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On Sewing as a Universal Language

Cousu Main (which starts here) is an adaptation of The Great British Sewing Bee, and the blog of one of the participants features significant spoilers for this season. Although it's in French, the show is not hard for an English speaker to follow, just as Project Runway Vietnam (2013: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8), Project Runway Korea (2009: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ...), and Projeto Fashion from Brazil--among others--make some sense to those familiar with the English-language series Project Runway Australia, Project Runway Canada, Project Runway Malaysia (2007 finale: 1-5 and 6), Project Runway Philippines (2008: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15), and Mission Catwalk from Jamaica.
posted by Monsieur Caution on Oct 18, 2014 - 11 comments

Never talk about politics on the first date

We Made Young Liberals And Young Labor Date Each Other Vice Australia: "Who are those students who join political clubs at university? They wear suits, push flyers, and disagree by default, but what makes them tick? To find out we paired them up with the people they disagree with most—students from opposing parties—and made them go on dates with each other."
posted by cendawanita on Sep 25, 2014 - 51 comments

Chef good, cook bad

Every competitive cooking show in America, ranked by the A.V. Club
posted by psoas on Sep 15, 2014 - 110 comments

"Staying alive became my full-time occupation."

I Am The Eggplant: This American Life tells the bizarre story of one man's unwitting stint on the Japanese reality show Susunu! Denpa Shōnen. [more inside]
posted by We had a deal, Kyle on Jul 13, 2014 - 30 comments

Consumer feminism? Say Yes to the Dress

The AV Club argues that Say Yes to the Dress is quietly bringing feminist TV mainstream. Are the wedding consultants 'accidental feminists' as they stand up for the brides' desires against family and friends? Others disagree strongly. The Onion sums it all up with Woman Takes Short Half-Hour Break From Being Feminist To Enjoy TV Show. [more inside]
posted by viggorlijah on May 17, 2014 - 93 comments

Truception

The Truman Show, a critically (yt) acclaimed movie from 1998, is set to become a TV series. [h/t to mwhybark, ahere.]
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering on Apr 23, 2014 - 52 comments

Indie Ain't Just a Word

Jared Rosen offers a postmortem of GAME_JAM, a failed reality show about game development produced by Maker Studios and sponsored by Pepsi. Contestants Adriel Wallick, Robin Arnott, and Zoe Quinn also offer their perspectives.
posted by gilrain on Mar 31, 2014 - 46 comments

“experts in life on the dole”

Double serving of media critique on the proliferation of "poverty porn" TV (in the UK) over at Sociological Imagination with "A Summer of Television Poverty Porn" and "Pride, Propaganda and Poverty Porn: On Benefits and Proud." Programs under discussion include We Pay All Your Benefits, How to Get a Council House, Benefits Britain 1949, On Benefits and Proud. [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi on Jan 26, 2014 - 18 comments

What’s it like to be a contestant on The Biggest Loser?

The AV Club interviews Nicole Michalik about her experience as a fourth season contestant on NBC's weight-loss reality show The Biggest Loser [more inside]
posted by figurant on Dec 2, 2013 - 30 comments

On "Survivor" and Sexism

Does the long-running reality TV program Survivor have a sexism problem? A few weeks back (Mefi's Own) Linda Holmes published "The Tribe Has Broken: How Sexism is Silently Killing 'Survivor'" in response to a controversial episode where a male contestant was soundly ridiculed by host Jeff Probst for following a suggestion made by his wife ("Does she tell you what to do all the time?"), while a female contestant who followed a much more direct command from her husband did not receive similar teasing. Over the weekend, Holmes joined former Survivor contestants Rob Cesternino and Stephen Fishbach on Cesternino's Robhasapodcast show for a lively discussion of this topic (runs just over an hour).
posted by The Gooch on Nov 6, 2013 - 90 comments

Heroes and Villains

Comics Alliance's Andy Khouri and Betty Felon (curator of Best Cosplay Ever) review SyFy's Heroes of Cosplay and talk about narratives of reality TV, Yaya Han and credit and authenticity in cosplay.
posted by Artw on Aug 31, 2013 - 22 comments

Big Bad Bag Boys

Last month, New York PBS affiliate WNET launched a subway ad campaign that promoted several fake but totally plausible reality shows, to poke fun at the state of Cable TV. To follow up on the successful campaign, yesterday, the network released 3 TV spots with a similar theme. (Kinda previously...)
posted by schmod on Jul 16, 2013 - 57 comments

