If you were standing in a field surrounded by all the shows on television, you could pretty much throw a rock in any direction and hit a reality show. They've boomed in popularity in recent years because they're easier and cheaper to make than scripted television comedies or dramas. And I'll admit I'm a fan of Survivor. It's my mind candy. But, to me, there's a difference between "reality" TV like The Real Housewives of Atlanta or Celebrity Apprentice and what I refer to as real reality TV, things like Deadliest Catch and Extreme Couponing.
While some "reality" TV is all about the manufactured drama, the drama on Deadliest Catch is all too real. Lives are at stake as the fleets of crab fishermen take to the Bering Sea in the most dangerous job in the world. There's nothing manufactured about giant waves coming over the sides of the boats or engine failures that could lead to the disaster of the boat capsizing.
Extreme Couponing is a show I've gotten into lately. I don't have the time or the dedication to go to the extremes these couponers do, but it has inspired me to coupon on a smaller level and save money I can use on other things. But I'm endlessly fascinated by how these couponers get hundreds of dollars of groceries and other products for next to nothing.
I decided to ask the other Banditas if they have any favorite real reality shows. Here's what they had to say.
One show I like is Must Love Cats. It features a guy who fancies himself a minstrel and who…loves cats. He travels the country to highlight people involved in rescues, unusual kitty things, i.e. a woman in Dallas who invented “Kitty Wigs”. I kid you not, she fashioned different styled little wigs to put on cats and takes their pictures. Evidently, people have gone wild for it.
Another story involved a cat who woke up his owner and alerted him to their neighbor’s house being on fire. A woman who runs a sanctuary that holds 600 cats. Her motto is “They may not find a home, but they’ll have a life.”
It offers me reassurance that despite my propensity for buying my baby cats toys….I’m NOT at crazy cat lady level yet, LOL.
The other one is My Cat from Hell. This is interesting in that a cat behaviorist goes into psycho kitty households and tames the wild beasts…and their owners who are partly to blame. I discovered a slow blink of the eyes reassures your cat that you are not a threat. I tried it with Grayson the Monkey Cat who gave me a “what’s up with that look.” It’s also given me my new idea on how to train them off the counter. We’ll see.
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding is the new one I started watching recently. Freaky deaky insights to Irish Travellers lifestyle. Kind of like Jersey Shore meets the Amish type of thing. TLC is a learning channel…but BOY…some of the things you learn!
I watch Border Wars on NatGeo. I started out watching it as research but then just got interested in the various problems Customs & Border Patrol staffers face. Some of the ways people hide things in vehicles are mind-blowing.
The dh likes American Pickers. I think he fantasizes that they will show up here, clean out our clutter, and finance the boy's college education. No harm in dreaming.
I would have sworn up and down that I didn’t watch reality shows, until I realized that those shows I love on the Food Network are, um, yeah...reality shows. I love the competitions. Cupcake Wars, Iron Chef and Chopped are total faves. Mostly because they are 1-episode competitions and I don’t have to worry that I forget the shows exist when I fall into deadline and miss them for a month or so. But I have gotten sucked in to The Next Food Network Star and The Next Iron Chef.
I have a few...my favorite is One Born Every Minute, which is the Lifetime show based in Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus. They've posted 47 cameras all throughout the L&D unit and it's what "really" happens. Cracks me up!
Then there is the cooking competitions, Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, The Next Foodnetwork Star and Chopped! Uhm, Project Runway and The Next Design Star are pretty good.
And sadly when my insomnia starts in at 1 am, I have to confess I do like one Housewife show...NY. The rest drive me crazy, but I actually like Jill and hate Ramona. (Sigh, they do say confession is good for the soul!). But honestly, for me it's like watching a train wreck. I can't imagine agreeing to meet someone I can't stand for lunch, let alone go on a trip with them! Seriously, people, just walk away and don't have any further contact!
I’m not a big fan. I’d much rather watch a scripted show (and keep the writers employed). I do watch the auditions for American Idol – not so much the final shows, and I used to watch the auditions for So You Think You Can Dance. I often see parallels in the judges' comments and the responses to the sort of things we see in the writing world. But like I said, I don’t really watch the shows when it comes down to ranking up public votes. My favorites never win...maybe because I never vote (grin).
My faves are Top Chef, So You Think You Can Dance, The Voice, and Project Runway. I love that they call out the best in people and challenge them to play full out. The drama comes in when people try to worm out of being responsible for their decisions or their performances. :> Grins. Or when they make the wrong decision and try something that's a HUGE stretch and they don't commit fully and so it fails. Or succeeds brilliantly because they DO stretch.
Okay, dear readers, are you a fan of any of the shows mentioned? Or are there other "real" reality shows you enjoy? Let us know which ones and why.