Posts Tagged Reality TV

Reality TV – Survivor Gabon

It’s been a slow season for reality TV fans.  In fact, if it weren’t for Big Brother and Project Runway, I’d be going through withdrawals.  

 

But salvation is on the horizon, with Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, Amazing Race 13, America’s Next Top Model and Survivor Gabon premieres.

 

CBS just released a sneak peek of the Survivor Gabon contestants. They come from all walks of life, from a jewelry salesman to a maintenance man, and range in age from 22 to 61.

 

 

 

I’m giddy as a school girl.

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Reality TV

 

Reality TV has come a long way since the Newlywed Game.  Now there are reality TV shows for every demographic and every preference.  Intellectuals can match wits with 5th graders and gossips can get the real story on To Tell the Truth.  Voyeurs can watch house guests 24 x 7 on Big Brother and adventurers learn what it takes to Survive. 

 

Survivor began in 2000, the brain child of creator Mark Burnett, and an uncertain audience embraced the show, much to the surprise and delight of execs at CBS.  The premise was simple – take a group of people and put them in a deserted local.  Force them to pick each other off one by one until the last man (or woman) standing is awarded $1 million.  I don’t know if Burnett expected the contestants to devolve so quickly or not, but the effects of the experience are fascinating to watch. 

 

Survivor was the first to showcase people out of their element, living together and getting real.  The Real World aired on MTV in 1992, with seven strangers living together in one house.  The show finds a new generation of fans each year and casting continues to find the most extreme personalities to ensure loads of DRAMA.  They have a formula that works.  Mix equal one of each: a homosexual, a Christian, a wild girl, a player, a loyal boyfriend, a brown skinned person and a racist, stir in alcohol, place in an exotic local and allow to simmer.  Then just sit back and enjoy. 

 

After Survivor’s success, every network scrambled to put a reality TV show on the air.  Some were good:  The Amazing Race, The Mole, The Apprentice, Biggest Loser and some were bad: My Big Fat Obnoxious Finance, Pirate Master and Fat March.

 

Most will fall into certain categories.  Survivor’s motto for example, is out wit, out play, out last.  It’s all about the competition, playing to win, using strategy to manipulate others.  The Amazing Race and The Mole also require mental and physical abilities to succeed.  The viewers gets a chance to know the competitors, to hear their back story, and meet (through TV at least) their family and friends. 

 

Another group of shows will showcase a specific skill, such as; modeling, decorating, singing, acting, designing clothes or even cutting hair.  Contestants are looking for their big break and compete for a cash prize or employment contract.  I think The Apprentice started the movement of career centric shows.  Contestants vied for an opportunity to work with The Donald and after seemingly impossible challenges they would be called to the board room and one player would be eliminated.  I think the Donald has trademarked his catch phrase “You’re Fired.”  One of my favorite shows in this category was the short lived (one season so far) show On the Lot.  Aspiring directors created short films each week hoping for the opportunity to work at DreamWorks for a year. 

 

There are makeover shows, from Biggest Loser to the Swan.  The Biggest Loser stands out because the contestants really work hard to make amazing transformations.  Other makeover shows are inspiring because of the end result, not necessarily the process. 

 

There are day in the life reality TV shows which basically follow people around while they live their life or do their job.  No challenges, no prize at the end, just a fascinating glimpse into the way other people live.  Sometimes the show will center on an individual like Hogan Knows Best or Hey Paula or it might be based on a group of people who work together, such as: Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, LA Ink or Ace of Cakes.  

 

And then, of course, there are all the dating and relationship shows.  Love found on the Bachelor and love lost on Temptation Island.  There’s a huge variety of shows in this category too.  VH1 has claimed a niche with their Celebreality catering to D or E list celebs like Flavor Flav or Bret Michaels.  MTV jumped on board with A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila.  I shudder to think who’ll be next – Andy Dick?  Tara Reid? Courtney Love?

 

I for one will be there to watch. 

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Reality TV Wrap Up 18APR08

Biggest Loser had a big finale and the first female winner.  The contestants looked amazing.  Especially Bernie, Brittany, Ali and Kelly. Roger, Mark and Dan all looked about the same as when they left campus.  They lost a lot of weight, but it just wasn’t as dramatic as the others.  I was so impressed with Kelly throughout the show. She was an underdog throughout the competition and she made it to the end.  Paul didn’t show up due to illness.

 

Big Brother – Sheila won HOH (well, sort of) and she was able to pull of her objective of ousting Natalie (well, sort of) thus securing her place in the final three (well, you know). The boys, Ryan and Adam had plans of their own. They called out Natalie in a house meeting, forcing her to choose a side once and for all. Since only the boys were voting she naturally declared her allegiance to them.  Then they split the vote and let Sheila do the dirty work.  Ryan won HOH and stayed true to his buddy Adam, nominating Sharon and Sheila.

