Sunday, November 29, 2009

Reality Overload


I’ll confess that the charm of reality TV has always been lost on me. I just watch these ‘dramas’ with a puzzled eye. The public really can’t get enough of people behaving badly, yelling and screaming at each other or plotting someone’s downfall? Do they not get enough of that in real life? It seems a little redundant to me.



Not all of the shows focus on bringing out the worst in people, of course. I can truly see the attraction of shows like Dancing with the Stars and American Idol, even if they aren't auto-views for me. But for the most part I avoid reality TV like the plague. That obviously can't be said for the younger generation. Before I looked any of these shows up, my youngest son was able to rattle off most of them for me. I don't know whether to be impressed or saddened!


Producers love the shows because apparently they’re cheap to make. I suppose no one character is around long enough to command a high salary. And it's become so easy to be a 'star' on one of these reality shows that we have people pulling outrageous stunts in search for an entrance onto a show of their own. Whether a hoax involving a boy lost in a balloon or crashing a White House party, people are so desperate to get on TV they've taken a radical departure from taste and good sense.

My kids started watching the first episode of THE REAL WORLD and have gone on to introduce me to more reality shows than I ever wanted to see. There are no reality shows I watch regularly, but I’ve seen enough of these that I’m vaguely shocked. And when I discovered that there were more than 200 reality TV shows on, I got a bit nauseated. I guess with 180 channels you have to fill it with something.

Here are some of the reality TV shows that I came across:


Jon and Kate Plus Eight; Punk’d; Jackass; Pimp My Ride; Jersey Boys; Jersey Shore; Biggest Loser; Survivor; The Hills; The City; Amazing Race; Big Brother; The Real World: The Ruins; Supernanny;

Supermanny; Dance Your Ass Off; Dating in the Dark; Top Chef; Top Chef Masters; Tori and Dean; The Next Food Network Star; More to Love; Extreme Home Maker; Real Housewives; American Idol; America’s Got Talent; Dog the Bounty Hunter; So You think you can Dance; Dancing with the Stars; America’s Top Model; Cops; Hell’s Kitchen; I Love New York; The Bachelor; The Bachelorette; Flavor of Love; Beauty and the Geek; Pawn Stars; Parental Control; The Ultimate Fighter; The Contender; The Dog Whisperer; Operation Repo; Parking Wars; The Sing-Off; Iron Chef; Bride Zilla; Wife Swap; Little Couple; Seventeen and Counting; I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant; Mystery Diagnosis; Making the Band

America’s Next Top Dance Crew; Rock of Love; My Redneck Wedding; Strictest Parents; The Apprentice

Gene Simmons Family Jewels; Keeping up with the Kardashins; Iron Chef; What Not to Wear; House Hunters; Dirty Jobs; From G’s to Gents; Myth Busters; Ghost Hunters; The Girls Next Door;The Real Wedding Crashers.


How about you? Are any of these shows auto views for you? Or do you have another reality show that's a favorite?

41 comments:

Helen Brenna said...

Kylie, I watch very little reality TV. I've caught a few moments here and there of a few of them, but usually as I'm walking through the room and someone else is watching. They are a bit like train wrecks, aren't they?

Caroline said...

I would NEVER have guessed there are sooooo many!!

~Caroline

Cindy Gerard said...

Got to admit I love me some Survivor :o) Have no idea why. Dancing with the Stars - for the dancing, really - Project Runway - for the clothes, and yes, of course some of the drama because it's just so wayy over the top, Design Star - for the designs, and A Idol - for the talent - are pretty much it for me. I don't give two figs about what the Kardasians are doing, or the Atlanta Housewives or who the bridezillas are ticking off or any family oriented program. Just too invasive.

Pamela Keener said...

I absolutely love The Biggest Loser. I love to see the transformations as they lose the weight. This is the only reality show that I watch though I probably would get into the Amazing race but have never watched it.
Love & Hugs,
Pam

GunDiva said...

I have to admit, since I got married, I've been sucked into Top Chef (and Top Chef Masters), Iron Chef (and the Next Iron Chef), Chopped, The Next Food Network Star (Go Melissa!),Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares - are you sensing a theme here? Yeah, that's what happens when you marry a chef.

Also sucked into (thanks to the kids) America's Best Dance Crew and American Idol. The kids' "reality" shows I can live without.

And, I hate to admit it, I just watched a Bridezilla marathon last night that my SIL was watching. It's like watching a slow-motion train wreck. All I could say was, "that little girl shoulda been spanked when she was little."

KylieBrant said...

Helen, you're right. It's like a train wreck and suspecting that the more outrageous the people act the more 'popular' their character is certainly doesn't emulate real life!

KylieBrant said...

