The concept first bubbled up out of the pop-cultural ether when competitive reality shows hit upon their formula, in the form of “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race.” TV enthusiasts — part fan, part Roland Barthes with a TiVo — congregated on online message boards like Television Without Pity, creating a new slang with which to dis and deconstruct their favorites. Fifteen years later, the critical language used to carve up the phonies, saints and sad-sack wannabes of reality shows has migrated, and the loser edit has become a limber metaphor for exploring our own real-world failures. Colson Whitehead: The ‘Loser Edit’ That Awaits Us All
Linda Holmes describes her favorite Survivor moment: Not Just Eating Bugs For Money! A Story Of 'Survivor' And Strategy. "This is a story of watching a couple of people who aren't very likable lose a million dollars, fair and square, because they got outfoxed."
"The work speaks volumes: She is her own best creation, a businesswoman, a brand, a socialite, a TV star, a wife, a mother, and the essential member of a sprawling family who are all getting rich under the umbrella of her fame. But most important, Kim Kardashian works full-time as professional metaphor. " - Rachel Syme on why Kim Kardashian's Hollywood was the most important game of 2014
Today is the 20th anniversary of the death of Pedro Zamora, the cast member of MTV's The Real World: San Francisco who was openly gay and lived with HIV. [more inside]
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.
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."
Every competitive cooking show in America, ranked by the A.V. Club
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]
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]
The Truman Show, a critically (yt) acclaimed movie from 1998, is set to become a TV series. [h/t to mwhybark, a
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.
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]
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]
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).
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.
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...)
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]
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."
Don't judge Honey Boo Boo, because the tv show doesn't care what it's saying about American culture.
Propaganda - A film alledged to be from North Korea about the excess of Western decadance and public relations propaganda - hits Youtube (1:35:52)
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
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.
Six westerners make the same journey that thousands of desperate people make every year to Australia, but in reverse. [more inside]
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.
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.
"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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
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]
Enter the wonderful world of Wonderglen Productions
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.
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.