Warning: I’m probably going to sound terribly cranky in this post. I also realize that a lot of people (including, possibly, you) love this stuff on TV. I’m giving out a lot of snark about these TV shows, of course, but I know that they couldn’t be hits unless a lot of people dug them and kept watching, year after year. I just have a real low threshold for dealing with shows that are (to me) pretty obvious as to being in a formula that repeats endlessly with little change. Same with books, movies, you name it. I get bored, and I ask myself – why am I watching this? What is the thing that draws me to watch this?
But in general, ‘reality’ shows are **not** my cup of tea. They want a big audience, but *I’m* not part of it and **not** the targeted audience. And the more obvious it is that the producers have artificially boosted the conflict or set up the whole thing like a ‘scripted’ TV drama, the less I want to see it.
In my own household, I’m in the minority on this viewpoint about these shows. Susan and Mere watch a ton of ‘reality’ shows on HGTV about housing fix up, housing sales and the like, and while I can occasionally sit and watch them, in general, a little of that goes a very long way.
The ‘property’ ones are endless formulaic redos of the same sort of thing over and over again…requiring exceptional circumstances for homeowners.
+ horrific former contractor work that has to be fixed, or
+ people thinking that they can get a hugely nicer home for cheaper in the same high-demand neighborhoods or
+ people who have crap rooms or yards who end up having everything redone from IKEA leftovers and the like, usually in some ultra-kitchy or ultra-overload fashion.
In each case, it’s pretty obvious what’s going to happen in This Episode, so I generally don’t give a care as to the resolution. The fixes are made and look great, the dummies who want something for nothing end up **not** getting what they say they want and painfully have to settle for less, and the redecorated rooms, while an **improvement**, will probably be radically re-done by the time six weeks had passed by because they’ll get tired of the new.
(It’s also scary to see some of the prices these people are paying in Toronto or New Jersey or whatever for a not-that-great place to live; I can’t *conceive* of looking at houses that start at $650,000 and top out at maybe **twice** that, unless I’d *maybe* won the lottery. I just gasp and choke at their **oh, sure, $950,000, no problem** attitude. It just reinforces the idea that these people don’t hang in the real world I know.)
Likewise, Mere digs the design competition / art / movie makeup programs, and again, I can take it or leave it. Mostly, the stuff they do on these are made to impress other ahtpeople who are looking for Out-There stuff, and they frequently either get too involved in something that won’t work and falls apart, or they do something way over the top that looks like hell.
Never having been anyone’s idea of hip, trendy and all of that, it’s all lost on me. The movie makeup stuff *sometimes* turns out some really good creative stuff, but – well, don’t wait for it.
Part of the problem with all of these ‘*aht*’ competitions (and likewise food-based competitions) is that the people they attract into this stuff are mostly either (1) people who talk big, have big egos, and implode because they really don’t know what they’re doing, or (2) somewhat experienced and even more egocentric. If the hosts are the ones doing the picking, and know about these sorts coming in, I can only conclude that the problem people came into the mix as deliberate cannon fodder to expel early OR that the People In Charge want the twittiness as a means of causing conflict and stir. *Eeeeeeeeech* and no thanks.
Most of the ‘made up sporty’ sorts of programs have people competing in weirdly rigged up events that would be difficult to set up, complicated and physically demanding to succeed in, and the producers want them to be really rah-rah about it all, so they can gamely slog towards the finish after being mushed by the Acme Boxing Machine or whatever. Or, as in the SURVIVOR series(s), they want to drum up tension and upset between players because it makes watchable fights and backstabbing.
Generally, it’s a matter of how much physical abuse, motivation for some amount of bucks (usually not that great) and strategizing evileness you can muster – and it’s not worth the trouble, and promotes greed and backstabbing as a lifestyle. **No thanks**.
Then there’s the ‘fix their lifestyle’ ones. How to force a hoarder to dump their crap out the door and mend their obviously destructive life-ruts. How to switch moms in two families – usually with two diametrically opposed lifestyles…like Army Camp versus No Care Hippies. Lots of conflict, and supposedly some understanding on the part of both households that they’re oversold on what they were doing in the first place. I would bet real money that as deeply entrenched the hoarder types are and the extreme lifestyle variants are, that long-term, things will return to about 95+% of the way they were in the first place. People get stuck into these ways of approach to their lives, and they’re going to need something bigger and longer or a jolt to change them around. Atomic weaponry, maybe.
Don’t start me on the ‘all in the dysfunctional celebs family’ ones or the ‘batchelor/spinster’ formats.
I do **not** care what sort of things vapid celebrities do, especially if they are celebrities because they have acted in stupid or slutty ways in public. When Lindsey Lohan did the remake of the PARENT TRAP, I didn’t expect her to be a drug-addled mess, but I don’t need to see anymore of that.
Ditto Bobby Brown, any musician or actor you care to mention, etc. In 99% of these things, including any mix of Osbornes, Kardashians, Jersey Shorers, Gene Simmonses, the people involved are aware of the Stupid and Self-Destructive stuff or bloody well ought to be, but have little interest in doing the work that is needed to straighten out things. And my tolerance for watching people roll in their bad behavior is not there and I don’t find it entertaining.
The ‘Bachelor’ type shows cater to people’s romantic fantasies. Lots of that, and elegant dinners on the beach in the moonlight, et cetera. Don’t forget the roses and candles.
But think really hard. There’s always competition between people in regards to ‘who gets him/her in the end’, yeah, but the producers want a LOT of conflict amongst as many as 25 people trying to get chosen as the one. And it’s become no secret that the whole show is scripted, and **none** of the 16 seasons of THE BATCHELOR actually led to a real wedding between the selector and the chosen suitor in the end. Me, I couldn’t imagine (even if I were charming and adonis-like in looks) actually *wanting* to fight through that mob to chase after someone I didn’t know and push my ‘instant’ desire for that person on international TV.
Maybe well-written, interesting and enlightening shows are things of the past. I hope not.