 

American Idol had a diva-licious night with Mariah Carey mentoring the young wannabe’s.  The best line of the night was Paula declaring Mariah can be proud of the legacy she’s left for all the young singers coming up.  I don’t think Mariah realized she was an older singer yet. David Cook received a standing O from Randy. David Archuleta and Jason Castro also had strong nights.  As usual, Simon was particularly tuff on Carly Smithson. He softened the blows when he explained it was tough love.  Kristy Lee Cook was booted, but I’m sure she’ll have a brilliant career in Branson.

 

Survivor is always unpredictable and this week proved it once again. Jason bargained away an opportunity for individual immunity when he was offered sweets, pizza and beer for himself and the tribe.  Despite everyone’s promise to keep him another week, Ozzy, Amanda, James and Erik had every intention of voting him off the island.  Instead, Cirie turned things around and made a play to pull out Ozzy’s immunity idol.  Ozzy was too comfortable with his tribe and didn’t play the idol. He was voted out.  James is finally off the hook as the dumbest player in history.  They’re at least tied.

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Reality Wrap Up – 01FEB08

Here is a recap of the reality shows I watched this week.  A few shows are ending, but we have Survivor and Big Brother coming up in February.    

American Idol – Omaha Auditions.  There some really interesting characters in Bum**ck, America and they all came out to see dim prutty lights and shiny people.  Chris Bernheisel opened the show, and he was just like OMG, the cutest thing EVER.  He was so full of happiness he was about to burst and dribble little bits of cheer all over the stage.  He brought stuffed animals for Randy and Paula, and a T-shirt for Simon to stuff himself.   

Biggest Loser – Paul and Kelly feel pangs of guilt (short lived I’m sure) for voting out Bette Sue and Ali.  The game is now an individual competition to stay, even though teams are still put below the yellow line. Bobby puts on his game face when he and Jillian have to compete in a challenge to choose up teams.  He went’ for all the heavy hitters (pun intended) and Jillian was seeing Red…opps I mean Black.  The house is once again divided into Black and Blue Teams. 

American Idol – Miami Auditions.  Half these contestants didn’t know the meaning of the word, No, so I’m not sure what language they were speaking.  Apparently they speak Delusional fluently.  Shannon McGough has won singing competitions and she is primed to take the AI title.  Too bad she sounds like a squeling pig during her audition.   BTW, the meaty references are my pathetic reference to her family’s butcher shop.  Hey, I have to try. 

 Janice Dickinson’s Modeling Agency – Janice has had it up to her lifted eye lids with Peter.  He butted in to the Ed Hardy casting and the clients are annoyed with his lack of organization.  Heads are going to roll!  But first, we get to see the models let loose in Sin City.  Just kidding, Janice has them all on a very tight leash.  JP gave Rodrigo the cold shoulder after their double date, which was the only drama.  Kehoe finally got up the never to ask Traci on a date, only to realize it was too late, Nathan got to her first. Bummer! 

Crowned – And the winner is…The show went out with a whimper, not that it came in with a roar. In fact I doubt we’ll see a Season 2 of this shockingly dull show.  You would think there would be more delicious drama with all those divas in the house, because honestly, watching the beauty pageant portion is painful and boring. 

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Reality Wrap Up – 25JAN08

Here is a recap of the reality shows I watched this week.  There is just so much TV, and so little time. 

The Amazing RaceSeason 12 Finale. TK and Rachel made it to the finish line first and won a cool million.  I have to say this season was a little dull because there were no Jonathon’s, Rob’s, or Alison’s to despise.  All the teams were pretty decent, with occasional b**chy moments.  Ronald was too hard on Christina for most of the race, but he settled down by the end.  Jennifer was mean to Nate, but I think he liked it, so who am I to judge?  TK and Rachel were mellow through the game.  I think Rachel only had one break down when she had to milk a camel.  She lost it when she realized it was boy camel.  They definitely prove that you don’t have to freak out and become a raving lunatic attacking innocent taxi drivers to win.   Congrats you two – most excellent.

 The Amazing Race - Season 12 Finale. TK and Rachel

American Idol – San Diego Auditions.  The few notable auditions included Valerie Reyes, who is Mariah Carey’s biggest fan and thought she could do the songstress proud.  Uh, not so much.  I laughed out loud when realization set in for Valerie and she said “oh my God, now I’m going to be one of the bad auditions.” At least she still has one foot planted firmly in reality. A surprisingly good audition was given by David Archuleta.  He’s only 16, but has already experienced highs and lows in during his short career, including vocal paralysis.  He seems to have recovered though because he sounded great.

David Archuleta American Idol

Biggest Loser – The house votes for a second team in the elimination room, Paul and Kelly.  Instead of going home, the yellow team must compete with the rest of the house. The other teams combine their weight lose and must have a higher percentage of weight lose to send Paul and Kelly home.  Or, Paul and Kelly can send one team packing. Before the weigh in, alliances are formed and the orange, blue and purple teams kept the team weight loss down.

