The joys of reality television


So….I watch waaaaay too much reality TV. Probably more than I do scripted shows but I don’t really care much because I prefer to binge-watch those. I have to admit up until a few years ago, past some singing competitions and The Contender (an old amateur boxing show), I didn’t really bother with Reality TV. It barely got an eye-roll out of me because it wasn’t on my radar at all. I assumed it was just an hour in which something tacky and stupid occurred and as well as a lot of fighting that never went anywhere.

And now that I’ve seen way too many reality TV shows, I can safely say that my assumption was right. However, given that petty drama is expected from some of these shows, you can’t really go into it with high expectations. You just want to be entertained. Which I am. In most cases, it’s usually clips of arguments/fights that get me into a show. Usually these fights are over something so bizarre – e.g. on Real Housewives of Orange County a good half an hour was dedicated to someone breaking a bow from a cake…at a name-changing party.

There was also book-gate on NYC.

Fighting with party planner because a poet wasn’t arranged in time. This is freaking hilarious. ‘I eat bitches like you every day!’.

Not even baby showers are drama-free.

In a way, reality TV is a lot easier to stomach when you realise that most of it is ‘acting’. That’s not just limited to the housewives, but shows like Kitchen Nightmares, where Gordon Ramsay shows up at a failing restaurant and verbally assaults the owners. The owners make a big deal about not wanting Gordon around and watch meekly as he drags filthy shit out of their freezers and by the end of the episode, they have pulled a complete 180 and thank Gordon from rescuing them from the lion’s den. Various owners have pretty much admitted that they basically let Gordon yell at them for the sake of good TV (and in return for a paid makeover). The people who give their pre-Gordonvention opinions of the food have to apply to be there on that particular day. It’s still very watchable though, and that’s probably down to how producer-driven these things are.

My favourite thing though is related to the Housewives franchise. Having seen at least one season of most of them, they’re all the same. Right down to the phrases used to the point where you can kind of imagine someone in the background holding up a huge sign with line on it. Popular phrases include:

‘Let’s be cordial’, which is really code for ‘Let’s continue to be phony’.

‘I’m never speaking to her again’ is usually code for ‘Oh, but I’m going to invite her to my party tomorrow because the producers are making me!’

‘I don’t lie!’ = Will be caught lying on camera.

“I don’t want any drama tonight! = I am going to go out of my way to create drama.

And so on. It can be kind of draining at times, but there’s something compelling about watching a bunch of self-absorbed people allow themselves to be manipulated by production.

I did discover a show this year that is somehow the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. It’s called Mystery Diners and airs on The Food Network.

Basically this guy Charles runs a company that will install several cameras in a restaurant and monitor the workers and kitchen staff. Usually the owner has a very specific complaint like fish going missing, or money disappearing and Charles said in his mystery diners – usually a new work and a customer – to investigate. It’s quite an interesting show, really, but there are many instances where it’s very obvious that it’s not as genuine as they’d have us believe. For one, the acting…or dare I say over acting by the restaurant staff is nothing short of hilarious. Especially at the end of the episode when they’re busted for stealing or whatever, they generally tend to fly in faux outrage before being fired on the spot. And it’s kind of odd that they wouldn’t notice the eight cameras installed (we never see what these look like of course).

There are a whole bunch of episodes on Youtube that I recommend you check out. It’s all very unintentionally amusing.

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6 comments

  1. Ahahaha! Mystery Diners! I was just talking about that show with someone the other day. It’s some of the most staged, exaggerated drama out there…and I love it! ❤

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    1. Mystery Diners is amazing, haha. I loved the one with the fish resturant place where the owner physically wrestled the shirt off one of the workers after the ‘reveal’. Priceless!! And there’s Charles with his monotone introduction every episode and general lack of charisma. Bless him.

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  2. I must seek out Mystery Diners it sounds amusing! I liked the U.K. Kitchen Nightmares but couldn’t stand the Fox version after a couple years. It became too overdramatic. Gordon came to Baltimore a few years ago to help a cafe owned by a very obnoxious woman. She thinks she’s a local celebrity but she pissed off the neighborhood. So they had tons of locals telling her what an insufferable bitch she is and I guarantee none of that was scripted, it was funny.
    I’m still hooked on dumb ass Mob Wives and Survivor.

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    1. There are tons of episodes on YouTube if you have time. 🙂

      Which episode of Kitchen Nightmares was that? Most of the owners were…not all with it lol! Or they were good actors because they had me stressed out just from watching them haha. LOL at it not being scripted. I suppose that makes sense!

      I haven’t seen the UK version lol maybe I’ll check it out 🙂 I caught some of Mob Wives haha! Such a bizarre show but addictive. I’ll have to watch it from the beginning at some point.

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  3. The only thing worse than drama is scripted drama. I can’t do reality shows. I used to love storage wars. Now it’s all about one liners and bitching about everybody. Maybe the issue is that they’re all the same. Booooring.

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    1. They are all the same! I have never seen storage wars but didn’t someone reveal that the items were put there beforehand and not just found in storage. Or is that a different show? Lol. The problem with these shows is that the producers obviously look at what was the most popular in the earlier seasons and try to recreate it in the most clumsy way possible. It’s a little mean to set people up like that but at the same time a lot of participants are so fame-desperate that I can’t help being entertained. However, I do find RH draining at times so I tend to have it on in the background. Things like Twitter, FB and social media have made the one-liners much worse. Some of them have blatantly been written by someone else, lol.

      At the same time, they do require less investment than non-reality shows, which is why I still watch them. These days you watch a show and it makes little sense until you search out some answers in an interview somewhere. Meh.

      Thanks for the comment!! 🙂

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