Sunday, March 11, 2012

Totally unreal reality shows

Gather round children, it's time to hear a story about the good old days of television. No, wait! Come back! It doesn't involve Graham Kennedy, I promise.

Way back at the start of the millennium (yes - a whole 12 years ago), a new crop of shows like Survivor, American Idol and Big Brother spearheaded a brand new genre the media generously titled “reality television”.

These first reality shows were slick, glossy, big budget affairs – a single episode of Survivor, lovingly shot on film stock, cost just under $1 million to make. They were exciting and cool and different, and we couldn't get enough.

Looking at TV schedules now it's hard to believe how high quality reality shows used to be.

Over the last decade the genre has grown and mutated like pig flu, infecting programming schedules everywhere with so much cheaply made crud you can barely change channels without accidentally glimpsing a Kardashian. Shudder.

I was reminded of this sad truth when I discovered the following shows listed in an online American TV guide and thought I had accidentally clicked onto a satirical news website.

I swear the following shows are real, and I haven't made any of them up.

  • Hillbilly Handfishin'

    Two Oklahoma fishermen teach city slickers how to “noodle” - catching catfish by sticking your hand in a mud hole and waiting for one to bite you. It's basically an hour a week of blokes standing in a muddy river saying “Ow”.

  • American Stuffers

    Bereaved pet owners have their ex-friends stuffed by an Arkansas taxidermist, often to sad music.

  • Pit Boss

    The weekly exploits of a team of dwarves that rescue and rehabilitate pit bull terriers. Yes, DWARVES.

  • Pit Bulls and Parolees

    More pit bull rescuing, this time by a team of ex crims. I guess this show was created to satisfy the huge viewing demographic that likes pit bulls but not dwarves.

  • Tanked

    Brothers-in-law Brett and Wade take you on a high-octane journey through the gripping world of aquarium manufacture! Yes, really.

  • Finding Bigfoot

    Four weirdos tramp across America armed with night vision goggles and hotdog franks (I'm really not kidding) in search of the mythical yeti, seemingly unaware the entire country is laughing at them.

  • Bromance

    Nine blokes reach previously unknown levels of douchery by putting themselves through embarrassing weekly challenges to become “best friends” with Brody Jenner, some guy who was on some other reality TV show you never watched.

Clearly reality TV is so out of fresh ideas and has cannibalised itself so much there's only one thing left to do: Put Brody Jenner in an aquarium with a few pitbulls and some stuffed dwarves and film it all in nightvision. They'd probably still screen it on 7mate.


This article was first published in the Adelaide Sunday Mail's TV Guide on March 11, 2012.

1 comment :

  1. "Put Brody Jenner in an aquarium with a few pitbulls and some stuffed dwarves and film it all in nightvision."

    Please, please, please make this happen. Oh God it would be awesome! You could have a 6 part series using this premise with the Kardashians (oh wait is there 6 of them?)