I did two things on Tuesday night. I watched the series finale of TLC’s Little People Big World, and I finished Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.
I don’t typically watch LPBW, but have caught it often enough to know the names of the kids and general facts about the family. In a nutshell: Matt and Amy are little people, they have four kids, three average height, 1 little, they live on a farm in the Northwest, the family likes/plays soccer. I’m not sure how long the show has been on but I have to say I’m pretty sure that TLC somehow tapped my college house as I came up with this idea way back when TLC pretty much only had shows whose titles ended in “story”: A Wedding Story, A Dating Story, A Baby Story. Oh well, anyway.
Matt and Amy have somehow been captivating viewers for a while now with their daily lives (which are just that-lives). All fall, TLC has been advertising this last season with commercials suggesting a sour outcome for the couple-close-ups on Amy, close ups on Matt, sad faces, flashes of the twins at much younger ages, nostalgic music.
So Tuesday, when I realized it was series finale night-I wanted to see what was up (though I’ve not watched a single other episode in over 2 years). It was pretty anticlimactic but also really depressing. The twins shop for an apartment and realize being grown-ups is way harder and more expensive than it looks. And Matt and Amy discuss whether or not to sell their family farm of 20 years. They go look at other homes to see what’s out there. They fight about what would be the office in their potential next home. Amy drips oil (accidentally from her car) on the drive way, and Matt freaks out. It’s pretty awkward. The kids are all interviewed saying their parents have a lot to figure out, and admit that divorce has been mentioned. The show ends abruptly with both Matt and Amy suggesting separately that their lives may be going in different directions.
So I snapped off the TV and finished my book. And how do they correlate, you ask?
The Hunger Games is the story set far in the future in a place that used to be the United States. It is now a country divided into 12 districts and a Capital. Due to some uprisings 70+ years ago, the Capitol punishes the districts once a year by requiring 24 recruits (1 boy and 1 girl from each district) drawn at random to compete in a brutal war called the Hunger Games. The winner is the one child that stays alive. These “games” are a fight to the death and are televised for the nation to watch.
How very similar to the world we live in now. No, we are not watching people literally battle it out to the death, but we do love a good drama. We cannot turn away from the carnage that is reality television. So, just as TLC planned it, millions of viewers probably tuned in (like I did) to see if Matt and Amy would make it or fall apart. And they are (possibly) just one couple in a long line of reality marriages gone awry: Nick and Jessica, Jon and Kate, Hulk and Linda Hogan, etc, etc. So my question is this-if in 2010, we flippantly make sport of the American marriage, what will we be doing in 2110?
PS. Read The Hunger Games! It’s a page turner and way more interesting the reality trash! 🙂