Who Wants to Marry The Internet's Next Top Webcomic, er, Idol

Strip Search is a reality web show from PATV that's now 30 episodes deep. The twelve indie webcomic artists who arrived at the Strip Search house in February have now been whittled down to three. The final three artists (spoilers) were sent home for two months to each create six strips of a brand new comic, on which they would then be judged. The final episode (Finale, Part 2) goes live tonight at 7:30 PM PST. Better hurry if you're going to catch up. [more inside]
posted by 256 on Jun 18, 2013 - 58 comments

Andy Cohen is the Andy Warhol of the 21st Century.

How the Real Housewives Have Made America Better, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. "Watching these housewives scramble to suture up their tattered personas is both anger-inducing and heart-wrenching. That's what literature is supposed to do: make us angry at certain behavior; then when we recognize ourselves in the characters we so harshly judge, to change our behavior."
posted by Phire on Apr 29, 2013 - 63 comments

Television police chase gets personal.

Front row seat to a car chase in Inglewood, CA. [SLYT] [more inside]
posted by phaedon on Jan 15, 2013 - 29 comments

Commentary and thoughts on Honey Boo Boo

Don't judge Honey Boo Boo, because the tv show doesn't care what it's saying about American culture.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 31, 2012 - 156 comments

And Shopping. Always Shopping.

Propaganda - A film alledged to be from North Korea about the excess of Western decadance and public relations propaganda - hits Youtube (1:35:52)
posted by The Whelk on Aug 10, 2012 - 44 comments

The Tribe Has Spoken: Survivor is Reality TV's Finest Achievement

Is Survivor the only great reality TV show? The AV Club argues yes.
posted by The Gooch on Jul 2, 2012 - 127 comments

The ultimate lonely-planet destination

A Dutch company has unveiled plans to establish a human settlement on Mars by 2023. They hope to finance the innitiative by making a reality TV show of the mission and cut down on operational costs by having the astronauts stay on Mars for the rest of their lives.
posted by sarastro on Jun 4, 2012 - 145 comments

A bunch of guys standing around trying to sound like a Kevin Smith movie but failing because they're not as clever

Last Sunday, Comic Book Men premiered on AMC, sliding right into the time slot right after the comic book-based Walking Dead series. It's a reality show masterminded by filmmaker and occasional comic book writer Kevin Smith that follows four employees at his New Jersey comic book shop, the Secret Stash, as they deal with the world of comics retail. If the intent is to show comic shop employees as anything other than obnoxious walking sterotypes, it's a complete failure. If, however, it's meant to be the most compelling argument I've ever seen for never setting foot in a comic book store, I have to admit that it's a smashing success. - Chris Sims reviews Comic Book Men. Remember, no chicks allowed.
posted by Artw on Feb 16, 2012 - 112 comments

Did Gordon Ramsay “nightmare” kill off Austin’s El Greco?

Kitchen Nightmares shows Gordon Ramsay helping restaurants make miraculous turnarounds. Ramsay helped relaunch Austin, Texas's El Greco, but the restaurant still ended up closing. Some people are saying that Ramsay's interference may have been the final nail in the coffin for the restaurant.
posted by reenum on Jan 22, 2012 - 112 comments

Reality of India

This is a story of a young man named Chotu Lohar* from a small nondescript village in one of the poorest states of India. He dropped out of school to work in the iron mines. Music on a radio was the only entertainment available in his house but last year he came to national notice on a reality show called Dance India Dance - where although his untutored enthusiasm and energy captured attention - he was unable to make the cut. His passion, on the other hand, caught the interest** of the show's producers who took him under their wing and a year later, he's just made the shortlist for this year's show. [more inside]
posted by infini on Jan 7, 2012 - 7 comments

Warning: May Contain Learning

All-American Muslim is a reality show on TLC which takes a look at life in Dearborn, Michigan--home to the largest mosque in the United States--through the lens of five Muslim American families. The participants are depicted dealing with lives far more familiar than extreme. But some are unhappy with the very existence of the series. Citing pressure from far-right wing groups, the home improvement chain Lowe’s has pulled its advertising from the show. Online, boycotts of the store, and other methods of protest, are multiplying. Meanwhile the controversy has put the show, as well as the little known group that takes credit for the Lowes advertising pull (the Florida Family Association), on the national media map.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 13, 2011 - 205 comments

"By no means am I saying that these shows aren’t compelling. They are."

