Just How Real are Reality TV Shows?
I've been a reality TV show junkie for most of my life. My first taste for these shows probably started on the day I came across Pop Idol on TV. I remember watching in anticipation as Gareth Gates and Will Young battled out the finale, and being completely in awe of Simon Cowell.
And who could forget the first season of Survivor, where we were introduced to Richard Hatch - the winner, who is most remembered for shocking his fellow cast mates (and the viewers!) by stripping off to his birthday suit.
In The Beginning...
Remember the first season of Big Brother? I never watched the US version, but the South African first season had me cancelling plans to sit and watch a bunch of strangers eat, sleep, exercise and talk about absolute nonsense most of the time. Strange how a show can do that - but, it did and it was delicious! Unscripted, shocking, cat-fight, flirtatious drama at its best.
Other early reality TV shows that I found to be really good at the time were the Australian version of The Block - season one, Trigger Happy TV, The Bachelor, The Biggest Loser, and the first few seasons of The Amazing Race.
Today, there are hundreds upon hundreds of reality TV shows. There are so many, they're split into genres. These are just a few that stand out for me:
The Voice, The X-Factor, American Idol, America's Got Talent, America's Next Top Model, Project Runway and MasterChef.
The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Joe Millionaire, Momma's Boys, Next and Temptation Island.
The Amazing Race, Survivor, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Deal or No Deal and The Weakest Link.
Keeping up with the Kardashians, Khloe and Lamar, Newlyweds, Dirty Soap, Kimora in the fast lane, Jerseylicious and The Real Housewives of Orange County.
Reality TV is Flooding the Networks
The interest and demand for Reality TV shows over the last decade has led to an overpopulation of these shows (in my opinion.) Take the music channel - MTV, for example.
There have been days when all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and enjoy watching the latest music video hits. Instead, I've been subjected to watching Next, Made, MTV Cribs, Pimp my Ride or Punk'd. No offense to the participants or writers of these shows, but why would I want to watch a show about dating, becoming famous, extravagant mansions, cars or pranking someone on a music channel in the first place?
The Obviously Scripted "Reality" TV Shows
I've never had a problem with Reality TV shows. Yes, sure - there is some editing that takes place as with any other show, but overall there was still the expectancy that these "reality" shows were not being scripted, that they were in fact about real people going about their everyday lives in the real world.
Enter Dirty Soap.
Having been a huge Days of our Lives fan, I was beyond excited to hear about this new show. I found the first two episodes entertaining, but by the third one I'd decided that Dirty Soap was just another soap opera - certainly no reality TV show. The drawn out cat fight scenes between Kirsten Storms and Farah Fath are evidence to this statement. Tell me, who tries to repair a friendship like that? You either want to or you don't - don't draw it out for episodes on end and get every cast member involved. Last I checked this wasn't High School. It's scripted and dramatized for entertainment purposes only. The main cast members are all actors, and the show is created by two actors themselves - Kelly Rippa and husband, Mark Consuelos. It's such a pity, because I actually like one of the cast members, Nadia Bjorlin. I expected her to be another Megan Fox, but she really surprised me. Unfortunately, that's not enough to keep me hooked - the blatantly obvious over dramatic scenes of this show really let it down for me.
Of course, the real culprit of scripted reality TV has got to be none other than that of the Kardashian family.
The main show, Keeping up with the Kardashians, and their spinoffs - Khloe and Lamar, Kourtney and Khloe take Miami, and Kourtney and Kim take New York.
What makes these shows so appealing and addictive to most is the obvious factor - the beautiful Kardashian sisters; Kimberly (Kim), Khloe and Kourtney. There's simply no denying the fact that they are eye candy and great to look at, BUT they know it and for me - that's an instant turn off. Other put offs for me include the unnecessary (and often ridiculous) drama. Really, who asks their sister to wax their vajayjay in the middle of the living room? The fact that Kim can't find much else to start off her sentences other than "Like...", and the fact that almost all of them have a "Gods gift to earth" complex. I certainly don't find this show any more entertaining these days than watching the whole Brooke-Ridge-Taylor or Hope-Bo-Billie saga over and over again. Oh, and let's not even get into the whole Kim and Kris "marriage" fiasco...