Reality television and I have always had a bit of a love/hate relationship, like if we were a couple our Facebook relationship status would have to be “it’s complicated” because on the one hand you have shows where there is an actual skill or talent required to compete like say Project Runway, Top Chef or Rockstar: INXS but then along comes the other hand and it is filled with abysmal crap and awful people primarily involving plastic-enhanced housewives from some town or another, homophobic, allegedly Christian serial duck killers, or people who have more children then there are residents in towns in North Dakota and it makes you yearn for the days when TLC and A&E actually meant something and did not stand for the networks most likely to air a freak show, and not the good kind where Jessica Lange totally massacres one of my favorite Bowie songs which I am begging her never to do again, at least not with a fake German accent.
Reality television is cheap and quick to produce and for those two reasons alone it will survive the apocalypse just like all the world’s cockroaches and Dick Cheney will somewhere in Wyoming with a stockpile of canned goods, an arsenal of weapons and a defibrillator or two (you know he’s a Doomsday prepper ) just to make sure. It’s been over twenty years since MTV’s Real World first burst onto the scene and we all stopped being polite and got real with each other and well there is just no going back now because fame-whoring* has become an actual full-time job with endless growth potential as anything/everything Kardashian-related sadly proves.
One day after a particularly challenging day at work I sat on my couch, snuggled with my dog and watched three episodes of Vanderpump Rules without moving not because I liked it in any way but because my brain was completely fried and watching a bunch of fake waiters and waitresses come up with insane ways to stir up some shit for no reason with their fake friends at their fake workplace was way more entertaining than thinking about people who do that stuff for real. Oh-Amy herself was a cocktail waitress during her college years at a trendy upscale Mexican bar and nothing even remotely exciting happened there in two years except the one time a couple of dudes got into a fight over the Vikings (the sports team not the seafarers) and knocked over some tables but mostly it was dullsville albeit the best way to make the most amount of money working the least amount of hours that was legal which was the only reason why I did it.
Pretty much all of the early reality shows were must-see TV for me. I loved Project Runway despite Heidi Klum’s fingers-on-chalkboard-voice that used to scare my dog sometimes almost as much as when the smoke detectors would accidentally go off. If Project Runway was on I was watching it in real-time because I did not have TiVo or any of those other fancy DVR things so you had to be present to watch and I was, without fail, for the first few seasons until they skedaddled over to Lifetime and it became boring like most shows do after a while.
Interestingly enough even though I was born without the bridal gene I do still like and watch Say Yes to the Dress despite the fact that even if I did have that particular gene I would probably never say yes to any of the dresses especially the skank-tastic Pnina Tornai corset ones that cost about as much as a one-way ticket on the Orient Express yet look like they came from Forever 21 or Love Culture and that is definitely not a compliment, backhanded or otherwise, Ms. Overpriced Wedding Dress Designer Lady of Kleinfeld’s.
But there is one rather newish genre of reality TV shows that I am more than a little bit into these days and that is the tiny house movement and all the shows about them including Tiny House Hunting and Tiny House Nation that air on FYI. I first found out about this small house phenomena last year when the DailyMail (quite possibly the world’s worst yet coincidentally most popular online newspaper) ran a story about a cool cabin in the woods of Wisconsin and I fell in love, not so much with the idea of moving to Wisconsin mind you, but with the adorable little cabin situated there.
Now I live in an average-sized suburban dime-a-dozen-rambler and have rooms that exist for no real purpose other than a place to dump my mail (dining room) or store my great aunt’s china (living room) I have had since I was ten years old that apparently none of the millennials in my family will ever want because they have no feelings or sense of duty like us olds so the idea that people are living in a house the size of my bedroom is mind-boggling. One guy in Portland with a child actually considered a 93-square-foot home with a kitchen/bathroom combo that I can’t even describe before designing his own place complete with a composting toilet, something that I prefer not to even think about because the Romans invented sewers for a reason and it was an excellent one. Nonetheless I admire these people and their less is more lifestyle even if I can’t fully embrace it, yet.
*Fame-whore: someone who contributes absolutely nothing to humanity yet for unknown, inextricable reasons, certain segments of the population apparently want to keep up with them.