The Reality TV Genre is here to stay. Unfortunately, there’s too much of it. I enjoy shows like The Amazing Race, Survivor and Temptation Island. There’s a lot of bad reality TV out there. Of course, you can’t keep up with all of it. A well produced reality show can be very entertaining and enjoyable to watch. A poorly produced reality show will seem scripted, shaped and manipulated. So I’ll list some of all-time reality TV shows and some I feel are absolutely horrible.
REALITY TV HALL OF FAME
The Real World (New York, LA and San Francisco)
The Amazing Race
Survivor (S1 – S7)
I’ll explain. The first three seasons of The Real World on MTV were absolutely fantastic. You had people getting together and thrown into a house to see what happens. The show peaked with Puck, Rachel and AIDS patient Pedro. You had it all, conflict, drama, sex and comedy all thrown into one. To me, the show never got back to its peak in San Francisco. New Orleans and Miami were close. Denver was pretty funny and Las Vegas had its own drama, but the subsequent seasons after SF fell into the same cookie-cutter formula. And the participants basically mug for the camera.
The Amazing Race has been consistent year after year. I love this show. There have been memorable teams like Jonathan & Victoria from Season 7 to the Beauty Queens of TAR 10 and All Stars to Team Guido in the very first season. The locales are tremendous and host Phil Keoghan helps to bridge key scenes. However, CBS treats this show like a bastard step-child despite the show having a solid fan base every season. Season 12 returns sometime in the fall and I’m looking forward to it. This show has almost been canceled several times, but it keeps coming back. I hope CBS gives it more support this upcoming season.
Survivor has not been the same after going to an All Stars format. It’s best seasons were Borneo, Outback, Marquesas, Amazon and Pearl Islands. We’ll all remember the first season in Tribal Council when truck driver Susan Hawk told Kelly Wigglesworth and Richard Hatch they’re “the snake and the raaaaat.” Classic stuff.
And The Osbournes on MTV featuring Ozzy, Sharon, Jack and Kelly Osbourne was the classic celebrity reality show. Ozzy was made to look human. Sharon spent Ozzy’s money, plus Jack and Kelly wondered how they were related to Ozzy and Sharon. The swearing is what made the show, but this was the first celebrity reality show. Every one that has followed uses the same formula of The Osbournes.
So let’s go over what’s been good and bad.
GOOD REALITY TV
Hey Paula – It’s fun to watch Paula go crazy.
Road Rules – Similar to The Real World. First two seasons were the best.
Top Chef – It’s fun to watch the chefs go down in flames. Literally.
American Chopper – Dad is always right. And funny.
Deadliest Catch – You want tough? The guys going into the Alaskan waters to catch crab are tough. Very dramatic show and done very well.
Curl Girls – I was flipping channels one night and happened upon this show. Then I read more on the After Ellen website. Now I’m hooked on Melissa, Jessica, Gingi, Vanessa, Michele and Erin and their surfing contest.
Temptation Island I – Man, this was fun to watch. So cheesy that it was good. Not quite in the Hall of Fame, but close. Four couples go to an island where the guys are tempted with hot chicks and the women are tempted with hot beef injection to stray from each other. It’s great. It was sexy and it was fun.
The Joe Schmo Show – If you didn’t see this on Spike, you missed a great show. The producers cast a person, told him he was in a reality game show, built it around him with actors playing the other participants and went as far as it could go. Matt Kennedy Gould turned out to be one of the most genuine people you would ever see on TV and his reaction to the reveal of the dupe was priceless. There was a Joe Schmo II (not as good as the first) which parodied reality dating shows, but one of the two “Schmos” (a man and a woman were brought in this time), Ingrid Wiese suspected it was a fake, so the producers scrambled and brought her into the cast and found another woman to take her place. This was a parody of reality TV done very well. Too well in fact. The first season is available on DVD.
Cathouse – This is on the Bunny Ranch in Nevada. I can’t get enough of this HBO show.
BAD REALITY TV
The Bachelor – The show’s creators should be run off the road.
Age of Love – Please. You have to pay me $30 million to watch this
Big Brother – I’ve tried. I can’t
Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List – So bad.
Chasing Farrah – I tried to watch this for two episodes and had to stop.
Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels – A poor imitation of The Osbournes.
If I come up with more, I’ll add them to the lists. For now, that’s it. If you have some suggestions, leave a comment.