Do you know some reality stars from TV who look like they could use a real-life kick in the pants? A “desperate bachelorette” maybe? A “d-bag”? An “angry black bitch”? These are just a few of the stock characters you see over and over again on reality TV — excuse me, “reality TV.” Media critic Jennifer L. Pozner — who just happens to be my mentor and friend — has just published Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV, which examines the past decade of “reality TV” and how its statements on race, gender and class just happen to echo cultural stereotypes. (For example, men and women of color were pretty much absent from “reality TV” until Flavor of Love — a “dating” show where women clean up after and perform sexual favors for the rapper Flavor Flav.) To promote the book, Pozner has filmed a bunch of webisodes of “Reality Rehab With Dr. Jenn” in which she pretends to be a therapist staging an intervention on our favorite “reality TV” stereotypes.
Here’s the intervention on “the desperate bachelorette.” (After liveblogging “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” all these years, I’m sure Amelia is intimately familiar with this one.) That quote in the beginning about rubbing a guy’s feet, cooking him dinner, and being a “servant” to him? Yup, that’s a real quote from Christine, a 24-year-old administrative assistant on “The Bachelor.”
Next up, the “angry black bitch,” a quick-to-eff-you-up stereotype you’ll remember from “The Apprentice,” “America’s Next Top Model,” and “Flavor of Love,” just to name a few shows.
And lastly, Dr. Jenn intervenes on the “real housewife,” who acts just as self-important as any of the ladies you see on Bravo.
I bought my copy of Reality Bites Back last night and as an ashamed “Jersey Shore“-aholic, I’ll admit I’m loving it so far. Jennifer Pozner watched over 1,000 hours of “reality TV” and spoke with a bunch of crew members of past shows about what really goes on in the editing room — anonymously, of course, because their contractual agreements are ironclad. I’ll be interviewing her on The Frisky about the book just as soon as I’m finished reading!