Reality TV - Truth and Lies, a look at the American CultureI’m not feeling well so I’m spending the day in bed watching a marathon of Reality TV shows on Xfinity On Demand, Hulu Plus, and Netflix. I started with Gordon Ramsey‘s “Kitchen Nightmares.” In nearly every episode the owner/manager lies. Lies about what they’re serving, how they’re serving it, and more. Worse, many of them say, “But everybody does it.”

The chef’s lie about when food was made, how it was made, and whose fault it is that the restaurant is in the filthy and disgusting shape it’s in. But worse, they lie about the safety of their food and that scares me. Seeing what’s going on in the kitchen of restaurants all over the US makes me leery of ever eating in a restaurant again.

Parking Wars” is another show I’ve watched many times. Different stories, same results. People park in no-parking or handicap zones and then throw a fit when they’re ticketed or towed. They use every lie in the book to try to get off. Many times I fall for their lies and I’m shocked when they finally admit they made it all up. I’ve got to admit, I feel like an idiot every time I fall for their lies.

But the worst? MTV’s “Catfish.” I’ve written about it before (read: Life Lessons: All I Really Need to Know I Learned on MTV) and it’s in the news right now because of the Manti Te’o fiasco. It’s a show about people falling in love on the Internet, but it always turns out that there are lies and deception behind the majority of every one of them.

Not Just Lying, They Cheat and Steal, Too

Then I watched episodes of Food Networks’ “Mystery Diner.” A new show that sends people in posing as customers or as employees equipped with hidden cameras. The owner and the host then watch hidden cameras that have been peppered throughout the restaurant. I’m shocked as I see employees stealing hundreds of dollars of food, wine, and cash and then when they’re confronted the boldly lie and say they didn’t do it. Even when confronted with the videotaped evidence, they continue to lie and fall back on the, “but everybody does it..” excuse. Unbelievable.

Is Lying Ever Ok?

As a longtime fan of “Big Brother” and “Survivor” I’ve seen plenty of lying on shows, but they always say “it’s a game.” But I’m starting to wonder with all the lies in the news lately, HUGE lies, by Lance Armstrong and Manti Te’o, is it time to de-stigmatize the whole issue or push harder for honesty? Is honesty really that important?

I think it is, but then we didn’t even lie to our kids about the Easter Bunny and Santa. We’re not saints, but we’ve always believed that if you’ll lie about small things how can you be trusted about the big stuff!

I don’t know the answer; I just know that every time I watch one of these shows I lose a little more respect for the human race.