MTV, after all, has proven time and time again that they will do anything to ensure high ratings, no matter how low they must stoop; consequently, Meanie thinks it more likely that they actively encouraged Michael’s self-destructive behavior simply because they knew that it made for good television. If this turned out to be true, it would stand to reason that now that Michael has gone in for treatment, they would feel the need to cover their behinds, as it were—hence the “We warned you!” rumors.
Of course, that’s all just speculation on Meanie’s part. MTV may not have actually encouraged The Situation’s bad behavior; and they may not have actually tried to talk him out of it, either (indeed, MTV commented to TMZ that there are currently no plans to replace any of the Jersey Shore cast members). Whatever the case, though, it does rather nicely illustrate the problem with “reality television.” You see, kittens, the success of reality programming depends on its participants’ willingness to play caricatures of themselves, and the more outrageous their behavior, the better—even if they might be harming themselves by doing so. Even if the studios don’t necessarily tell their stars this fact, those stars have learned purely by the public’s reaction to them that it’s true—and by extension, they also know that their careers depend on their continuing the act.
How far is too far, kittens? Is it time for reality television to head to rehab for exhaustion? Meanie thinks it might be—before someone really gets hurt.
Gasp! Kittens! Meanie has had a thought! What if the little bun in Snooki’s oven is actually the Savior of Reality Television, sent down from on high to rescue us from this sort of programming’s terrible, destructive grasp? It’s a miracle! Hallelujah!