Anyone who knows me knows I love reality television. It is all thanks to Survivor. When that debuted in the year 2000, my television viewing changed forever. I loved the competition, the game, the guess what would happen. Of course, over time, the face of reality has changed. There are more styles and formats than anyone can think of, some are successful and some…not so much.
We’ll start with my favourite – Survivor. I have probably missed 3 episodes of Survivor. Ever. In the past 25 seasons. I love watching it. It still amazes me that after all this time, and all these episodes, contestants still don’t understand when to get rid of the physical threats and when to stick together. Now, of course it’s easy for me to comment from the comfort of my couch, but come on! This show has been on for 13 years; learn a lesson or two from the past, people! I love this show so much, I used to participate in office pools, I made a Survivor costume once and even wrote a paper on it in University, and got an A+, thank you very much! I look forward to the premier of the 26th season next month.
The Amazing Race is probably another one that I haven’t missed an episode. I love that these contestants face the unthinkable, from extreme heights to the learning crazy dances, and they can and should only trust their partner. (And that has proven not to be the case a few times). But this is really becomes anyone’s game. Case in point this last season, the lovely gay couple who couldn’t catch a break all season and ended up winning the game! This is one that will be FINALLY coming to Canada. If I was in good physical condition, I would honesty apply for this one. What a great way to see this county. I have no idea who my partner would be at all, but I still think that would be an opportunity of a lifetime. I can’t wait to see that when it airs.
Big Brother is also a favourite in our house. Commercials have been airing for Big Brother Canada, which debuts next month and my hope is the contestants are at least interesting. To me, Big Brother is the un-physical version of Survivor. The “outwit” social game part. Yes, they still compete, but it’s not the same as tackling the game along with the elements in some unknown country. Aside from the fact that these competitors spend most of their time staring in the mirrors, I love the speculation creative ways that they play this game. It is one of the shows that requires the biggest commitment, airing usually three times a week, with live feeds you can subscribe to, or watch at some ungodly hour of the night. However, even if you miss a show or two, Big Brother is not too hard to catch up. My husband and I are hopeful that the Canadian version is as good as the U.S. counterpart. Fingers crossed.
Now there have been some good shows that have gone by the wayside, some imitators and some the really fall into that “what they hell were they thinking?” category. Some worth mentioning are The Mole (originally hosted by Anderson Cooper), Paradise Hotel, The Apprentice, The Bachelor (et al), The Biggest Loser, Hell’s Kitchen, Last Comic Standing, Project Runway and others. There are more, but those are ones that at some point, I followed.
There are others that really shouldn’t have happened. While I will give certain props to The Real World, as they seemed to have started that genre of shows, I don’t watch it. MTV has a host of crap, but an honourable mention has to go to The Jersey Shore. Now I will (begrudgingly) admit that I did partake in a few episodes…okay seasons. It was funny in the beginning. But I do not watch the spin-offs, however many there are. And the only thing I saw of the final season was the last episode. And I will admit that this show did change these kids’ lives, but I think that they should all just go away now, including any offspring. I have been asked if it offended me, being of Italian descent, but no. These kids are American. Most aren’t from two parents of Italian heritage and it offended me as much as The Soprano’s, Chef Boyardee and Vinnie Barbarino offend me. It doesn’t.
Let’s move onto the singing shows. The American Idols, X Factors, The Voice, etc., etc. I was a loyal fan of American Idol during the early seasons, however it gets tired after a while. And let’s be honest, it all went downhill after Paula Abdul left. Sorry, but that’s the truth. The rest are on tv too many nights a week to keep track, and once the show is over, very few have really made it big, unless they win in the U.K., a la Susan Boyle or Paul Potts.
There are the dancing shows. The So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Next Dance Crew and of course Dancing With The Stars. I honestly don’t get the phenomenon behind this has-been, third-rate, where-the-hell-have-you-been and who-the-hell-are-you? “Celebrities” that are on the show. But my mother in law loves that show, so it doesn’t bother me. And the media seems to love it.
An honourable mention ages to the myriad of cooking shows, our personal fave being Top Chef and Come Dine With Me, both the U.K. Original and the Canadian spin-off. But hats off to all the others, including the baking ones, celebrity ones, timing ones, iron chefs and so on.
Now there are a whole slew of shows that cater to the, um…obscure. Well, that’s what I’m going to call it. You know, the shows about ducks, oil rigs, crocodile wrangling and bidding on storage lockers. And there are the hording, addition, child-rearing, families with anything from twins to even hundreds of kids and even the ones about tiaras. I think it’s only right that there be a range of shows for every taste, so I honestly don’t have anything else to say about these shows. I don’t watch any of them.
Finally though, I would like to mention my newest and dirtiest guilty pleasure (get your minds out of the gutters) is the R.H.O.-blank. For those of you who have no idea what I am referring to, it’s The Real Housewives Of X-city. Be it Beverly Hills, New Jersey, New York, Orange County, Atlanta, Miami and the latest edition is Vancouver. While my love of some are greater than the others, I love these shows. Beverly Hills is my favourite. Second and third are New Jersey and Atlanta respectively. I will full on admit that New York was up in the top 3 up until Bethenny Frankel left. After that, it went downhill. I don’t know what it is about these shows, if its the friendships, the fights, the family lives, or the crazy group scenarios they put themselves in, but I love it. And yes, before you all tell me that they set up the situations, or full-on partially script it, a la The Hills, I know that. And I love it anyway. It is a getaway from my life. The kids are in bed, it’s me time. Even my husband likes some of them. Not surprisingly Miami was one of his favs, seeing all the women were beautiful. But the bottom line is, its fun. It’s a break from my own reality. And when it’s done, it’s done.
The reality segment has definitely changed the face of tv. I hardly watch any dramas, and I hate zombies and vampires, so there really is little option. My old faves have been buried in the boob tube museum along ago. I find it hard to commit to a new show now, as they all seem to be the same. I do watch Grey’s Anatomy, Glee and some comedies, such as Big Bang Theory, Whitney and Modern Family. The rest any of my time watching tv is spent on one or more of those mentioned above.
Do you have a favourite reality tv show? I’d love to hear from you.