In 1992, I filled out a 26 page application and video taped an interview (real VHS, folks) in hopes of being one of the next seven strangers, picked to live in a house, work together and have their lives taped, to find out what happens when people stop being polite… and start getting real.
Needless to say, I was not chosen. I found solace in the fact that The Real World: Los Angeles included the Christian cowboy and some Irish guy and pretty much sucked. The original Real World: New York premiered twenty years ago. Apparently they’ve even run out of kick ass party houses in the continental United States since the current season, number 27, is in St. Thomas.
While I’ve outgrown most of MTV’s programming, with the exception of Teen Mom, which is wrapping up the original cast’s follow ups this season, I haven’t given up on reality shows. In fact, I like them and still watch them. But there are some formulas that I wonder if they’re still relevant in today’s world or still work?
I am addicted to anything on Bravo, which are largely reality shows. I am an avid watcher of every Real Housewife show (with the exception of Miami because, honestly, I’m distracted by Marysol’s mom’s face). I also enjoy watching catty men sell extravagant homes. I still love Project Runway even though I’m bitter about the move to Lifetime. As much as I hate Donald Trump, I am a sucker for The Apprentice, with celebrities or not.
There are, however, some franchises that have me thinking, when will this end already?
Big Brother: I watched the first season. It barely kept my attention then. Now it’s on Season 14. I’m confused.
American Idol: From someone that has watched since the very first audition show, reluctantly liked Justin Guarini as much as Kelly Clarkson, voted too many times to count for Elliott Yamin, even used the words Soul Patrol, it is with a heavy heart that I’m saying this, but stop, Simon Fuller. You can’t find judges, and while we’ve heard some interesting twists on songs, we’ve heard contestants mutilate Elton John songs one too many times. Enough is enough.
Survivor: I watched the first two seasons. They were good. Reality competition shows were in their infancy and the drama was a new thing to watch. Sue Hawk’s rat and snake speech at tribal counsel was a definite water cooler moment that will live in infamy. However, I think there are others that are done better and smarter (Amazing Race) and the format is pretty much a dime a dozen now if you just add chefs, designers, or people looking to lose weight. I would like to see a comeback of The Mole, though.
The Bachelor/ Bachelorette: If twitter or the covers of Us Weekly are a good gauge of the popularity of reality shows, I may be alone in this one, but I stopped caring who got roses several seasons ago when it seemed clear that none of the couples were staying together long enough to have a reunion show. Not that I watched because of the promise of watching a true love connection, but it just seemed to become a group of single people looking for their 15 minutes and being insincere.
Which reality shows do you feel have worn out their welcome?
image courtesy The Village Voice