1) Inspirational Stories. There is no reality show that inspires me more than The Biggest Loser. These people aren’t just on a TV show, they are changing their lives! When the show first aired, the contestants were moderately overweight, now they are severely obese and have so many ailments that if they don’t start losing weight now, they are honestly not going to make it. They work out so hard, completely change their eating habits, and pretty much desert their families for this life-altering experience. All of their stories are so inspirational. I mean, not so inspirational that I don’t snack while I’m watching it each week, but inspirational nonetheless.
2) Reality competitions based on skill. One of my favorite reality shows is Project Runway simply because it is based on talent and skill. Each week, these designers have to create a look that makes pompous and harsh people like Michael Kors and Nina Garcia smile; that’s a feat in itself. Sure, things get a little caddy, especially when sewing machines are involved, but I can overlook that because at the end of each episode, the person who is least deserving goes home. This doesn’t happen on a lot of other reality-based competitions.
3) 90s Real World/Road Rules. Ah, the good old days. Remember when Real World wasn’t always set in tropical locales? How about when their houses didn’t have multiple hot tubs? Or when the housemates actually had jobs, talked about societal issues, and didn’t make out with everyone? Let’s take it even a step further, do you even remember when Road Rules existed? The 90s was a really good time for reality television on MTV. I was totally obsessed with Real World and Road Rules when I was younger that I couldn’t wait until I turned 18 so that I could apply. Of course, they never would’ve chosen me because I’m pretty boring. That and sadly, I turned 18 in 2000, when these shows officially jumped the shark. So, unless I enhanced my figure, started making out with girls, or developed some sort of drug or alcohol problem, I could kiss that dream goodbye.
4) Nigel Barker. Sometimes reality shows introduce otherwise unknown hotties to Middle America and the perfect example is Mr. Nigel Barker. I’m not really into high fashion or fashion photography, so without Tyra Banks’ crazy, I never would have known the gloriousness that is Nigel Barker. He’s tall, has an accent, and he’s gorgeous. I have since stopped watching ANTM because I just can’t stand how Tyra-centric it is, but I do watch early reruns simply for a glimpse of Nigel. Rawr.
5) Cops. Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you? Bad boys, bad boys. The original reality show as far as I’m concerned. I don’t think that I know anyone who doesn’t like this show. Its popularity spans all generations and class structures. I also love the variety within the show. Sometimes things get really dangerous on the mean streets and sometimes they get really hilarious in a trailer park. One thing that perplexes me is that criminals always seem to be dressed in their underwear. Maybe they shouldn’t waste their time with drug dealing and illegal firearms and start stealing some clothes.
1) Fake Celebrities. One of the most irritating aspects of this emergence of reality shows are the fake celebrities that they have produced. They have no real skills or talents and yet they make more money than I will ever make. They get paid to make appearances, get book deals, and will never do anything worthwhile for the world. And these people will do just about anything to get in the spotlight; anything from manufacturing a marriage (Heidi and Spencer, any Kardashian) to dissolve their marriage (Jessica and Nick, Dave and Carmen, Jon and Kate). Dear entertainment magazines and news shows, stop covering these people, you’re only making it worse.
2) Drama. No reality show is immune from the drama, even the good ones. Designers cry when judges ask them questions on the runway. Biggest losers cry when they are getting trained, sitting, standing, weighed in, or voting someone off. Housewives are constantly yelling and ripping off each other’s wigs. And those vapids from the Hills are always whining about something or someone. Oh the drama! I live in reality and my life isn’t that dramatic.
3) MTV Reality Shows (excluding True Life). MTV sucks anymore, that’s no secret. They have no real dedication to music, they don’t show any music videos, and their reality shows are crap. They somehow managed to take a ground-breaking reality show like Real World and completely ruin it forever. To be honest, I don’t really even watch MTV so I’m not exactly sure what reality shows are still around. I do think that someone needs to explain to the execs over at MTV that taking non-famous people, giving them scripts to read, and calling it reality, really isn’t reality. It’s just plain ol’ scripted TV. That’s what you’re doing and it blows. True Life is cool though because they basically give a video camera to teenagers and have them talk about real issues. Thank goodness that show hasn’t been cancelled yet. Give it time though.
4) VH1 Reality Shows. Haven’t all of those Rock of Love/Flava of Love people found their soulmates yet? How many seasons does it take? I have a hard time getting invested in these shows when they come back season after season to date more skanks only to discover that their “true loves” aren’t right for them following the reunion shows. I don’t know which network is winning trashy reality show competition, MTV or VH1. Oh I know, you both fail, at original programming.
5) Product Placement. The biggest offender of product placement is my dear Biggest Loser. During the episode this past week, they were only three minutes into the program before it became an advertisement for JetBlue. The remainder of the episode was plagued with spots from Extra Sugar-Free Gum, Ziploc, and Subway. Did you know that all of those products can help you lose weight? Yeah, they really can’t but they sure do make it seem that way. I guess that you need to advertise during your show when the network decides that your show is worth a two hour slot during primetime. Today’s post is brought to you by Cheerios, by the way.