Anyone familiar with Honey Boo Boo can attest to the fact that reality television can be a sick and twisted place for Americans to spend their time. The relatability of any given series of reality TV is dependent upon the demographic of the audience. Whether or not a show is of deep interest, endearing, or something to watch that you may learn from morally, definitely depends on who you are. But it’s probably safe to say that most readers will agree that you cannot take the good without the bad. And that’s what we’ll address here, the good, the bad, and the Honey Boo Boo.
1. Penn and Teller (Good)
As reality television goes, Penn and Teller is actually a surprisingly entertaining and decent show. One of the biggest problems with other shows in the reality TV genre is that so many of the shows feel like watching bad acting in contrived and overly dramatic scenarios. Penn and Teller are a duo that perform magic tricks — and more importantly, are actually good at it and willingly explain parts of their act, yet still manage to be impressive because their slight of hand is so good. They also add a fair amount of stand up comedy to their act, which helps to keep it moving along.
2. Bachelor and Bachelorette (Bad)
These series are perhaps best described by Morty of Rick and Morty as “you just spent three months watching a man choose a fake wife.” Because that’s basically all this show is. Of course, the real or fake nature of the show isn’t the only thing that determines the quality of the show, especially given the fact that basically all reality television is fake. It’s also the whole message and outlook on relationships, love, and gender roles. The desperate fight for approval is simultaneously depressing and unbelievable, as are the vapid personas, whether contrived or otherwise.
3. My Strange Addiction (Bad)
This show is the modern day equivalent of a circus “freak show” back when political correctness and human rights had yet to be invented and solidified into cultural norms. Want to see what will be the elephant-man in half a century? Then this is the reality show for you. It spends each short episode focusing on an individual’s addiction, and that term is used very loosely — apparently cross dressing as a woman is considered an addiction — and then goes on to show the family’s reaction, and the attempted rehabilitation. It’s either painful to watch because you can’t help wishing the individual had access to real help rather than just a self-serving television network digging its dirty fingernails into their personal crisis, or it induces eye rolls because it’s unbelievably clear the person is faking their problem in order to get on TV, and has likely been coached on what to say by the director.
4. Deadliest Catch (Good)
Often the shows that turn out the best in the reality TV world in terms of quality, are those that stick closer to documentary style production rather than scripting as much — though it’s silly to expect that there is no scripting even on the most real seeming reality TV. The genre is ironically one of the more fake feeling things on TV, the reality aspect of it only coming across in carefully produced shows. Deadliest Catch manages to retain a sense of realism that so many other shows don’t, and the dangers presented are not manufactured or made up, but real to the experience of so many in the fishing industry.
5. Flavor of Love (Terrible)
Flavor of love has almost reached the level of some more enjoyable reality TV that is self-aware enough to inch into satire rather than earnestly shooting for staged drama and trashiness, as shown in the video below.
Flavor of Love is basically known for being terrible, but it doesn’t quite reach that point, instead simply finding its way to nauseating and setting up camp there for good. The concept is basically a humorous take on the concept for the Bachelor, but the problem is that the actual execution is just putting a bunch of women in a house where they pretend to fight over a man that looks like a drug addled decaying ostrich in a fake gold crown.
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Follow Anthea Mitchell on Twitter @CSAntheaM