The critical technology for the Industrial Revolution is argued to be the drunken stupor of a generation. Shirky picks “the social lubricant without wheels” or the television sitcom as the critical technology for the twentieth century. While television sitcoms are great, I do not agree that they are critical technology for the twentieth century.
Reality TV seems to me to be the critical technology for the twentieth century. Viewers get to live vicariously through Reality Television stars or experience realties that are not their own. Television series like American Idol and The Voice are interactive and allow the viewers to interact and create the reality. While TV shows like Duck Dynasty, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and Dance Moms; viewers get to see “how the other half lives” or view realities polar to their own reality. There is something about reality television that America just loves. Even with shows ridiculous as Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.