Over the course of 28 seasons — yes, 28 — MTV’s “The Real World” has changed a lot. If you’re old like me, you probably look back on the wonderfulness of the first few seasons (“New York City,” “Los Angeles,” San Francisco”) and sigh about how the cast used to represent a wide array of people who were always smart and thoughtful, if different from each other. Nowadays, it seems the primary requirements for being on “The Real World” are being stereotypically physically attractive and willing to cause drama. But speaking of drama, the one constant on “The Real World” has always been that if a cast member gets physically violent in any way with another cast member, they are immediately pulled aside by producers and, 95 percent of the time, sent home. There have been a few exceptions (for example, Stephen on “The Real World: Seattle” was sent to anger management after he slapped departing cast member Irene), but for the most part, any cast member who physically attacks another is forced to pack their bags and go. This has also been true on “Real World” spinoffs, “Road Rules” and “The Challenge.”
Well, that appears to not be the case anymore. Keep reading »
I watch a lot of reality TV. It’s a secret shame that I can’t share with my boyfriend, who is generally mega-tolerant of my TV preferences, but just cannot hang with “The Real Housewives of Douche Town” or whatever. I can respect that. It’s terrible stuff, really — an entire TV culture built around ridiculing the rich (or sort of rich) to make us feel better about ourselves. Or showing us how people who make duck whistles live, or the dark side of the pawn business. Did you ever know you needed to know these things? Because, yeah. Things certainly have changed since “The Real World: New York.” But I still love it.
With that in mind, PBS came up with a pithy new ad campaign, designed to make you really question what “reality” that reality TV is presenting. They’ve created a series of fake TV shows posted alongside the phrase “The fact that you thought was a real TV show says a lot about the state of TV.” So with that in mind, we’ve got a test for you. Can you tell which of these is a real TV show and which is part of PBS’s campaign? No cheating! Keep reading »
Most reality shows can only offer their participants free booze and a fleeting chance at fame, but a new reality show called “Mars One” is upping the ante in a big, big way: they’re offering their cast a one-way ticket to Mars. Yes, really. A Dutch company is now accepting applications for aspiring astronauts/reality TV stars. The plan is for the first group of humans to depart for their new home planet in 2023, with subsequent crews joining them every two years (the journey from Earth to Mars takes seven months). Colonizing the red planet will cost an estimated $6 billion, which is where the reality show angle comes in.
According to Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp, “Mars One intends to maintain an ongoing, global media event, from astronaut selection to training, from liftoff to landing…If humans land on Mars, everyone will want to watch. It will be bigger than the Olympic Games.” Potential participants need to keep in mind that the show might turn out to be more like “The Hunger Games” than “Mars-y Shore”: “There will be emergencies and deaths,” Lansdorp said. “We need to make sure that crew members can continue without those people.” Eesh. Keep reading »
I was compelled to hate watch Ryan Lochte’s new reality show, “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?” and I’m here to report back that, JEAH, he is just as purely, ridiculously idiotic as you imagined. I’ve narrowed the episode down to my favorite scene for the sake of brevity. But you should know, there were so many unbelievable moments. Like when the producer asked him if he was a player and Ryan responded, “Describe player.”
But far and away, the most entertaining tidbit is when Ryan is having a movie night with his sisters and reveals that his favorite flick is “What Women Want.” But he calls it “What Woman Wants.” Ryan gets a lot of things wrong. He also takes very long pauses after being asked questions and rarely finishes his sentences. “One of my favorite movies is ‘What Woman Want.’ The Mel Gibson one … If I could read woman’s minds, I would be king of the world,” he says. I don’t know if that’s the case. Keep reading »
In Touch did an absolutely terrifying photo spread of the cast of “Dance Moms’” featuring Abby Lee Miller as the black swan. Abby is way, way scarier than Natalie Portman, by the way. The images perfectly convey the dysfunctional nature of the show, which makes me feel so many mixed emotions when I watch: confusion, amusement, outrage … but mostly fear. [In Touch]
Pediatric dentist Dr. Misee Harris of Kentucky is petitioning to become the first ever Black “Bachelorette.” This prospect means a lot is surfacing for me regarding the harmful stereotypes reinforced by women of color on reality television. How would she be received? If she did get an opportunity to be on the show and chose a non-black man, what would the social implications of that be? But more than that, I feel disheartened because I know that this reality reflects how America feels about who deserves to be happy and who doesn’t. Keep reading »
Well, the journey is almost over. Last week, Bachelor Bronze visited the final four’s hometowns and sent sweet Des packing because he was totallys cared of her tattooed brother. This week, it’s time to get the romance on, as Sean and the final three travel to Thailand so Sean can bang all three women on the Fantasty Suite before choosing which two he wants to introduce to his parents. Wait, Sean doesn’t do that. I forgot he’s a born-again virgin. Maybe he’ll finger bang them? Let’s find out! Keep reading »
It’s kind of a fact that British TV is far superior to American TV, which is why American TV steals its best ideas from across the pond. Take the new British dating show “My Little Princess,” debuting next week. “My Little Princess” is a mix of “The Bachelor” and your local Ren Faire. A fair maiden has a bunch of forsoothly lads chasing after her affections. They’re dressed as princes. Her dad is there to regulate. There’s a catapult, lots of men with hoses and waterplay, and each episode two guys compete for her affections by singing a power ballad. And a passel of men in tights. Men. In. Tights.
So yeah, it’s basically perfect.
I recently received an email from a talent agent who is working with a production company specializing in reality television. This particular company, which has produced a number of popular (and apparently award-winning) reality shows, is looking to turn their lens on families. They reached out to me as a potential subject.
The talent agent started his email by complimenting my writing and said he enjoys following my work. Flattery will get you
nowhere everywhere. He suggested that this opportunity might be a way to share my “expertise and insight” with a larger audience. He provided a few more details, then invited my to set up a time to have an on camera interview with them to see if it was a good fit.
And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t the slightest bit tempted. Keep reading »