The "trainwreck" metaphor is used so often when discussing the appeal of certain reality television shows that it's become cliche. But, being cliche doesn't make it untrue. There aren't many other ways to encapsulate how something so seemingly unwatchable can become watchable. At their best, The Real Basketball Wives of Hip-Hop manages to pull this off. They are orchestrated trainwrecks. This is why people watch.
And, if someone told you that, at 3:15pm today, two high speed cargo trains were going to crash into each other on live television — and that there'd be no casualties — you'd watch that too, for many of the same reasons. The idea of trains crashing into each other is naturally compelling.
But, if these were two Priuses crashing into each other while going five miles per hour, you would not watch. You wouldn't even watch if it happened outside of your window. Shit, it could be happening right now as I type this and I doubt I'd even stop typing and turn around. Despite having many of the same properties as a high speed trainwreck, a low speed Prius wreck does not move the needle. There could be an actual needle on site at the time of the crash and I doubt it would even move.
Sorority Sisters was a low speed Prius wreck. A month ago, I watched it for exactly 15 minutes — the three minutes it took to microwave some leftover ziti, the nine minutes I spent eating it, and the three minutes it took to find my remote — and I can't run out of ways to describe how uninteresting it was. It was a vacuum of interestingness. A black hole of intrigue. The only compelling thing about the show was whether it would get any less compelling. This wasn't even watching paint dry. Because new paint makes walls more interesting. This was watching paint sit in a paint can.
Thing is, pretty much everyone who attempted watching this show felt the same way, which is why I'm still puzzled there was so much pushback for it. Even without the petitions and the protests and the loss of sponsors, there was no way VH1 was bringing this motherfucking Prius wreck back for another season. I'm sure the reaction to the show made a difference, but protesting this was like blocking a blind man's jumpshot. You know he's going to miss, so why even make the effort?
That question's just a thought exercise now. The Prius wreck will soon be off the air for good, and those who signed the petitions and made the calls can do the Mutombo finger wag at the blind man. Good for them, I guess.