“Hellraisers. Heartbreakers. Lifesavers. Funseekers.”
That’s the tagline for MTV’s newest gem of a reality television show.
If you took “Grey’s Anatomy,” threw it in some neon scrubs, and bashed it in the head with “The Jersey Shore,” that’s what this show would look like.
When I first saw the commercial for “Scrubbing In,” I was sitting on a bright red couch in Cherry Berry. I felt upset, which is almost impossible when you’re sitting with a bowl of frozen yogurt. I couldn’t even put a finger on exactly what disturbed me about the trailer; it was an innate, instant hatred.
Perhaps it was the cinematography that threw me off. There is a line between artful juxtaposition and offensive mashing of images, and MTV crossed it when it ran a shot of an intubated older woman lying in a hospital bed right after a clip of a glitter-clad, intoxicated girl dancing in a club.
Or perhaps I was most offended by the scene that followed: the overplayed, zoomed-too-far-in drama shot of one of the nurses crying over something that had apparently gone wrong with one of her patients.
“Look, world!” it seems to say. “People who enjoy partying are also capable of exhibiting human sympathy!”
Or maybe I just hate the entirety of reality television culture. Judging by my overly bitter reaction to this whole thing, it could very well be the case.
However, it’s not just me who has had such a strong reaction to the soon-to-be-released show. One needs only to scroll down to the comments section of the home page on MTV’s website to get a taste of the criticism. Most of the comments are expressions of concern from practicing nurses, stating that the show disrespects their profession or worrying that it will result in negative interactions with future patients.
To an extent, I think these are valid concerns. It comes as no surprise that even people who work in a medical profession have fun, conduct relationships, and make mistakes. By no means do I believe that a person’s work capacity should be measured by hir actions outside of work. There was a time when it was okay to believe that teachers ceased to exist outside of school, but a majority of the MTV-watching population should be mature enough to understand that all people of all professions conduct human lives outside of the workplace.
But “outside” is the key word there; it is almost always problematic when personal and private lives are blended into one, and this show is a prime example. Not only does “Scrubbing In” mix two spheres that should always be isolated entities, it actually uses a profession that depends heavily on mutual patient-worker respect as a frame through which it can exploit these women’s actions.
No, I have not given this show a fair shot. No, I will not be tuning in to the premiere on October 24th to see if I have made an error in judgement; I am far too busy keeping up with “Modern Family,” “New Girl,” and “How I Met Your Mother” and re-watching “The Office” to add a new series to my itinerary.
I like television just as much as the next person. I do not harbor any hostility toward TV. What drives me crazy, though, is this growing trend of watching television shows that are loosely deemed depictions of “reality,” but shed no positive outlook or offer any quality content. When I sit down to watch an episode of one of my favorite programs after a day of classes, I do not want another dose of reality; I want a break from it.
The expanding popularity of shows like “Scrubbing In” does not allow for simple entertainment. It feeds an unhealthy way of thinking, a mentality that at least I don’t have it as bad as that guy. “Scrubbing In” is certainly not to blame for this destructive culture, but it adds another element: no longer does the reality show focus solely on the shenanigans of the individuals depicted; it uses the very real drama of sick and injured people, people whose lives are at stake, to up the ante.
This tendency to push the boundaries of acceptable entertainment is exactly what makes these types of shows so addicting, but it is also the reason that I urge everyone to avoid being sucked into the void of reality television.
Cummings is a member of the class of 2016.