American Idol – Charleston Auditions. Another Idol baby!  Oliver Highman was preparing to audition when his wife went into labor and they rushed off to find a hospital.  He made it back just in time to sing for the judges.  He didn’t make it through, but what a story to tell his baby girl.  Another couple will have an interesting story to tell their little ones.  Crystal Ortiz and Randy Stark met on the Idol web board and fell in love.  They auditioned together and while they didn’t make sweet music together, there may be a happy ending.    

American Idol – Charleston Auditions. Another Idol baby!  Oliver Highman

Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency – Janice declares the agency is fur free and brings PeTA in to show gruesome videos. The models are motivated to join in a protest on Hollywood Blvd. They strip down to underwear and Brian Kehoe moons the cops.  Janice then goes in for a tummy tuck. 

Crowned – Questions and Answers.  The girls have to host a party and display their charms. The surprise guests are all the men in their lives so the women are more charming then usual.  They then have to charm the judges during an interview.  Hollis and Gina do really well because they’re so earnest and energetic.   

Gina and Hollis Crowned

 Project Runway – The designers have to create a look using Levis.  Rami finally does a different dress using different fabrics.  Ricky finally impressed the judges but not his competition. Christian is annoyed the Ricky is still around but Kit was eliminated.  Christian just likes to talk a lot of smack.

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The Mole

The Mole NBC

The Mole is coming back this summer.  I am doing a happy dance, even while I type these words.  

Sure, the Celebrity Mole was cheesy and lame, and probably the inspiration behind The Surreal Life, Celebrity Fat Club and a dozen other cheesy and lame “Celebrity” reality shows.
 

Celebrity Mole


But let’s not judge too soon. The original was great fun and the show kept me guessing about the Mole’s identity right up until the finale.  Even after the Mole was revealed, I had my doubts.
 

The Mole Season 1


For those of you unfamiliar with the Mole (gasp! I can hardly consider the possibility); it is a cross between
Amazing Race and a game of Clue. There is one saboteur to the group; their mission is to prevent the team from banking cash for successfully completed missions.  It should be easy to pick out the culprit, but every signal player makes a bone headed move at some point, so they are all suspect.  


Individuals then take a quiz with personal trivia questions, related to the Mole.  Whoever gets the lowest score is eliminated. Not only do the players have to compete in challenges; they have make note of what the other players are eating, wearing and doing.  


Sadly, Anderson Cooper won’t be back so maybe it won’t be as good as the original.  But I’ll watch nonetheless.

Anderson Cooper

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Reality World

Reality TV shows range from extreme competitions to career challenges. There are even more offerings for voyeuristic TV audiences, with cable and network channel offerings.   Here are just a few of our favorites:

American Idol – The Granddaddy of Talent Shows.  America’s aspiring singers vie for a recording contract and more importantly, a huge fan base. Previous winners have gone on to sell millions of albums, win awards and a few have cross over to acting.

American Idol

Survivor – It just doesn’t get any more “real” then Survivor, where contestants live and compete for $1 Million.  The players are starved, abused and all but one eliminated by consensus vote.

Amazing Race – Pairs team up to travel the globe and complete challenges; eating exotic delicacies, crossing high wires or digging for clues.  The real drama occurs between team mates who are stressed, sleep deprived and desperate to stay in the game.

Amazing Race Season 12

Big Brother – Who would imagine watching 14 houseguests living under constant surveillance could be so interesting?  During the week, contestants participate in games to win food; Head of Household or Power of Veto powers. 

Big Brother

The Real World – In its 19th season, this show puts 7 strangers in a house and gives them all the booze they can drink. All you have to is sit back and watch the shockingly bad behavior unfold.

The Hills – Lauren Conrad is all grown up and working in LA for Teen Vogue.  Girl fights ensue when BFF Heidi chooses boy toy Spencer.  

Laguna Beach & Newport Beach – The most popular high school kids, party and play.  The must pay the school geeks to do their homework, because you’ll never see these kids doing homework.

 The Real Housewives of Orange County – Grown up version of MTVs Laguna Beach.  

America’s Next Top Model – Tyra mentors wanna’ be models and critiques their performance during outrageous photo shoots.

Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency– Janice was a former judge on ANTM and capitalized on the publicity by launching her own agency. She’s at times mother or monster, caring for her charges, building them up and then tearing them down.

Kid Nation – Someone finally asked “What if Lord of the Flies was made into Reality TV?”  The result is Kid Nation – no adults and kids (aged 9 -15)

Kid Nation

The Biggest Loser – Overweight individual transform before our eyes. The results are amazing, but the biggest changes seem to happen on the inside.

Celebrity Fit Club – Overweight celebrities transform before our eyes. Or they just have major tantrums and call their agents.

I Love New York – Several men compete for New York’s affections.

I Love New York

Shot at Love with Tila Tequila – Men and women compete for Tila’s affections

Tila Tequila

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