“Reality [TV] is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

August 3, 2009

Lauren Conrad [formerly] of The Hills: $75,000 per episode
Jon & Kate [currently] of Jon Minus Kate Still Have 8: $75,000 per episode
Dancing with the Stars contestants: $200,000 for the entire season
The average reality star: $0

I’ve been on the reality TV wave for awhile now, and although it can hardly be considered quality programming, I love me some “real” fake drama. VH1’s Daisy of Love, Bravo’s Top Chef & Real Housewive franchise, Fox’s American Idol, MTV’s The Real World, E!’s Kendra; my Sundays are spent watching marathons of the aforementioned programs (awkward). Although I realize that being on the show probably isn’t as enjoyable as watching the weekly carnage, I had no idea of the conditions endured by the vast majority of reality TV contestants until reading Edward Wyatt of the New York Times piece “For TV Contestants, A Harsh Reality.”

Unscripted reality series make up a quarter of television programming, and it’s not hard to ascertain why; they are wildly popular, cheap to produce, and relatively easy to recruit for. Although participants are warned of the stress of production in their contracts, many have no idea of what they are actually signing up for. Days typically start at 6/7 am, and last through to 1/2 in the morning so that each participant can film their confessionals. They have no access to television or their cell phones or laptops, and become little more than lifeforms subsisting in the fishbowl…if that fishbowl was filled with vodka. Contestants on shows from The Bachelor to Hell’s Kitchen to Project Runway all attest to the limited food but unlimited booze present on set. On VH1’s dating shows the drinking is always out in the open, but former contestants want it to be known that this was the rule on other shows too. I’m a college student; I’m all for free flowing liquor and good times, but even I know that Spring Break doesn’t last forever for a reason, and the conditions endured by these contestants could quickly devolve into hell.

People are willing to do a lot for a little (re: every season of The Real World ever made), but reality show producers are not making it clear enough just what you’re going to be up against as soon as you sign on the dotted line. For many of them, the conditions are worth the risk, but it does beg the question, how far are we willing to go for our 15 minutes of fame.

“I trust him as far as I can throw him and I don’t even think I can lift him.”

June 18, 2009

LC’s ‘Hills’ Shocker — It Was Staged! Surprising? Hardly. Entertaining? Of course! And with the return of Kristin Cavallari to the show next season, things are only going to get faker.

In an interview in May, Kristin said:

“It’s a TV show. I’m not going into it like, ‘I’m going to make great friendships with these people.’ It’s work! And drama sells. I think that’s why they’re bringing me in, because I know what works.”

I’ve been a fan of her work since Laguna. I say, bring on the drama. And hopefully, Stephen Colletti.

“This city’s got big buildings I like food bye.”

January 7, 2009
I sometimes (always) wish that I had a vending machine in my house.

I sometimes (always) wish that I had a vending machine in my house.

There is no good junkfood in the house for me to gorge myself on. I don’t have a joke for that, it’s just really good news.

I often wish that I was a standup comedian. There is something about them that is so free and confident, commanding the stage with their own brand of comedy. Re: Jim Gaffigan or Daniel Tosh.

As a female, I feel that I have a congenital disadvantage: boobs and a vagina. Female comics just do not do as well as males. Whatever, I’m not bitter. The true comediannes of our time are everywhere in disguise: eg. LC (previously of the OC “Where everyone is white and rich like god intended”) on The Hills. I prefer to think of the show as a joke that the cast members brilliantly masterminded and are in on instead of the innane bullshit that it actually is. LC’s one liners alone are enough for hours of entertainment:

Go with your gut but use your head.

He’s a good looking guy but looks can only take you so far.

There’s a difference between good people who do bad things and bad people who do bad things.

I trust him as far as I can throw him and I don’t even think I can lift him.

I feel like that scriptwriters from The Hills took a note out of whoever the hell writes the horrible one liners for Horatio on CSI: Miami. He’ll always say something “devilishly clever” right before the opening credits role. Ew. Vom.com.

Alright, be on the lookout for an Eastern European male with bad teeth who may have access to an ape.

You know what they say “You lie down with the Devil, you wake up in Hell”.

Tomorrow’s what you make of it.

Justice is not yours to dispense, and now you’re going to pay for it.

Horatio's going to LOVE this.

Horatio's going to LOVE this.