“Opinions are like assholes…everyone has one” – Phaedra Parks of The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
I love television. I love the personal relationships I have with “my” shows. I love the evolution of television with the option of on demand programming. I love DVR and being able to control what shows are saved, deleted and of course recorded. One of my most favorite genres of television is “reality tv” . Somehow since these are “real” people it makes them more accessible for tabloids, page six, twitter, Facebook and of course bloggers. I find reality tv shows so fascinating and I find myself sucked into the carefully edited story lines each and every week. Having recently moved back to NYC from Boston about a year ago, and looking for an entry-level position in television production, I have found myself with an abundance of opinions mostly on the genre of Reality TV. My family and friends, while supportive, are getting quite bored with my instant observations and suggested that there are more interested people, possibly in cyberspace that would be able to function as an audience. These are my opinions and observations and they are based solely on my personal experience with the genre that is reality TV.
I recently watched the premiere of The Bachelorette on ABC, with my friend who doesn’t in fact own a television, a fact which both confuses me, and makes me love her. As we cringed, laughed and delighted in the different men (characters) that exited the limo to meet Des, I was struck at how obviously creepy one of the guys was. Jonathan repeatedly tried to get Des alone to “kiss her on the mouth” and as he eventually was asked to leave, did an exit interview that might have had more of an impact on me then his routine of inappropriate behavior. He spoke about his “love tank”. He talked about how his “love tank” was full and he has no problem keeping his “love tank” full. I had to take a beat and make sure I heard that correctly. That description was introduced to the reality TV viewing public by the matriarch of Reality TV, Vicki Gunvalson. As I mentioned this to my friend she was quick to point out that this genera of reality tv has created its own language within the shows themselves. Whether Jonathan intentionally used that phrase to give homage to Vicki or not, the connection stuck with me. Within this genra of television these characters have taken on a life of their own, for me long after I turn the tv off. This example of crossover was just fascinating to me, and to my friend who didn’t even know who Vicki was, it was another reason she cant keep my shows I talk about straight.
Its not just trash escapism that has gotten my attention recently in reality TV. Boston’s Finest, narrated by Donnie Wahlberg, and produced by his own company is the original reality TV show Cops but with a modern twist. The cameras go home with the officers and you get a full picture of the lives of the chosen characters. One of the most attractive stories is one of Jenn Penton, who has a twin sister, who struggles with drugs and alcohol. Its amazing to see the two of them sit together drinking coffee, where you see what could have happened had one of them ended up the way the other did. You become invested in the future of these women and for a brief moment forget you are watching a narrated story line. Also it was recently announce that Boston’s Finest will be back for a 2nd season so hopefully we get to continue with the same cops and follow similar story lines.