Posts Tagged: Reality TV

Watching "The Challenge" in the Presence of Gods

The whole day had been hot and sticky, in the high 70s and low 80s, one of the first truly gross New York summer days of the year, and yet Laurel and Devyn, two finalists on this season of The Challenge (formerly Real World/Road Rules Challenge) smelled fantastic. My friend wouldn’t stop talking about it. I couldn’t think of more than two questions to ask them, so eventually we asked Devyn what perfume she’s wearing. “Marc Jacobs Daisy!” she said, briefly looking up from her phone, where she was live-tweeting the finale.

This was the 25th season of The Challenge, which has been pitting former cast members of The [...]


Gay Dads, Gucci Bags, New York Slags

Once—during one of those conversations in which you and a spouse/friend/coworker are formulating an alternate reality—my husband suggested that we move to Japan and become reality television stars. We're an interracial gay couple with the two cutest kids in the universe. In this country, we get occasional stares. In Japan, I'm confident we could be stars.

Gossip personality Perez Hilton is going to co-produce and star in a reality television show about gay dads, right here in America. It has a very descriptive name: "Gay Dads Of New York." We are not going to be on it. We weren't asked to be, nothing like that, and we're not the kind [...]


"Reality singing is the most noble gladiatorial competition of our culture"

"Why in these terrible times do we need a TV singing competition? Why do we need football? Why do we need to watch a bunch of guys in pajamas try to hit a ball with a stick? Reality singing is the most noble gladiatorial competition of our culture, with people fighting to the death not with rubber balls, but with song. Why does that upset you so much? We need competitive singing now more than ever." —"American Idol" expert Richard Rushfield has finally visited "The X Factor." (Interesting: "X Factor films on the same stage as American Idol, but whereas the Idoldome stage faces south (if you are standing [...]


Hilarious Reality TV Cop Scandal Engulfs Crazy City

Pop quiz: what's America's seventh-largest metropolitan area and also its number-one most crazy? Here's a story, though, as these sort of things generally are, it's a bit impenetrable. The distilled version: Miami's police chief agreed to let the department star in a docusoap pilot about the hot and steamy life of cops in the City. But then he saw a cut of it, and saw that it was totally crazy—and learned it was produced by the Mayor's son!—and withdrew his participation. What a good guy! Except that was all lies, as his emails later proved. He had already known that the Mayor's son had recused himself from the [...]


The Bookmobile: An Excerpt From "Reality Matters: 19 Writers Come Clean About the Shows We Can't Stop Watching"

Reality TV: we all have feelings about it. Particularly the contributors to Reality Matters: 19 Writers Come Clean About the Shows We Can't Stop Watching, a new collection edited by Anna David. It includes essays by Awl pals Will Leitch, Richard Rushfield and Mark Lisanti, among others, so you should probably buy it. In this excerpt, John Albert discusses his feelings about "Sober House."

The After-Party

There are times when one can glimpse something like a passageway to hell. That is precisely the feeling I had watching the reality show "Sober House."


Is Reality TV… Not Totally Real Or Something???

Is reality TV somehow less than real? Here is David Weintraub, whose principal industry at this time is to provide tragic characters for reality TV, describing how the producers of a show called Sober House worked with former California gubernatorial candidate Mary Carey: "They took Mary Carey, they put her in a room, and they said to her, ‘Your story's shit, Mary. Your story sucks on this show. We just paid you a lot of money, and your story sucks. Here's what you need to do to make our show better. We call Dr. Fisher, he's gonna remove your breast implants on the last week of the show, and [...]


Some Highlights from Today's Kelly Cutrone Press Call

There are very few people who deserve some measure of fame for appearing on reality TV. Johnny Weir, for one, clearly. And also New York fashion publicist Kelly Cutrone. So here's a very limited (and slightly rough) transcript of Bravo's press conference call today, in anticipation of her reality show "Kell on Earth" next month. (See also: how your tabloid sausage quotes get made!)


That Guy From That Thing Running For A Seat In That Place

"Representative Renee Ellmers, who ran as a Tea Party candidate in 2010 and barely squeaked into office, has dismissed [Clay] Aiken as unable to win “Idol” and thus ill-equipped to unseat her. Mr. Aiken suggests that his humble beginnings and time working with children with autism best qualifies him for a seat in the House." —Sick burn, Clay Aiken! Also, Clay Aiken is running for Congress in North Carolina's Second District. Let's all try to live our lives as normally as possible for as long as we have left.


Here's Your 2013 State of the Union Drinking Game (Political Ritual Edition)

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, fellow Americans, and even you, Mr. President:

On this fortuitous evening, we come together in a highly ritualized, deeply esoteric sacred performance within the inner sanctum of our nation's high temple. The president's words will be parsed by an inverse pyramid of humanity, from a mass of dimwitted Politico commenters bobbing like frantic ill-informed ducks upon the surface to the industrial sludge filters at the bottleneck bottom, monstrous catfish like Chris Matthews and Wolf Blitzer, slurping up and then expelling the reactions to the president's prepared text, which have already become worn out punchlines on Twitter.

At home, the citizens [...]


'Repo Games': Turning Poverty Into A Game Show

The insider term for the goal of those who produce reality television shows, those who assemble the footage into episodes, is a profane one. I learned this from a reality television producer (who wished not to be named so as to continue being a reality TV producer). "We in reality TV talk about 'shit to gold,'" RTP said. This is the mechanism by which some soul is given an opportunity to overcome an obstacle. "The audience loves seeing shit turn into gold." Objectively speaking, they certainly do.

