January 11, 2010
Reality TV versus Fictional Romance
As a bona fide romance author, I’m constantly amazed by what passes as believable on television these days. The new generation of program creators have come up with shows that supposedly represent what happens in “real life.” I’m here to tell you if the shows I’ve watched truly fall under the definition of “reality,” I’m resigning as a female human being.
In working with editors, we authors are constantly reminded that what we write has to be at least somewhat believable despite the fact that we write fiction. The plot has to be ingenious enough to draw a reader in and hold them captive until the very end, but never make them scratch their head in disbelief. Television, it seems, can present the most implausible situation, broadcast it weekly, and garner humongous ratings, yet if an author presents something ridiculous, he/she is haunted for years with crummy reviews.
If you haven’t witnessed the boob tube insanity for yourself, picture a short, little black man who dresses in garish clothing, wears a giant clock around his neck, calls himself Flava Flave and entices a dozen good-looking but evidently brainless women to come on live TV and compete for his affections. One look at his ugly mug makes me ask, “Why?” There isn’t enough money in the world.
Or, how about Bret Michaels and his Rock of Love? The script is the same, except ex-not-well-known-rocker, Michaels, flaunts his bevy of beauties and his blond “weave” all over the country in buses that sport his name in big letters…usually two vehicles, but just until he narrows the field down enough to fill only one. The aim is supposed to be finding his true love, but since he’s been on three seasons now, you’d think he’d figure out what he’s doing isn’t working. Oh sign me up! There’s nothing like swapping spit with someone who’s just had his tongue down the throat of ten other women…and usually while they all stand by and watch. There is no length to which these women won’t go to in order to win their man. And what a prize he is. NOT! Part of the thrill is touring from county fair to county fair to watch him perform. Gag! Of course part of the allure may be all the different colored bandannas he sports to hold his fake hair on his head.
My most recent find was Real Chance of Love. Here, two brothers, Real and Chance, members of a not-at-all-heard-of band, The Stallionaires, are looking for the love of their lives. What a concept. Sure not a new one! They also entice a dozen or more beauties to come spend time in their “mansion,” and compete with the others and be the last woman standing. What constantly amazes me is that these bimbos stomp their feet, cry, and get pissy if they aren’t the center of attention at all times. I keep asking myself, “What did they expect when they signed up for this gig?” Since this was Real and Chance’s second season, I’m pretty certain we can expect a third. These two are definitely not my dream men… in fact, there isn't anything real about them except one uses the name. I’d rather read a novel and create a hero in my mind’s eye. Real is maybe five feet tall, wears spandex arm covers, has a black weave longer than Cher’s, and Chance has a Mohawk and a space between his front teeth almost wide enough to drive through. Someone should encourage the producers to at least find someone with sex appeal so these women don’t appear quite so stupid.
There are so many more ridiculous shows like this, and I’m ashamed to admit I know the names of most of them. Let’s just agree that I learned them by doing research for this post. *grin*. I Love Money, The Tool Academy, oh, and let’s not forget the Kardashian clan who somehow managed to wriggle into fame and fortune on Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Really…the entire family, and now there’s a spin off for two of the sisters. Pah-leese…Do we really care what Khloe and Kourtney are doing?
What I have noticed during my “research” is that on most of these shows you earn a new name. It’s usually something given you by the “star(s)” because there’s no way they could remember common monikers. It’s much easier to call those in their harem things like: New York, Doll, Classy, Cornfed, Mamacita, Hot Wings, or Sassy. Just in case you wonder…New York started on Flava Flave, migrated to I Love Money, and then went on to get her own spin off. Cornfed was Real’s failing choice last season, while Mamacita and Sassy made the finals this year, but were left standing in tears when Chance choose Hot Wings and Real waltzed off with Doll. Oh God, help me…I know the entire cast and what happened to them.
So tell me; why would you want to watch something as ridiculous as reality, when you can read a great dose of fiction that’s believable? The only thing you can count on with reality TV is that there’s nothing original to be found. If you watch one show, you’ve watched them all. They just are filmed in different places, have different names, but believe me…all cast men no one would ever conjure up as a hero or leading man. Give me a good book any day!