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Friday, January 20, 2012

In It To Win It, Dawg!

When I was growing up, in the 1980s, I can only recall having watched four “reality” shows.

Sadly, we had no American Idol, but had to make do with The Gong Show (I freaking loved that gong) and Star Search (put me out of my misery). I got a kick out Totally Hidden Camera, which was pretty much the forerunner for Ashton Kutcher's show Punked.

And we all remember Cops.

*Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?*

But nowadays, it seems like you can’t turn on the TV without hitting a reality show every other channel. We’ve got ones about cupcakes and motorcycles, singing and sister wives, lonely millionaires and spoiled toddlers clawing for first place in beauty pageants. There are shows about fat people, hoarders, plastic surgeons, housewives and billionaire CEOs who go undercover at their own companies...and somehow don't have a heart attack at seeing how the company is really run.

Why are we so fascinated by other people’s lives? Do we love reality TV because it gives us a chance to live out our dreams through others, or because it’s horribly entertaining to watch people de-rail their own lives for fame and money? Have we become a nation of voyeurs or is it all in good fun?

I don’t watch much reality TV myself- not because I’m so morally superior, but because it tends to bore me, or like a horror movie, I spend most of the show covering my eyes and squealing “No, no! Oh, you are making a fool out of yourself!”...which my husband just adores.

I love American Idol, I love the singing and the back-stories, and now that Simon is gone, I love the FUN they all look like they are having. I even love Steven Tyler's creepy leering at the girls young enough to be his granddaughters. (A living lesson about staying away from drugs. That man's brain is scrambled like Saturday morning eggs.)

I hadn't seen the show until last season, but between JLo and Mr. Good-Lord-What-Did-He-Say?, I found myself sucked in almost immediately. I watched obsessively (Scotty lives the next town over, I HAD to.) and I even voted, for the first time ever. I cried when James Durbin broke down when singing, I laughed out loud when Jack Black and Casey Abrams did a funny, silly performance in the finale and I yelled "He's in to win it, dawg!" right along with Randy every week.

And I enjoyed every minute of it…well, okay, not the minutes that Jacob was singing, but all the OTHER minutes.

But other than AI, I can’t think of a single reality show that grabs me. Certainly, I don’t have any others on my DVR list.

What reality TV do YOU watch? What do you love about it and why should I add it to my growing list of DVRed shows that I barely have time to watch now?

If you don’t watch reality TV, why not? What turns you off about it? (And I’m not just talking about the Kardashians.)

25 comments:

  1. Olivia ~ Hilarious photos! I can't wait to see what captions people will come up with. But since I'm ineligible for the drawing, I'll just skip ahead to my favorite Reality Shows.

    Ever since the Rat vs. Snake final tribal council rant on the very first Survivor, I've been hooked. I think I've missed 2 seasons of the 23 that have aired. I love interpersonal politics. And since it isn't scripted, anything can happen. As an author, seeing a wide variety of personalities and how different people deal with different things can give me ideas about characterization. I could actually go into a loooong drawn out diatribe on this subject, but I'll leave it at that.

    I used to be a huge fan of the Amazing Race, but it has somehow fallen off my radar. AND it makes my son anxious to watch it.

    I think that's it for me.

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  2. Thanks, Ava! I love captioning photos, it's such a fun game to play. I've never seen Survivor, but I can't watch any show where people eat bugs! ;D

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    1. I just fast forward though that part. Actually I fast forward through most of the challenges. That's not political. I just want to know who *won* which challenge and what that does to the dynamics. ;)

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  3. Caption 1: Hold on! I think I got!
    Caption 2: Oh baby if I kiss you here will you come a live for me.
    Caption 3: What the he'll was I thinking? Oh yeah money.

    I really don't watch tv since we have one and my husband prefers sports to reality shows. (However, I use to be suck into them with American Nexts Top Model, the Biggest Loser and that's it).

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  4. Silly May, I love it! "What the hell was I thinking? Oh, yeah money." LOL! (That's what I think when I see that photo also, heehee.) You know, these days, it seems like sports is a kind of reality TV all of its own. So. Much. Drama. :D

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  5. Oh, this should be fun!

    I'm with Ava on the reality shows. Put people into a stressful situation, even if it's manufactured stress, and they get stripped down to the bones of their character. As a writer and people watcher, I find this fascinating.

    My fave reality shows are the ones in which creative types are featured. I love Project Runway! I used to like Top Chef, but there are only so many ways to sear a scallop, you know? I used to be a Survivor fan, but somehow we fell away from it. I think when they started repeating challenges and bringing back old players.

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    1. Oh, Deb, me too! I'm a people watcher. I love watching people in the mall or in restaurants. Remember the opening scene with Steve Carrell and Tina Fey, in the movie Date Night, where they sit and make up stories about the people around them? That's me, lol...

