Friday, December 28, 2007

Kathleen: Reality (Show) Check

Miss Not-a-Fan-Of-Reality-Shows has a confession to make. The premise for my March book, MYSTIC HORSEMAN (sequel to RIDE A PAINTED PONY) was inspired in part by a reality show. If you've read RAPP, you won't be surprised to learn that MH is Dillon Black's story. If you haven't, well, you still have time. But for purposes of today's discussion, our hero is an Indian cowboy who's been busy pulling himself up by his bootstraps since his divorce. Ex-wife Monica, meanwhile, has been raising the kids and becoming a successful TV show decorator. Dillon has new dreams, Monica has new problems, and along comes an opportunity to bring everybody together. It's an Extreme Makeover Home Edition-type show called "Who's Our Neighbor."

I'm really not such a big fan of most reality shows. But I like decorating and remodeling shows. Generally, I like the carpenters.
Here's one I like. Andrew started on "While You Were Out," went to "Trading Spaces," and then became "The Take Home Handyman." Looks terrific in a toolbelt. Who wouldn't take him home?

I like this one, too. Carter replaced Ty as the Everywoman's Dream Carpenter on "Trading Spaces." He has his own show now, but I haven't followed.
Still, he's cute.

But Ty was the inspiration for the Hollywood carpenter, Tate Fox, in MYSTIC HORSEMAN. Just looks. I know nothing about Ty's character. His ego is probably minuscule compared to Tate's.

My "Trading Spaces" addiction waned after they changed the format. I miss Paige. She was the viewer's conduit into the show--like the viewpoint character or the heroine in our fiction--and I think that's missing from the show now.

But my topic is Reality Shows, which were supposed to fill the void during the writers' strike. Most of them leave me cold. "Dancing With the Stars"? Can't get into it. "Idol"? Nope. (Love Jennifer Hudson, though.) I watched "The Biggest Loser" when one of my daughter's bridesmaids was a competitor. Stopped watching when she was eliminated. Have no interest in what it's like to grow up Gotti. "Survivor"? Blech! (Fodder for some of the humor in MYSTIC HORSEMAN.)
I do like "Project Runway." I like the story. Yeah, I know, the "Survivor" gimmick is there--cutthroat competition--but no matter how wacky the designers get, Heidi and Tim serve as anchors for me. And I like the creativity aspect. Designing clothes and decorating/remodeling are activities that appeal to me. It's all about character and situation.

Reality shows: What's the appeal? Which ones have you hooked? Which ones don't you get? Do you have an idea for a great reality show?


Cindy Gerard said...

The new book sounds great, Kathy. And I can see Ty as an inspiration for a really dynamic character.
As to reality shows, I think I've already confessed to being a Survivor, Dancing with the Stars and and Idol fan. What's the appeal? Not sure really. Perhaps it's the Cinderella aspect of Idol, the dog eat dog psychology of Survivor and seeing celebrities out of their element on Dancing. plus the pro dancers are REALLY incredible to watch.:o)
In any event, I like the break from today's news and just a little mindless unwinding.

Christie Ridgway said...

I love Ty since Trading Spaces! I watch a little bit of many reality shows but am not devoted to any. I think it's the unscripted aspect of it (though of course they're all edited and set-up to an extent) that doesn't appeal to me. I like =story= and reality TV is not always satisfying to me because who I identify with is sometimes eliminated--poof!--there goes my reason for watching.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Years ago my daughter got into one of the originals--"Real World"--and I thought it was tedious. Soap meets Jerry Springer. It's interesting to see where it's led to and wonder where it will go. The fact that they can get around the writers' strike with reality is scary, too. Reminds me of "Fahrenheit 451." Remember how the heroine's all excited because she's next in line to be a TV star for 10 minutes? I want well-written story, too.

Extreme Makeover Home reminds me of the old "Queen For a Day." Part of my mother's era of daytime drama. She preferred soaps--thought it undignified for a woman to tell her troubles to the world. (So does Dillon.)

I watched a show about the process the makers of EMHE go through, and they get tons of tragic stories in their mailbag. Imagine being the one who has to make the choices. (Yep, that person is the other heroine in HORSEMAN. You get 2 for the price of 1.)

Michele Hauf said...

I just watched a bio on TY the other day. I think it was on the ET channel. He seems like such a down-to-earth guy. But he's got ADHD so has always been very energetic and creative. The dude built a three-story tree house when he was 12. Love that.

The only reality show I can't miss is Dancing With The Stars. I love Max. 'nuff said.

The one reality show that I never try to watch, but always end up watching with great fascination if I channel surf onto it is...The Girls Next Door. Yeah, the one with the 3 Playboy bunnies and Hef. Kendra irritates. Holly is an idiot, wanting to have Hef's baby, and I don't even know the other chick's name. But I am just glued to the set if I happen on the show. Weird.

I'm always telling the hubby they should have a writers reality show. but that would be major boring, cameras angled on writers sitting before the keyboard all day. If only there was a way to tap into all the commotion going on in our brains...

Playground Monitor said...

I love Maks too. He can tango with me anyday. *g* Actually that's one the DH and I watch together because we've taken ballroom classes and love to do our version of the critique. We also like Idol (but only once they've got to Hollywood week) and Survivor (he's watched from the beginning but I started watching when they went to Africa cause the DH had spent 6 weeks in Kenya and I wanted to see what it looked like. Umpteen seasons later I'm still watching). We went to a live taping of Nashville Star (country music version of American Idol but without an age limit and it has a requirement that one week you have to perform an original song).

The DH watched The Apprentice. I'm not a business person so it had no appeal for me. The DH kept trying to get me excited about it. I turned the tables on him and bored him to tears at the dinner table one night with my Red Hat Society stuff. No more cries of, "Hey honey, come watch Apprentice cause you'll really enjoy this."

The DH started writing a novel a few years ago about a reality show made up of people who'd been in the entertainment business but had given it up for various reasons. The show would give them a "Second Chance" at fame. I wish he'd finish it cause his synopsis and first chapter were great.


Kathleen Eagle said...

Oooh, Marilyn, your dh's concept sounds intriguing, especially the second chance at fame part. Norma Desmond, anyone?

Melissa said...

Okay, I'm not a reality fan, either. But TY is hot in a geeky sort of way. And Idunno, I can handle that reality show. I guess because it's benitfitting others in need, not just the show.
Oh, and hot damn, I hadn't seen that Rescue Me yet. I can't wait for that!!

lois greiman said...

I don't know half of the shows mentioned. What does that say about me? But I do like to watch dancing. The athleticism and grace fascinate me.

I'm not sure what the main appeal of reality shows is, but I know that people like to feel that they 'know' others. Can connect with them on a personal basis, and maybe that's what drives the premise.