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.