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  6. I watch House Hunters every once in a blue moon, and every once in awhile I'll watch Anthony Bordain's food show but that's as close as I get to reality tv. I don't know what it is exactly that turns me off about reality shows, but I personally find them to be a waste of my time. I have precious little time to escape, and when I am going to escape I don't want to do it by watching people embarrass themselves. Instead, if I'm going to watch a show, I'll turn to shows such as True Blood, Californication, Game of Thrones and Shameless. Of course these actors do embarrass themselves in some of the episodes, but I know it's not real. Maybe that's it. I can't stand to see real people embarrassing themselves.

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    1. It's so heart-wrenching sometimes to watch someone who is absolutely clueless about how bad they are at singing or has no idea that what they see as funny or cool behavior is actually very sad. Those are the parts I hate. This year, it seems like they have cut waaay back on the embarrassing performances on American Idol, which is good. I hate to see people's dreams crushed- I like the uplifting shows. Extreme Make-over Home Edition is always fun, plus I cry at least once a show. :D

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  7. About the only reality TV I watch is Food Network (which I have stopped watching for the most part) and HGTV (I love the 3day makeover shows on Saturday mornings).

    I don't see the point of watching the Primetime shows. During the 4th Season of Survivor I had to watch with my oldest son. He liked the challenges - he didn't get most of the politics. I'm glad that only lasted one season. Never watched Idol even this past season with Scotty since he is from my hometown.

    When my mom came to visit, she had us watch Dancing with the Stars. It was okay but I though it was boring even with it being the last episode where we found out who won.

    I feel like they are all still popularity contests. And well I never ran with the popular crowd so why would I care about them now. I'll go watch my impractical cop dramas and fairytale stories instead. That's so much more realistic. :)

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    1. Sometimes you do wonder what happened when you see the voting results, they can seem unfair. But, that's what happens when people vote instead of passing a series of challenges. They vote for what they like best, and that can be subjective.

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  8. YOu forgot the mention the totes awesome reality show of all LIZARD LICK TOWING!!!

    It's right up the road from me (in the south everything is right up the road, lol), BUT they do get their trucks serviced at the same place I do.

    Ron's sayings KILL me. I want to write them down and use them in every book I write. Here are a few gems of wisdom:

    Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.

    Never sell your mule to buy a plow.

    If you're gonna eat it, don't name it.

    OMG I totally heart these guys and gal.

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    1. Lizard Lick Towing?! I want to know how they came up with THAT name, lol! That sounds pretty entertaining, plus, I like to support local businesses. It's always fun to see places you visit on TV. Our town was in the running for that new Oprah Network show about singles dating in small towns. Although I know it would help our town immensely, with all the attention and revenue it would bring in, I like how small we are NOW. I saw 4 people that I knew the other day when I was out running errands, and stopped to chat with each of them. Sure, this makes my errands longer, but it's so nice to really get to know people in your community. :)

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    2. Lizard Lick is the name of the township!!! hee!

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  9. Awesome pictures.

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    1. Thanks! I had fun looking for them, lol....

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  10. LOL hubby watches Lizard Lick! Drives me nuts! I swear. I don't really watch a whole lot of any TV honestly. Maybe once in a blue moon but I have too many people in the house already vying for the remote and so I usually go find something else to do. Although, I absolutely refuse to watch the Bachelor. What a bunch of...Though my mother watches it and loves it! *rolls eyes*

    I used to watch and love Dancing with the Stars though but got out of it last season. I'm kind of glad I don't get into too much TV because I have way too many time sucks as it is lol. Great blog Olivia!

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    1. I tried to watch DWTS, but couldn't get into it. Too much drama, not enough dancing! :D

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  13. Is this where we are supposed to list the captions? If so, here we go:
    1. Keep pulling, we will get it out.
    2. Was it as good for you?
    3. You are kidding me, you like women?
    The Book I would like to win is Robyn Carr's Redwood Bend.

    I don't know what Lizard Licks is.

    I do still watch Dancing with the Stars and Survivor - some of the excitement has worn off but not ready to give them up.

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    1. LMAO! I like #3, he WAS kind of a jerk. Thanks for commenting, Pat!

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  14. When I'm alone,I don't watch TV at all, unless it's Morning Joe, when I'm doing my excercises. When my husband's here, the TV seems to always be on.

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    1. Oh, I never get to watch Morning Joe, my son is waaay too loud in the morning. We have the TV on a lot too, but I try to make an effort to have it off a portion of the day and make the kids go DO something!

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  15. I like to watch American Idol and the politicial shows, not into too much reality.

    Here are my captions:
    1.God, It's yukky in there.
    2. You are some cold woman.
    3. I can't believe you said that on national t.v.
    gmapeony@yahoo.com

    And I would like Robyn Carr's latest also - Redwood Bend.
    Helen from NY

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