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 TV Bites With Neena Louise

The New Reality

by Neena Louise


I am quite surprised by the monster ratings American Idol's second installation has garnered. I really didn't think it would draw such a tremendous audience without the advantage of summer boredom to lure viewers. However, looking at its competition, it all makes sense. Because of The Big Three's age-old tradition of airing repeats in April in order to save its "best" for May Sweeps, Fox cleverly scheduled American Idol for this period of doldrum television in order to hook its audience. The Big Three desperately tried to counteract Fox's success with war coverage and increasingly terrible reality series. For a four-week period, I watched all the reality fare that was offered on the Big Three and Fox. Still reeling from the resultant loss of IQ points, this is what I saw (in alphabetical order):

All American Girl

Oh, puh-leeze. Do you really think any true all-American girl would put herself on such a silly show? I think they have more class.

Are You Hot?

I just can't understand why anyone (hot or not) would want to subject themselves to such a humiliating experience. Not only were they given points for face, body and sex appeal, but we had to put up with aging actor Lorenzo Lamas (who hasn't been anything close to hot in years) ripping off Howard Stern with his laser-pointer "flaw finder" and spewing such profundities as "I've got a burrito cooking south of the border and it's almost done." Leave it to Howard Stern, Lorenzo. Stern is funny; you're just creepy.

The Bachelor

In this third foray into Desperate Women Chasing Hunky Man, there is really nothing new or clever. The women cat fight. The man drools. There's a lot of sucking face and hot tubbing. Yawn.

Mr. Personality

I found this show quite creepy. Hosted by Monica Lewinsky, this is pretty much a Bachelorette clone. The only difference is that the men wear gaily colored masks that look like rejects from a C-movie horror flick.

Search for the Most Talented Kid in America

The episode I watched had a 13-year-old girl doing what looked like a striptease in a dominatrix outfit (euwww). The other contestants had enough talent for a good school production. If you're looking for the most talented kid in America, this isn't the place to find him/her.

Star Search

Though I'd like to hit host Arsenio Hall with a few digits of my own, at least Star Search is very watchable and entertaining. It's a huge bonus that viewers can immediately vote for (and get results on) the contestant they like best. And thank goodness the silly "modeling" category was nixed in favor of "dance".

Survivor Amazon

Leaps and bounds better than Survivor Marquesas, it was a refreshing spin to pit the men against the women. Too bad that premise didn't last a little longer, since it's deteriorated into the same old Survivor: shallow empty-heads (not to mention Rob - the most pathetic excuse for a man I've ever seen) back-stabbing to win money.


There are more reality shows to come (The Simple Life, Beverly Hillbillies, a Joe Millionaire-type clone, etc.) and I can't help but wonder if this genre will ever peter out. Are we never going to get tired of watching attractive men/women/children act/sing/dance/vomit in a jungle/mansion/go-hut? Cheap to produce, the networks will churn them out thick and fast as long as we continue to watch them. However, they'll have to be a lot more imaginative than what's been offered so far in order to keep us hooked. Then again, there's no accounting for taste.  
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