Caroline, I was shocked when I discovered that too!

Cindy, I was flabbergasted to discover there's another show called Find my Family for adoptees who want to find their birth parents or siblings. What if those people don't want to be found? Can you imagine if one pops up unexpectedly in your life, with cameras rolling? Very voyeuristic.

KylieBrant said...

Pamela, all my daughters DVR The Biggest Loser, lol so they share your enjoyment of that one!

GunDiva, I had no idea there were that many cooking reality shows! And yeah, wouldn't you cringe if that were *your* kid acting like that on one of those shows?

Michele Hauf said...

Dating In The Dark kills me! I've never seen it, but seriously? Dating. In the dark? Is the whole show that fuzzy green night-filming?

I have to admit Hoarders fascinates me. I always throw something out after watching that.

And I DIdn't Know I Was Pregnant is another strange fascination. Seriously? YOu didn't know you were pregnant? And I love it when the little kid is like "Mommy, where did that baby come from?"

Gene Simmons Family Jewels seems very staged, but yet, I can waste a half an hour on that one too. Go figure.

Michele Hauf said...

Oh, but my fav, of course, is Dancing With The Stars. I'm going through withdrawals now because it just ended. Louis and Kelly! They were awesome together this year. He really cared about her and she really grew. And so neat to see her parents sitting in the audience cheering her on.

KylieBrant said...

Michele I'm amazed you've seen I Didn't Know I was Pregnant. I actually knew of people like that...but they were usually quite heavy. But to have a show about it...that has to be made up, doesn't it?

Kathleen Eagle said...

I remember when my daughter started watching "Real World," and I thought--just as my parents used to say about Rock 'n Roll--this is clearly a flash in the pan. Who would watch this stuff? That's how much I know.

Kathleen Eagle said...

I don't understand how they can make a whole series out of some of this stuff. "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant"? I'm sure it can happen, but a whole series worth?

I had a high school student who hid it with a girdle until she went into labor and was taken to the clinic for "terrible cramps, maybe appendicitis." The kicker was (no, not the baby) that her mother was already there. She was a nurse's aide. Had no idea. Baby was a little blue, but okay. Oh, and the other kicker--the girl had been Homecoming queen only a couple of weeks before.

Michele Hauf said...

The Pregnant show has realistic reenactments! And the chicks are supposedly so thin they never even noticed! And then one day...stomach ache! And then...mommy is holding a baby on the bedroom floor!

:-)

lois greiman said...

in fifty years will society look back and wonder what we were smoking while all this 'reality' was going on? altho, granted, i can actually enjoy 'dancing'.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Chapter 3--the last, I promise--I loved the original "Trading Spaces." Was that a Reality Show? Love "Project Runway"--watch that one with my 7-yr-old granddaughter, who wants to be a model. I love weddings, but most of the wedding shows turned me off (kinda liked the one where the family gets like $5K to put together a wedding in a week--what was that called?) until I discovered "Fantasy Wedding"--something like that--where the wedding planner takes over from a struggling bride and puts together her dream wedding. Who can resist a Cinderella story like that?

Debra Dixon said...

I love the following and tape them because you can't go on line and get an episode:
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE
AMERICAN IDOL

And I occasionally catch:
LITTLE PEOPLE
THE LITTLE COUPLE

Oh, and PAWN STARS. Hubby found that and it's oddly fascinating. So of like ROADSHOW ANTIQUES but with drama. LOL!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Okay, one more comment ont he subject and then I promise to shut up.

The scary thing about all this is that with a million cable channels, there's room for a zillion of these things, and some people will do anything to get in front of a camera. Octo-mom and Balloon Boy are two sad cases. And crashing a White House state dinner is an insult to the entire American population. If those two get a show, you can have my TV.

Playground Monitor said...

I'll admit to being a Gilles Marini... er... Dancing with the Stars fan. I must like it for the dancing considering I didn't know who half this season's contestants were. I like AI for the talent. It's so great to watch these kids develop over the course of the competition. And I'm a Survivor junkie though I am really, really, really hoping Russell does not win this one. He makes Johnny Fairplay look like a saint.

I also like Nashville Star, the country music version of AI. I even went to a live taping of the show's second season. Now that was fun -- being a part of the show.

I agree with Lois that we'll probably look back down the road and wonder what we were smoking.

Marilyn

Michele Hauf said...

GIles! Love that man. He was robbed of the trophy! (I love him so much, his dancing inspired my April story, "The Vampire's Tango".) ;-)

KylieBrant said...

Kathleen, exactly. We put any ignorant slob (and I am thinking of My Redneck Wedding and Wife Swap in particular) in front of a camera. This makes others think 'hey that's my chance! What can I do to get on?"

