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Wednesday, September 15, 2004
In the comments to Hillary's post on The Benefactor, Josh Love (?) calls the contestants on said show "vapid vj-wannabe types." This is a good point. When me and my ladyfriend watch "The Player" (which is quite good, in its own particular way), she likes to talk about how on her version of said show, none of the boys would look like that--they'd be tall, Ivy League-educated geeks. (Also, some of them might be gay, but let's ignore that for now.) That's what turned me off to The Benefactor--I had no interest in any of the people there. This in contrast to what turned me off of The Apprentice, i.e. I wanted to punch someone every 30 seconds because of the management-sprachen that was coming out of their ugly little mouths.

Anyway, my point is that if there was one thing I could change about reality shows--and, like Hillary, I do heart them--it'd be the casting that always seems to rope in the same group of either LA hangers-on or wannabe LA hangers-on. This is why I like Amish in the City, for instance--it's sort of a collision between a regular reality show (and none of the "city kids" on that show are remotely interesting) and one that's really interesting and weird. Same with Top Model, which may benefit from its lack of guys.

As a corrolary, I should note that I also tend to dislike when subsequent seasons of reality shows keep casting the same basic demographic profile. This is one of the things that turned me off American Idol, and to a lesser degree Survivor. (Although I do wish I'd caught the Sweetums season--ah well.) I understand the logic behind it, i.e. for the people who didn't watch the earlier seasons they were deprived of this particular effective mix, but I still don't really enjoy it. Top Model is one of the few shows that I think has justified a second season, as the charms were decidedly different. OK, there was still the religious diva, but while the lucious Christians v. Pagans conflict didn't play out again in such dramatic, hotel-enjoying fashion, it would have been dull the second time. Instead, we got a tweaked-out indie-rock crankhead from the heartland with a possessive boyfriend. And this isn't even getting into Katie. Awesome!