The reality television shows that I watch regularly are: Project Runway--my all-time favorite; Top Chef; Top Chef Just Desserts--not as good as Top Chef; The Biggest Loser--has gotten too long, too weepy, and too commerical, may stop watching; Work of Art--hilarious if you like to make fun of what they call art these days; and Sister Wives--I really like those people. I'm loving Chris March's new Mad Fashion, and have been drawn in to the show that comes on just after that, Fashion Hunters.
That means I'm watching television on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights at some time during the year. It's pretty awful when all the shows come on at once and I'm watching tv four nights a week. But there are certain things we do for pleasure...
Shows I watch when I can catch them are: Hoarders and Hoarding, Buried Alive; The First 48; Cold Case Files; Hell's Kitchen; or Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. Or cooking challenge shows, like the latest Halloween Wars, or Cupcake Wars.
And there are those that I catch a bit of only while dressing or folding laundry: The Rachel Zoe Project--appealing on some weird fashion level in me...very, very deep; Millionaire Matchmaker--which I really don't like much; various Real Housewives; America's Next Top Model; Tabitha's Salon Takeover or What Not to Wear. Some good ones are 19 Kids and Counting or Say Yes to the Dress..
And then there are those that I only watch if I'm desperate and there's just nothing else on. Like, if I'm sick with a cold, for instance, and I can't read or write or sit at the computer or anything at all productive. Those would be The Real Housewives of New Jersey or Atlanta (Such awful women); Cake Boss (I can't stand that man's voice); or any hick-type person chasing after bugs or pests of some kind.
So, you see that I prefer reality television shows that are based on some kind of talent or skill and only watch a few, specific, shows about just normal people. And even those people aren't completely normal--they're super rich. If you make me, I'll watch awful people being awful to each other.
I have typically held to the belief that these shows are not scripted, though many people claim they are. I call these people pessimists who just can't lighten up and enjoy. These shows aren't scripted--they're sometimes set up, directed, and guided. But they aren't scripted because acting is just not that easy for most people.
Sure, some scenes on some shows are either scripted or very close; and those moments are embarrassing to watch. When they make the trainers and contestants on Biggest Loser advertise oatmeal or granola bars for example, and try to make it look like it just happened that way--we're not fooled.
And then there are times when the people on otherwise reality-based shows are directed to find themselves in certain situations, like when the Duggars "decided" to renew their vows and had to travel all the way to New York to find a wedding gown on Say Yes to the Dress. Somehow, I don't see the Duggars doing this on their own.
I remember watching a bit of Bridezillas a long time ago (a show you won't find on my list today) in which a bridezilla went into a cake shop to check on her cake and threw an obviously suggested tantrum. She even kept glancing toward the camera and fighting to keep from smiling. So stupid.
But for the most part, I still say that reality shows are not scripted--even the stupid ones on MTV that I don't watch. Stupid, drunk, illiterate people like those would never be able to learn that much script and act it out week after week. No, those people really are stupid, and drunk, and illiterate, and sleazy, and crazy. I think, for that sort of person, the camera just brings it out all the more. Exhibitionists. That's what they are.
But last night, feeling a bit off, I was forced to watch a show called DC Cupcakes. On this episode, somebody brought his sister in to start working at the bakery and some other guy was flirting with her. Brother guy kept catching them, and threatening other worker guy. It was so obviously set up and scripted that I changed the channel. I decided I'd rather watch religious television than nonsense.
But I get it. The show has so little going for it the producers felt it needed some nudging. But setting up stupid relationships and scenarios doesn't help. It's like a sit-com without the com.
All this really explains why my favorite--and the best--reality shows are Project Runway, Top Chef, The First 48, and Cold Case Files. These shows are not scripted, and the producers don't have to force situations on their stars.
The skill-based shows have too much going on already--there's no need for added scenarios. And the crime shows have plenty to deal with in crime solving (although, The First 48 does typically end with a weepy meeting with the victims families to make the cops look like they care).
They don't have to ask the cop to scoot his chair closer and hold the suspect's hand. Cops actually do embarrassing and deceitful things like that. That's what you call reality.
And for the record, I still don't know who Snookie or any Kardashian is. Don't care.