I was talking to RTP about this peculiar little program called "Repo Games." The show is, naturally, about repos. Home foreclosures [...]


"Operation Bristol" Just Does Not Exist

Something about the Palin family inspires conspiracy theories. The latest one is that Bristol Palin has only survived as a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars" because "Tea Partiers," whatever that means (fiscal conservatives? Old people? Oolong fans?), have engineered a way to vote for her in some unnatural or unfair way, whether that be without watching the show or through automated voting mechanisms or, I dunno, planting suggestions in our dreams or something. It's no mere Internet rumor, either—I heard it about it on my morning shows, and it's become a major news story to the degree that both the show's producers and Bristol herself have felt motivated [...]


Reality Show 'Work of Art' Will At Least Be Funny

Bravo's reality show about artists, producing by one S. J. Parker and coming in June, which we've all been sort of anxiously dreading? It is deemed "hilarious" by trustworthy pilot-viewers. But will the show really find America's Next Top Art Star? "Based on what I've seen thus far, the answer to that question is a resounding no," reports our correspondent. I still don't understand how/why China Chow is involved but hey, it's TV, kids!


Boxed In: "First Love, Second Chance" and Short Periods of Exquisite Felicity

The oldest precursor in Western culture to the new six-week TV Land reality series "First Love, Second Chance" is a play. It tells the story of a couple deeply in love, one of those formative, life-changing early relationships, not to mention the boy's first kiss. The relationship ends abruptly, as intense relationships often do, when the boy is unexpectedly sent far away. Many years pass, and both the boy and the girl are physically transformed beyond recognition. But such, we are meant to feel, is the strength of their bond, that when they meet again, without even knowing each other's identity, they fall in love and marry.

The [...]


The End of the 00s: The 348 Best Reality Television Shows of the 00s, In Order, by Jon Caramanica

348. The Girls Next Door 347. I Want to Be A Hilton 346. Denise Richards: It's Complicated 345. Armed & Famous 344. That's Amore! 343. Joe Schmo 2 342. Homeland Security USA 341. Jockeys 340. Hit Me, Baby, One More Time 339. Fame 338. On the Lot


Top Chef Seasons, In Order Of Quality

I am still watching Top Chef! I watch it despite the egregious product placement ("Boy, these Toyota Rav4s have so much trunk space!" "I've got an idea! Let's fill it up with the Glad® family of products."), despite the reliance on reality show tropes, despite the fact that probably every other season is actually terrible television. I love it, even the terrible seasons. I think about the show after it airs. I like putting on old episodes in the background while I cook. I have Thoughts on which contestants went home too early, which challenges were the best and which were the most offensive, culinarily speaking (that'd be season [...]


Listening To The Corey Feldman Prog-Rock Record

In 2002, Corey Feldman was the canary in the reality-show coal mine. Before starring on the first season of VH1's "The Surreal Life," a show that spawned something like 16 spinoffs, the fallen star of Goonies and The Lost Boys produced an album which could stand as the unofficial soundtrack for the 00s' glut of celebrity reality shows. That Former Child Actor was going to be a wreck was evident before it even came out (maybe it was the promised cover of "Imagine" that tipped everyone off). But this series is dedicated to reassessing vanity projects past, no matter how unpromising, so let's do now what we [...]


The End of 'Big Love,' the Rise of 'Sister Wives': Mormons, Gays and Reality TV

America loves TV about polygamy. After four years of the scintillating fiction of "Big Love," we were ready for fact. Or, at least, the reality-TV version of it. TLC’s series "Sister Wives" finally arrived in 2010, and the second season has just begun, as "Big Love" concludes this weekend. Like an elephant with a friendly bird to eat flies off of its back, the two shows have formed a sort of symbiosis.

Fact and fiction intertwine: "Sister Wives" shows you the real-life versions of the characters. "Big Love" shows you what they might look like in bed. The excitement of "Big Love" relied on our faith in the [...]


Sex Offender Week: 'Celebrity Apprentice' is the Saddest Sex War

Sex Offender Week got a little derailed yesterday due to sad server problems. But we're back today with two more installments on the issues of being the men and the women today!

Former Poison frontman Bret Michaels winding up in the hospital (may the bandana of love live on for eternity) is the best thing that could have happened to Donald Trump this spring.

The third season of the Donald's extra vanity project-"Celebrity Apprentice"-has been struggling. With bloated two-hour episodes, the show has been beat in the ratings by CBS' "Undercover Boss," ABC's "Brothers and Sisters" and (oof) "Desperate Housewives."


Our Boy in D.C.: Lt. Dan Choi Hijacks HRC and Bravo

The Human Rights Campaign stands as the the most well-connected and "influential" gay lobbying group in the United States. The repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is tops among their legislative goal this year. But winter is melting to spring and there is nothing to show other than Congressman Barney Frank's rumblings that repeal may not happen until 2011-when the 2012 elections, in which Democrats have 23 Senate seats up for reelection, are well gearing up. So HRC was forced to break out the big guns down in D.C. Who else to force the arc of history other than a reality show star?


Yes, Why Has America Stopped Paying Attention To Reality TV?

It is rare that I have read an article about reality television with which I agree less. (Particularly because the analysis of early 'Real World' here seems to me-despite the unfortunate use of "arguably"-very accurate: "Season two of The Real World is, arguably, the single most important season of any TV show of the last twenty years." And because the following points about people on reality TV become simulacra of prior people on reality TV seems quite right!) But it all leads up to this: "It's difficult to say exactly why we retreated from reality television." Which, strongly disagree!? Anyway, worth a read, if you're looking for reading! [...]