Are Girlfriends Better Than Housewives?
Look, I won’t lie. In weak moments, I still tune in to see a middle-aged Botoxed woman in taffeta flip a table, snatch a weave or toss prosecco in some heifer’s face. But even the reality shows that I still marginally like are past their sell-by dates. I’d much rather watch juicy “Scandal,” over-the-top “How to Get Away with Murder” or the absurdly charming “Sleepy Hollow.”
Audiences catch on
One of the biggest problems with so-called reality programming is that the viewers have figured out that it’s all crafted by producers, so it actually is scripted television, minus any plausible chance at good writing. Back to the Housewives of Wherever. The various versions have become indistinguishable: Dinner parties from hell, vacations from heck, doggie funerals, psychics who accurately predict the demise of a marriage. Even the incarcerations are tiresome now.
Return to unreality
Some networks have figured out that they are better than the genre. With the success of “Breaking Bad,” Mad Men” and “The Walking Dead,” AMC has gone for quality and dumped all of it’s unscripted shows with the exception of “Walking Dead” after-show “Talking Dead” and Kevin Smith’s “Comic Book Men. What did we lose in the process? Shitty shows about boring people. Thanks, AMC!
After the fall
Not every network has gotten the memo … yet. Fox, for example, seems bound to wise up sooner or later. Its so-called social experiment, “Utopia” was a flop of monumental proportions. It reportedly came with a $50 million price tag and lasted for two months. When reality was king something this bad might have had a shot at breaking even. (Remember, part of reality’s draw for TV networks was that it was inexpensive to produce.) How bad was Utopia? It was even worse than this year’s Fox debacle, “Who Wants to Marry Harry?” That royal failure was a carbon copy of “Joe Millionaire,” a series from 2003 when reality TV was relatively novel and Fox was at the vanguard.
In the cheeky “Girlfriends” ads Lisa Edelstein is giving the finger. Could it be Bravo and other networks will soon be giving reality TV the finger too? Not entirely, but I suspect that more and more TV executives and fans will be waving bye-bye to plotless, pointless reality spectacles. After all, if there’s going to be a script and acting, shouldn’t it be entertaining?
Are you still watching reality TV? Let me know in the comments.