Sunday, October 10, 2004

Reality TV

Reality TV gets a lot of criticism, but it's revitalizing television, in my opinion. Television of 5 to 10 years ago was composed of a lot of badly written, badly acted sitcoms, many of which didn't last more than a season. Although there were "Friends" and "Seinfield", there were also many, many sitcoms that weren't watercooler talk, let alone worth watching or "Must See TV".

I used to rarely watch TV, preferring the higher production values and experience of movies instead, but currently, I'm hooked on the following:
  1. The Apprentice. With the cut-throat competitiveness of the "interviewees", the fun tasks assigned (and the ability to second guess each decision from your couch), and the egotistical dourness of "The Donald", this show is addictive.
  2. Survivor. Some consider this the original reality show (you could argue that The Real World, on MTV, or PBS' American Family holds that title), but it certainly started the current trend. This is hit or miss, but the brutal nature of this show and the clever competitions that keep the starving, scheming competitors of this show on their toes often makes this clever television.
  3. Fear Factor. Much lower in production values than the two above, but they know what they are doing -- spectacular stunts, beautiful contestants, and the eating of nauseating food products. The "Couples Fear Factor", which I understand gave NBC it's highest ratings for this show, was fun stuff.
  4. The Bachelor. One of the worst produced shows on television, and each episode has enough pauses, "coming up next" segments, and uses of the word "connection" to be edited into a 10 minute show, but the general cattiness and beauty of the women contestants make this fun. Extra bonus fun is found in making fun of the doofus bachelors they get (Bass fishermen?), and the bad spelling found in the titles on the bottom of the screen ("The Guys's house"?). Coming up next: "The Most Shocking... rose ceremony EVER!"
  5. The Real World. This show is WAY out of being close to targeted to my demographic, but it still is vicarious fun. Like Survivor, this show depends on the personalities of its cast members, but it can be youthful fun, like the Real World: Las Vegas season was, spawning a career from Trishelle and inspiring youth everywhere.

One of the best sites online for commentary on reality shows is http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com. Articles are free and very humorous.

Or even better, get out there and get some fresh air and sun - or read a book!

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