What Reality TV Does To Girls - referencing Jennifer Pozner's book and a new Girl Scout Research Institute national survey, this piece discusses "how did we get here?" and "how does this affect the viewer?" Jennifer Pozner talks about her work in Maclean's in much more depth.
posted by flex on Dec 13, 2011 - 27 comments

Go Back to Where You Came From

Six westerners make the same journey that thousands of desperate people make every year to Australia, but in reverse. [more inside]
posted by smoke on Jun 21, 2011 - 105 comments

Money for Nothing

In 2009, Jon Gosselin was offered $365,000 for interviews: how reality stars, celebrity parents and rehab workers make money selling gossip to celebrity websites and TV shows.
posted by Georgina on May 23, 2011 - 38 comments

What... is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

“Is the repo industry something on which to base a game show?” [SLAwl]
posted by kipmanley on May 19, 2011 - 39 comments

Going to the extreme with coupon clipping

Was J'aime Kirlew, self-proclaimed "Diva for Coupons" and participant on TLC's Extreme Couponing shown committing fraud? Many couponers (discussion begins with second comment on the page) think she's done it before going on TLC (youtube links in thread may be broken). Bud Miller from the The Coupon Information Corporation says "This whole thing is kind of sad.". Fraud may be reduced with implementation of the GS1 databar (wikipedia) which contains more data than the traditional UPC code.
posted by vespabelle on Apr 22, 2011 - 137 comments

The Setup

"You may have heard the name Christopher Butler in the news lately but certainly not for reasons that the 49-year-old Concord resident would want you to know about. I’ve been following Butler’s mysterious story since last August, when he invited me to write a Diablo feature about his business. It unexpectedly turned out to be the most interesting—and frightening—story in my 14 years of being a journalist."
posted by brundlefly on Apr 5, 2011 - 69 comments

Pakistani actress takes heat from cleric, gives it right on back

Veena Malik, a Pakistani actress, appeared on an Indian reality show, "appeared to cuddle with an Indian actor" and was criticized by a Pakistani cleric. Malik stood her ground: "What is your problem with me? You tell me your problem!" an angry Veena Malik asked the Muslim scholar, who accused her of insulting Islam. At least some people in the country are unimpressed by the criticism of Malik: If there’s something this country’s good at, it’s sanctimonious hypocrisy. Oh by the way, she's said to have broken new ground in the Twittersphere.
posted by ambient2 on Jan 22, 2011 - 20 comments

"the public is positive, but they are judgemental."

Why Reality TV works.
posted by Artw on Nov 21, 2010 - 86 comments

A friend in need is a friend indeed

I'm here to make friends (slyt) [more inside]
posted by Senator Howell Tankerbell on Nov 8, 2010 - 22 comments

Like Punk'd But With Real Bombs

Combat operations in Iraq are over! Except, the AP says "our content should not refer to the end of combat in Iraq, or the end of U.S. military involvement." Meanwhile, in Iraq, a new show has been airing since Ramadan that has been described as "Punk’d, Iraqi-Style, at a Checkpoint." You can watch 14-minutes of the show (in Arabic, no English subtitles), here.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth on Sep 3, 2010 - 28 comments

Behind the scenes with

In 2006, Kai Hibbard was a contestant on weight-loss reality show "The Biggest Loser", where she was a runner-up. Now she's speaking out about her experiences on the show in an interview with blogger Golda Poretsky. The interview is in three pieces: Part I, Part II, Part III.
posted by rmd1023 on Jun 24, 2010 - 89 comments

Unintentional or Hyper-Aware Marketing?

Why The Hills’ [new] Opening Credits Are Both Creepy and Cruel
For more can-this-really-be-an-accident marketing: This promo for the final season as compared to this earlier use of the same song.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew on May 21, 2010 - 70 comments

If Giovanni Ribisi’s character isn’t listed as “Pointlessly Gleeful Cunt” in the credits I will be so disappointed

Spike of Templar, AZ (Previously, Previously) tends to go on rants on twitter, now you can follow them.
posted by The Whelk on May 16, 2010 - 22 comments

if you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere

Is ‘If I Can Dream’ the Start of a Web Reality Rush? [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Mar 8, 2010 - 12 comments

It's all fun and games until someone gets voted out an airlock

On February 1, a new 24-hour internet-only reality show was launched by the same folks who brought us Apollo 13. Live Feed. Main site. Catch the action (from a distance). How the "set" was built. Cast interview (video). Official press release.
posted by zarq on Feb 5, 2010 - 15 comments

You guys think you're above the law. Well, you ain't above mine.

