At the gym the other night, someone turned the television to an episode of Hell's Kitchen, a cooking reality show in which celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay selects the worst performer of each competition for elimination until a final contestant has the chance to be the top chef at a top restaurant.
The contestants apparently work at a real restaurant in Los Angeles, and I can't understand for the life of me why anyone would ever eat there. For one, there's Ramsay, screaming profanities in the kitchen that would probably not add to my dining ambience were I a patron. For another, the show has now run for some ten seasons and apparently any number of awful dishes have been poorly prepared, so why would you spend your money there knowing how lousy the cooks were?
Some stories suggest the restaurant isn't real but is actually a TV set. Who knows, but the chances are good there's something silly about it, given some of the real realities of a number of these unscripted presentations.
Mr. Springsteen originally wrote his song with the idea that "nothin's on" meant even with the then-astounding variety of 57 channels, the protagonist could not find anything he wanted to watch. As the number of channels increases, the song's meaning may have expanded as well: We may indeed be entertained, but as it turns out, we're being entertained by what is essentially nothing.