Friday, March 03, 2006


Realtiy TV has become the 30-minute sit-com that was the early 1990s. You remember, TGIF... The Cosby Show, Perfect Strangers, The Wonder Years, Full House... Gone are the days of mild, wholesome tragedies being solved in thirty minutes; enter, stage left, Reality TV (RTV).

It's edgy. It's scary. It's gross. It's pretty people doing wild things. It's RTV.

Never heard of it? I bet that you have. I'll google "reality tv" and share my findings with you. If you're into technology enough to play on a computer, I'm betting you've also at least heard of one of these shows:

The Amazing Race, Survivor, Fear Factor, Dancing with the Stars, Skating with Celebrities, Pimp my Ride, Trick my Truck, The Real World, Road Rules, American Idol, The Apprentice, The Bachelor, American Inventor, America's Next Top Model, The Simple Life, Beauty and the Geek, Big Brother, Unan1mous, Wife Swap, Extreme Makeover, Blow Out, The Contender, The Surreal Life, Project Runway, Starting Over, Nashville Star, Amish in the City, The Anna Nicole Show, Average Joe, The Benefactor, Family Plots, He's a Lady, Jackass, I Want to be a Hilton, In Search of the Partridge Family, Joe Schmo, Last Comic Standing, The Littlest Groom, Making the Band, The Mole, My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance, The Osbournes, The Princes of Malibu, The Real Giligan's Island, Scare Tactics, Fear, So You Think You Can Dance, The Swan, Temptation Island, Top Chef, Trading Spaces, Trading Spouses, While You Were Out, The Will, Three Wishes... just to name a few.

That's right, folks. We can makeover your bedroom for under $500 and marry you off to a little person who has just been fired by Donald Trump before midnight, but only if you're willing to eat a plate of fresh cow testicles and wash it down with a tall glass of bile, blended with fish eyes and earthworms.... now that's good tv!

The Hater and I are ever amused with the different RTV shows, and we have friends who are absolutely taken with some of them. One has never missed a season of The Real World, ever. My Sister likes to watch The Amazing Race. My coworkers are always talking about Survivor and Dancing with the Stars. One of my college roomates was taken with The Osbournes. Our friends tried to convince us that Breaking Bonaduce was so crazy that we had to watch it. It would seem like there's some random RTV show meant to entertain everybody.

Even us. We're not immune to the ploys of RTV. Thursday night was like winning the RTV lottery -- 4 of the people we didn't like on American Idol were voted off the show, and our favorite couple in Ice Skating with the Stars won the competetion. It's true that I fell asleep before the winners were revealed, but thanks to the DVR I was able to play catch-up Friday morning.

Before we grew bored of it, we really liked watching Fear Factor, too. This is a show where pretty people do stupid stuff to compete for money. The girls all look like they could be models, and the guys all look like they would be worthy of escorting them anywhere. They do gross and exciting stunts to see who wins -- and the show commentator both encourages and makes fun of the contestants. The Hater and I always mused that they should do a regular person show, where average people without super strength or divine beauty compete for the cash prize instead.

We decided that the most difficult stunt for me would be to stand neck-deep in a small tank full of fish. It doesn't matter what kind, they could be goldfish for all I care. But the idea of having to just stand in a small tank with hundreds of fish swimming and touching me - even for a mere five minutes- gives me goosebumps and makes me feel nausated. I like my fish already cleaned and cooked and served with sweet tea. Sometimes I think I could muster up enough willpower to do it for a cash prize, and then sometimes I think I'd hyperventilate before my toe was even in the water. Real People Fear Factor, featuring my wacked out version of ichthyophobia.

When we were in college there was a show on MTV called Fear. They'd take a group of young adults to a haunted location, make them watch videos of the history of the place and watch psychic people shiver and be afraid... then they'd lock them up for a couple of days and make them go on trips from their "safe room" by themselves with only radio contact. The game was over when all of the assignments were completed. It was a lot of fun to watch, and The Hater, Angry Dissenter, and I were convinced that if we could be on a team of three, we could calm each other down to complete all of the assignments. I'd totally pick ghosts over fish.

Although it's all somewhat entertaining, I miss The Cosby Show. It will be interesting to see what comes of RTV -- and what replaces it in ten years. Then, when we will look back and still wish that Xzibit would have shown up at our door to pimp our ride.


nicole said...

Genderist, you're my absolute best friend in the WORLD! I absolutely LOVE (and totally miss the Cosby Show).

And you don't know Reality Show guilty pleasure until you've gotten drawn into "Flavor of Love." The first (and possibly only) season wraps up next Sunday and NONE of us can wait!!!

genderist said...

Nicole- Didn't have down Flavor of Love on my list! Doh!