Sunday, February 10, 2008

Everything I Needed to Know I Learned From Reality TV

With the writers strike going on for the last three months, I have found that I watch a lot more reality programming when I do watch TV. Prior to the strike, I was a faithful watcher of a few reality programs like Project Runway, American Idol, Top Chef and So You Think You Can Dance, but the lack of scripted TV has taken my reality show watching to a new level.

So, in honor of the end of the probable end of the writers strike and my return to scripted TV (hopefully! They just need to vote on it!), I would like to leave you with a short list of the things I have learned from my reality TV binge.

1. Make it work! (Sir Tim Gunn, Project Runway)

(Sir Tim looks very concerned in this picture, don't you think? You can almost hear him saying, "I'm concerned...")

2. If it was sung by Barbra, Whitney, Mariah, Celine or Jennifer Holliday originally and you don't have independent confirmation from an unbiased source (i.e. your mom and friends don't count) that you sound better than the original recording, DON' T sing it. This rule also applies to scholarship pageants and theater auditions. (American Idol - Every Season)

2a. If you do sound better, by all means, sing the song. (We call it the "Jennifer Hudson" exception.) You'll get attention and acclaim and Randy will probably put you in the Dawg Pound.

3. Don't try to throw the weigh-in. It always backfires. (The Biggest Loser - Neil, Season 4 and the Yellow, Orange, Purple and Blue Teams, Season 5 - Couples)

4. I never want to live in Orange County. (The Real Housewives of Orange County)

5. Don't be pitchy. (American Idol - Every Season)

6. Carry on! (Sir Tim Gunn, Project Runway)

7. Parents with a set of twins and a set of sextuplets yell at each other in public. (Jon & Kate Plus 8)

(I've decided - don't judge until I've tried it. And I don't ever want to try it. I can't even imagine taking that many kids of the same age out in public with only two adults to supervise. Diggity can't even see the commercials for this show without cringing. They're a little too honest and expressive in public for his comfort level.)

8. Watching people get tattoos has cured me of entertaining getting one myself. (L.A. Ink)

9. People who say they are proud of themselves because they played the game with integrity just got sent home. (Survivor, The Biggest Loser)

10. Listen to the Super Nanny. She's right. (Super Nanny)

11. Be proud of your scars. (Padma Lakshmi - Top Chef)
(See that big 7 inch scar on her right arm? It's from a car accident when she was younger. She never covers it with makeup. Good lesson there.)

12. You don't want to draw the quickstep. (Dancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance?)

13. Ty Pennington loves to make people cry. He lives for it. (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition)

14. Wade and Mia are the best choreographers. Unless Wade makes you dress up like an animal. (So You Think You Can Dance?)

15. Snobby food know-it-alls are difficult to live with. But they usually win. (Stephen, Marcel, & Hung - Top Chef)

16. Marie Osmond can't dance. I know she thinks she can, but she really can't. And she probably shouldn't. But people who buy things from QVC sure know how to use the phone to vote. (Dancing With the Stars)

17. I could never be a cake decorator. (Ace of Cakes)

18. TLC and Bravo have the best reality shows. And by best, I mean the competition shows are fun and interesting and the documentary style shows have massive train wreck appeal. And by train wreck appeal, I mean it is difficult to tear yourself away from them, even as you are ashamed to be watching them. My most embarrassing admission? The Real Housewives of Orange County. In fact, I can't believe I just owned up to watching it.


Whitney Johnson said...

As a major American Idol, So you Think you Can Dance, What Not to Wear junkie -- I must say -- great post!

And yes, Mia is an amazing choreographer. Here's my two cents on that one.


Macy said...

Whitney - I forgot about What Not to Wear! I love that show. I learned this from Clinton and Stacy:

Always emphasize the smallest part of your body. And always have a dark wash on your jeans.

I loved that post of yours on Mia.

Yvonne said...

It's funny but with the writer's strike I've accomplished a lot more around the house--just think how much I might have gotten done if they had stayed on strike longer ; ) I'm not a fan of reality TV--but do watch Biggest Loser, Extreme Makeover and Dancing with the Stars.

Cute post.

Molly said...

Whoa. You gave me crap about watching The Hills, and you watch The Real Housewives of Orange County? Hmmm. Okay, they're both train wrecks, but at least Lauren & Co. ARE young instead of trying to act that way. Wow, I can't believe I'm sort of defending Lauren & Co, especially because they will be exactly like those women a few years down the road. By the way, I LOVE the Project Runway! LOVE it. LOVE it. Tim always looks concerned, even when he likes the project.

Michelle said...

Amen to numbers 2 and 16. And, yes, I'm admitting it right here: if you have never seen Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team, you have not lived!

Michal said...

she who has gone without watching a ridiculous reality show (in my case, beauty and the geek--two seasons!) can cast the first stone!
my favorite reality shows are: what not to wear, amazing race, the apprentice (even though it has become tired and formulaic), dancing with the stars--(and you are right about marie osmond!), ace of cakes, say yes to the dress (the sense of entitlement and the amount they'll spend on a dress is appalling!), and the biggest loser. so i guess i watch quite of bit of it.
three cheers for the (we hope) ending of the strike. how soon can they get the office back on the air?

Macy said...

Yvonne - I've accomplished a lot more as well. There are nights that Diggity and I don't have anything on the Tivo and we aren't quite sure what to do with ourselves. :)

Molly - You're right, I shouldn't have given you crap about watching The Hills. Except I don't think The Hills can really be considered a reality show since they re-enact conversations. I'm glad you finally have the opportunity to watch Project Runway.

Michelle - I did see a couple episodes of the Dallas Cowboys show during the first season. I forgot it was on because Diggity programmed CMT off all our TVs.

Michal - I could never watch The Apprentice. I tried once and Trump's hair made me crazy. It's looking good for the end of the strike. As far as getting the office back on the air - it cannot happen soon enough!

Alice Wills Gold said...

Who knew that Ty Pennington and Barbara Walters has something in common?

Corrine said...

I am a total reality tv junky! i spend most my time (well tv watching time) on TLC and HGTV, but I have to admit, I like watching the Girls Next Door on E. They crack me up.

My 5 year old likes to watch the cook shows so she can learn how to be a good cook when she grows up.

I got the link to your blog from Yvonne's blog, glad I stopped by!

Matthew said...

Amen to everything you've learned.
I've also learned that if you publicly confess to any past abuse or rape to Tyra, you too, can be an American's Next Top Model long as you don't wear a headband to judging.

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