KylieBrant said...

Debra when my son rattled off Pawn star I thought he said Porn Star, lol!

KylieBrant said...

Marilyn, one of the aides from my building was the runner up on Survivor last year (Gabon). Susie Smith. So that season was the only one I've ever watched. The strategy that people play is interesting...and they sort of out-strategized themselves by letting her fly under the radar and almost win!

Helen Brenna said...

LOL I was walking through the family room once when my dd was watching the didn't know I was pg show. OMG, sucked me in though for a minute or two it was so outlandish.

Those people crashing the white house!! Kathy, I think you better start a list of takers for your TV! Wouldn't surprise me for a minute is someone jumps all over them.

KylieBrant said...

That was so ridiculous and forgive me for being cynical about whether the producers knew they were going to do that exact thing. They claim they thought the couple really had an invite but it sure makes for better TV if they were crashing it...so I tend to think the show knew all along.

catslady said...

For a long time I only watched Survivor, then I got hooked on American Idol and now Dancing with the Stars and America's got %alent. 4 that's not too bad considering all the ones you just mentioned lol.

catslady said...

oops - that's Talent lol.

Michele Hauf said...

Speaking of reality shows, I have never watched American Idol, and yet...I have been listening to Adam Lambert's album over and over today. He's awesome!

EllenToo said...

There is NO reality show that is good enough to get me to watch it. I just don't understand why people like them unless they like to watch people making fools of themselves which is what happens on most reality shows.

KylieBrant said...

Catslady, your percentage is pretty good, lol, considering all of them out there!

KylieBrant said...

Kathleen, did you see where that couple that crashed the party is trying to 'sell' their story???? Sort of tells everyone just what sort of people they are.

I hope they get charged with trespassing or something.

KylieBrant said...

EllenToo, I really really dislike the ones that seem to encourage poor and uncivil behavior. Like there's not already enough of that in our world?

KylieBrant said...

Lois, I often wonder what these producers are smokin'...!

Christie Ridgway said...

I am not a dedicated fan of a particular reality show but have seen =some= episodes of You Think You Can Dance, Biggest Loser, Little People, Big World, Little Couple, I Didn't Know I was Pregnant. Trading Spaces.

Oh! And the hero of my June book is the star of a reality show along the lines of Extreme Home Makeover, so I've watched that too.

I'm more of a fiction girl, though. This season I LOVE The Good Wife. Somebody on Twitter turned me on to it and I'm so grateful!

Indigo said...

I don't get the appeal of reality shows. The only thing I could think would even allude to all these shows is the possibility of watching someone else with either:
a) A better life - rich and famous
b) Far more worse off than you are.
c) So mindless, it doesn't take alot of intelligence to follow.

In the end, the last one is pretty close to my feelings on reality television.

In any case, I agree a train wreck is the best description yet. (Hugs)Indigo

LINDA M. FAULKNER said...

I pretty much gave up TV years ago. On occasion, my husband insists that I sit in the living room with him when he's watching the boob tube, so I bring my book or laptop--quality time, you see. Once in a while, the music or, more likely, someone yelling, will catch my interest.

Seems like talk-show hosts spend most of their time ridiculing and denigrating everyone else--when they're not shouting. Reality TV, what I've seen of it, isn't like any sort of real life I've ever encountered. And the commercials!

I really HATE the ones advertising pharmaceuticals: "Here you go, folks, take a pill; we've got one for everything, even though some of them cause blindness, heart attacks, cancer..."

Of course, it's been a while since I've actually watched an entire reality TV show, so it may not be fair of me to judge the current offerings. Then again, at least I'm not offering my opinion with bad language, finger-pointing, sensationalism, and/or lewdness so I can attract the most attention.

Yeesh! Seems a great deal of the adult world has gone adolescent!

Martha Lawson said...

I hate reality TV!! I only watch a couple hours a week and that's NCIS, NCIS LA, and CSI!!

KylieBrant said...

Christie, I love The Good Wife!! I've been watching it from the beginning and it's soooo good. Julianne does a great job and the nuances of the emotions that go with the decisions she's faced with...really fabulous.

KylieBrant said...

Indigo, for those shows where you just watch people behaving badly, I think you hit it--people like seeing others worse off than them, or people who make them feel better about themselves. Yech.

KylieBrant said...

Linda, exactly. And when you see people behaving like that on TV, people who are rewarded with their own show or winning money...then couple that with sports stars who behave badly, it's no wonder our kids think it's okay to act like that at public events.

KylieBrant said...

Martha, you may watch TV at my house! NCIS, The Good Wife and occasionally Two and a Half Men and Castle. Oh, Grey's Anatomy. That's about the sum total of my TV watching these days.