Monday, June 07, 2004

Reality [TV] Bites

Inspired by my friend Stefanie, I have compiled an extremely valuable list of "reality tv" hits and misses to help you navigate your way through the reality television wasteland of today.

"American Idol"-Reprehensible in everyway, "American Idol," features a panel of three expert judges--a washed up pop star who reached her peak in the early 90s, the bass player for the band Journey, and a snarky British man.

"The Bachelor"-I have not heard of a premise more laughably degrading, or at least, not until "The Swan" premiered. Anyway, this show places one um...eligible bachelor with a bunch of extremely desparate and cloying females. Somehow these women all manage to fall madly in love with the bachelor after sharing limos, jacuzzis, and lots of romantic nights of hot passion. Even more ridiculous, the man falls in love with everyone of them, professing how hard it is for him to narrow his choice down to one girl considering he loves...well, all 30 of them. I can't believe I'm even writing about this show. I'm done.

"Survivor"-Next to "The Real World," viewers can blame "Survivor"'s unexpected success for opening up the floodgates to all sorts of crazy and unique reality TV ideas, such as romantic elimination games on islands, romantic elimination games at resort hotels, and romantic elimination games where contestants jet from resort hotel, to island, to resort hotel.

Despite its negative side effects, "Survivor" is a thoroughly enjoyable and somewhat intelligent program. Best of all, the casting is great, making for truly hilarious "characters," much more memorable than most of the hacks who have achieved their 15 minutes of fame on reality tv.

Richard Hatch

Take for example winner of the first season, Richard Hatch, a large, bearded, gay man who walks around naked and proclaims his ability to separate emotional considerations from the pure strategy of the game. Then there is "Big Tom" Buchanan, who confirms every stereotype you may have ever had about farm hicks from West Virginia, and if you're like me, you have had a lot. Is stereotyping endemic in the game of "Survivor" you ask? Of course. Other examples include the obnoxiously crude, Red Sox-loving Bostonian, Rob Mariano; the intolerant and ornery but still loveable former Navy SEAL, Rudy Boesch; and the Wisconsin trucker with masculine qualities, Sue Hawk. What a great show.

"Rich Girls"-Unfortunately this ingenious creation no longer graces the airwaves, but I must hand it to MTV for having the balls to totally abandon any pretense of reality with the concept of "Rich Girls." This show stars Tommy Hilfiger's daughter Ally Hilfiger as the calm and incredibly rich girl and her best friend Jaime Gleicher as the neurotic and also very rich girl. We watch as they entangle themselves in the usual travails of a high school senior, from trying on clothing in a private designer's showroom in Manahattan, to vacationing in London, to vacationing in Seattle, to vacationing in L.A., to more shopping.

Another long, hard day for Jaime Gleicher

Inspite of the gritty, no-nonsense topics that "Rich Girls" confronts, it is still a thoroughly enjoyable show, because, well, the clothes are fun to look at.

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