Want to be on TV? – Reality Shows are Worth A Second Look

Want to be on TV? – Reality Shows are Worth A Second Look

Looking for Mr. Right? So is Lisa. Still single at age 25, Lisa searches the US for the special man who wants true love as much as she does.

Are you “sexy and savvy?” Like to do stunts? Would an extra $25,000 help your household budget?

Is reality meeting your expectations? If not, turn on the television. Any one of a number of shows might provide a reality you like better than your own. Currently living in a four channel universe, I see a lot of reality shows and find myself wondering, whose reality do they portray?

Not mine, that’s for sure.

Cupid is the latest entry in the reality show ratings grab. The premise is relatively simple. Lisa, 25 and single, auditions thousands of prospective husbands and hopes to choose Mr. Right from those who made the “cut.” I have a hard time believing Lisa can’t find a husband. Lisa is attractive and has a successful career. To entice Mr. Right, the producers have provided a million dollar dowry, if Lisa and her new husband can stay married for one year. Some of the guys who auditioned for Lisa’s hand reminded me of some pretty bad dates that I had been on. But that is where my connection to Lisa ended. I didn’t meet Mr. Right until I was 34. And I didn’t have a million dollars or a television producer to help me.

Relationship shows seem to be the most popular and the airwaves are full of them. Mr. Personality, Paradise Hotel, and For Love or Money, are just a few competing for ratings. It appears that the United States is full of lovelorn twenty-somethings. However, real people must be meeting and falling in love. Daily programming on The Learning Channel (TLC) features the popular reality shows A Wedding Story and A Baby Story. These shows portray everyday people falling in love, getting married and having babies. I wonder if the people featured in the TLC shows could pass along some relationship advice to Lisa and the other network lovelorn.

Stunt-based reality shows seem to be as popular as relationship shows. Dog Eat Dog is the latest entrant in the stunt show category. This show is similar to Fear Factor except that the stunts are performed in a television studio. According to Dog Eat Dog rules, (http://www.nbc.com/nbc/Dog_Eat_Dog/index.shtml) “sexy and savvy players” perform stunts and use strategy to eliminate each other from winning the top prize of $25,000. After watching about 20 minutes of the show, I just couldn’t see the point. While the contestants didn’t have to eat bugs or eyeballs or bull parts like the contestants on Fear Factor, the stunts on Dog Eat Dog were just ridiculous. And worse, the contestants were vapid. One contestant, when asked why she wanted the prize money, replied that she didn’t want her parents to support her any more. As it turned out, she only won $5,000. Her parents will be supporting her for a while yet.

After watching a few of these shows, I wondered what my life would be like as a reality show. “My Big Fat All Too Real Reality Show” would go something like this:

About 7:00 am, guest hosts Anna Nicole Smith and David Hasselhoff, while making coffee and packing lunches, would welcome viewers and explain the rules. David and a camera team would follow me at work, attending meetings and wading through office politics. With the goal of not being voted out of the coffee room, co-workers would earn extra breaks by performing complicated photocopying jobs. At home, Anna Nicole would follow the arrival of a crew that would repaint and decorate the house. Then, contestants competing for cash and prizes would race against the clock to perform “harrowing” stunts such as trying to find a plumber on a Sunday night to fix the leaking water heater or racing to the pharmacy before it closes during a Saskatchewan blizzard to replace a lost asthma inhaler.

At 5:00 pm, Anna and David would engage in witty dialogue with a guest chef who would create a gourmet meal using only supplies found in our cupboards. After dinner, “sexy and savvy players” would come over. Instead of performing dangerous stunts, contestants would compete for cash prizes by doing yard work, taking out the garbage and helping with homework. The contestant with the most cash would win the grand prize of watering the new sod while my husband and I relaxed with tall, cool drinks.

My “real” reality show is pretty dull compared to the glamorous network reality shows, which probably explains why viewers are watching so many. Cupid’s Lisa is in for a big shock. Her glamorous life will change once she marries Mr. Right. Even with a dowry of a million dollars, one of them will have to take out the garbage and walk the dog. Everyday life just isn’t as glamorous as the networks would have us believe. A Lisa Story might be more credible than Cupid. And, in the eyes of viewers, closer to “reality.”

Teresa is enrolled in the Bachelor of Professional Arts Program, Communications Studies, at Athabasca University and is enjoying returning to school after 18 years. Teresa enjoys writing, union activism and gardening, and lives and works in Regina, Saskatchewan, with her partner Kevin and son Adam.