Television: Virtuous Reality

ARE SURVIVOR-STYLE SHOWS CORRUPTING SOCIETY? RELAX. WE REVEAL THEIR DIRTY LITTLE SECRET: THEY'RE MORAL

With the debuts this week of NBC's Darwinian, trash-talking quiz show The Weakest Link and UPN's blind-dates-in-bondage series Chains of Love, you can expect to hear cries that TV has finally gone too far. (Again!) But reality-TV critics and fans alike fail to see that the shows are really tiny morality plays. Underneath the sleaze are sermons illustrating simple, school-primer virtues. You may watch for the bikinis and backstabbing, but everything you need to know about life you can learn from reality.

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Can the very rules of a game make it immoral? Susan Sarandon thinks so. The statement-minded actress condescended...

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