Reality shows – from Wrestling to Springer to …….
Reality shows are a relatively recent phenomenon in terms of popularity. I admit that early on I was a devotee of American Chopper, but thankfully I grew tired of it and moved on. My current guilty pleasure is Wicked Tuna. I love the fishing action but am growing tired of the scripted conflict among the captains. The thing I loved about “Chopper” was the really cool theme bikes and the incredible workmanship. I quit watching because of the scripted squabbles between Senior & Junior.
Following is a list of the shows that have made the airways from American Chopper forward (there were several prior to Chopper): source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_reality_television_programs
• American Chopper (2003) Fraternity Life (2003) Jamie’s Kitchen (2003) The Restaurant (2003)
• Starting Over (2003) American Casino (2004) American Hot Rod (2004) Amish in the City (2004)
• Bands Reunited (2004) The Casino (2004) College Hill (2004) Family Plots (2004)
• (US; A&E Network) Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County (2004) Rachael Rocks (2004)
• Dog Whisperer (2004) Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (2004) Deadliest Catch (2005)
• Miami Ink (2005) LA Ink (2007) Stranded with Cash Peters (2005) Who’s Your Daddy? (2005) 8th & Ocean (2006) Bonds on Bonds (2006) (ESPN) King of Cars (2006)
• The Real Housewives of Orange County (2006) The Real Housewives of Atlanta (2008)
• The Real Housewives of New York (2008) The Real Housewives of New Jersey (2009)
• Jerseylicious (2010) The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (2010) The Real Housewives of Miami (2011)
• The Real Housewives of Vancouver (2012) The Real Housewives of Melbourne (2014)
• Bullrun (2007) Deadline (2007) Ice Road Truckers (2007) Jon & Kate Plus 8 (2007)
• Kitchen Nightmares (2007) Chef School (2008) Ax Men (2008) Jockeys (2009) (US; Animal Planet)
• BBQ Pitmasters (2009) The Colony (2009) (US; Discovery) Jersey Shore (2009) Pawn Stars (2009)(US)
• Full Throttle Saloon (2009) (US; TruTv) Teen Mom (2009) Toddlers & Tiaras (2009)
• American Pickers (2010) (North America) Freshwater Blue (2010) The Generations Project (2010)
• Throttle Junkies TV (2010) Half Pint Brawlers (2010) Oddities (2010) Sister Wives (2010)
• American Restoration (2010)(US) Auction Hunters (2010)(North America) Geordie Shore (2010)(UK)
• Hardcore Pawn (2010)(US) The Only Way Is Essex (2010) (UK) Made in Chelsea (2010)(UK)
• The Real L-Word: Los Angeles (2010) Love & Hip-Hop (2010) (US) Braxton Family Values (2011)
• Bear Whisperer (2011) Dance Moms (2011) Duck Dynasty (2012) Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (2012)
• Saw Dogs (2012) Turbine Cowboys (2012) The Dirty South (2013) Fame In The Family (2013)
The other side of the coin is that reality shows are popular “because” of the scripted conflict. Like professional wrestling, there are many fans that actually believe it is “real”. It is entertainment, pure and simple. I invite you to step back from this whole area of entertainment and view it strictly as a witness. Now, what does it say about the evolution of our civilization? Conflict sells!
Some of these shows have been experimenting with violence. Springer introduced this element into his show years ago, but it has recently is caught fire. If this trend continues where does it lead? My mind wanders back to the highly civilized Romans and their penchant for bloodlust events at the coliseum. Hopefully we wake up soon and quash this disturbing trend.