A&E presents the next incarnation of reality TV: Steven Seagal Lawman. No, seriously. [more inside]
posted by bwg on Dec 3, 2009 - 90 comments

I think that making people laugh is good enough for me.

Mike Krahulik (Gabe) and Jerry Holkins (Tycho) of Penny Arcade now have their own reality TV show. The first episode of PATV explores the unlikely rise of their video game media empire and covers the recent Penny Arcade Expo and the birth of Jerry's daughter. [more inside]
posted by Vectorcon Systems on Nov 25, 2009 - 41 comments

To strive, to seek, to find and NOT to yield!

Blago to face "fun and comedic challenges" in a reluctant celeb reality show Thank God for Rod Blagojevich. The Energizer buny of political buffoonery. This must have been what he was referring to when he quoted Tennyson in that press conference. Cuz it surely didn't make sense then.
posted by njbradburn on Apr 16, 2009 - 28 comments

15 Minutes of Infamy

After appearing last month on the ABC reality television show 'Wife Swap,' "San Francisco resident Stephen Fowler was forced to resign from the boards of two nonprofits, allegedly received e-mailed death threats and stood on the sidelines as his wife, Renee Stephens, issued a public statement condemning his behavior and asking him to get 'professional help.'...Thanks to online TV and easy access to private information, Fowler's 15 minutes of fame have snowballed beyond his control." "What has generated such wrath is Fowler's condescending treatment of Gayla Long, a mother of four from rural Missouri....In wince-producing remarks, Fowler, who is British, wrote off middle America with such pronouncements as 'Your two languages seem to be bad English and redneck.'" Video highlights - 1, 2. [more inside]
posted by ericb on Feb 21, 2009 - 168 comments

WONDERGLEN!

Enter the wonderful world of Wonderglen Productions
posted by Navelgazer on Dec 7, 2008 - 8 comments

Jon & Kate Plus 8: raising twins and sextuplets on reality TV

You're a couple in your 20s, with twin girls. Desiring to have just one more child, your fertility treatments result in sextuplets. You are the Gosselin family and your reality TV show is about to start a 4th season. You have your admirers and of course, critics.
posted by jaimev on Jun 6, 2008 - 81 comments

they're more like can openers than iron chefs

"Iron Chef America is more bogus than even I had imagined." [more inside]
posted by heeeraldo on Feb 20, 2008 - 128 comments

I don't care if you cry and cut, but you better cry and cut.

The Near-Fame Experience: A fascinating interview with former contestants of Bravo reality television shows Project Runway and Top Chef, presenting the fickle nature of fame and how it can come at significant professional and personal cost, if at all.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 24, 2007 - 26 comments

Fauxhawk or faux character?

Was American Idol's Sanjaya a fraud? Graduate art student Bill Vendall claims that he created the American Idol character "Sanjaya" as an art project. He claims the character is "a symbol for the self referencing nature of progressive evolution." This is being debated around the internets.
posted by MythMaker on May 24, 2007 - 48 comments

Win In China!

Win in China! A "reality" TV show in China where young would be entrepreneurs compete for a large pile of startup cash to actualize their business ideas. Not everyone is happy about the glorification of capitalism, of course, and one losing contestant may have committed suicide, but overall reaction in China to the show seems positive. Video clips here (also a full length article by the Atlantic if you have a paid subscription).
posted by Burhanistan on Mar 9, 2007 - 5 comments

War on Everything

The Chasers reveal the irrelevant of many surveillance cameras and the ignorance of many Americans by declaring War on Everything.
posted by augustweed on Jan 19, 2007 - 33 comments

Is Tyra A Workplace Tyrant?

America's Next Top Picket Line Writers from America's Next Top Model have gone on strike after the Writers Guild of America West began a campaign to unionize reality TV. How many strikes do you know have their own MySpace page, Television without Pity interview, and a model "working it" on the picket line? Ironically, a previous 1988 writers' strike encouraged the current boom in reality TV, as this article argues.
posted by jonp72 on Sep 12, 2006 - 19 comments

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