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Monday, January 22 2018

Reality TV formula revealed

EntertainmentHas anyone gotten tired of the glut of reality television shows offered up? I mean when we've dipped to Bobby Brown talking about, well let's just leave it at something to do with Whitney's bowel movements, I think a line might have been crossed. The ABC show Welcome To The Neighborhood was canned under heavy pressure from GLAAD (that's the gay and lesbian version of the nazis) for being too insensitive to people with varying sexual preference and it also touched on racial prejudice. Shouldn't we be throwing that out there though?

Well, I digress. The real point of this is to break down the anatomy of a reality TV show to its core. There are certain things you have to have for a successful program. Here are the key ingredients. 1) Someone gets cut every week: We found out with The Casino and The Restaurant that no one really cares about reality if someone isn't being denied a shot at a big cash prize or having their dreams of fame shattered each and every episode. A few shows like Blow Out, Airline and of course the father of all reality The Real World manage to make it work, but in most cases

2) There must be confessionals: For some stupid reason we care what the contestant's inner thoughts are and these are vital sound bytes for voiceovers throughout the progam. Yeah, most of the time they spoil the eventual outcome prematurely but it's sort of like theatrical trailers, once they've got you hooked in they don't care.

3) The word "game" must be uttered constantly: "It's a game" or "I'm playing the game" have to be broadcast in all episodes to ensure that viewers realize there is something at stake and the people they are watching wouldn't otherwise be acting like complete freaks.

4) The host has to be a man: It took Martha Stewart going to prison in order to make her a viable host and other than network president's wife Julie Chen (Big Brother) you don't see a lot of females headlining reality TV. One exception would be Amanda Byram (Paradise Hotel, The Swan).

5) Hot tubs and alcohol are key: Whether it's Blind Date, Real World, Big Brother or Bachelor/ette you better believe that a little liquid courage and skin can always be counted on to boost the ratings. If people start sleeping together or starting arguments for no reason all the better.

6) Disgusting is okay to an extent: When people ate weird stuff on the original Survivor a few people got grossed out. Then it spawned a new show (Fear Factor) and became a permanent Survivor staple.

7) Thinking is optional: Possibly the best reality show ever produced was The Mole (in the original form) but it was above the IQ level of most couch dwelling folks and got canned. We don't want to use our brain while watching television, so why would that change with reality TV?

8) It's fun to see others get duped: While laughing at contestants is a constant, sometimes it gets kicked into overdrive as we found out with Joe Millionaire and The Joe Schmo Show (although not so much with the sequels). Making women think they were swooning over a rich guy or an unsuspecting nice fella believe he was on an actual show is jolly good entertainment. Heck, it was probably more laughs than Last Comic Standing's three seasons.

9) Copying other shows is okay: Just because there is The Contender and Wife Swap doesn't mean another network (read: Fox) can't create The Next Great Champ and Trading Spouses. Other successful shows like Survivor (The Real GIlligan's Island) American Idol (Nashville Star/Rock Star: INXS) Project Runway (The Cut) and The Real World (Surreal Life) have also sparked imitators with varying levels of success.

10) Staging and shady editing works wonders: Anyone who has heard one of Trump's board rooms on The Apprentice realizes that things are dubbed in after the fact for various reasons. Suspect editing takes place in just about every show where things are pieced together in non-sequential order so as to create phony drama. Heck, Jonathan Antin (Blow Out) should get an Emmy for best actor the way he executes those obviously set up situations.

A special shout out to Sarcasmom who I understand browses my reality articles now and then. Anyone have anything to add?
Reality TV formula revealed | 17 comments | Create New Account
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