Hi everyone! For my first Scribbling article, I thought I would write about a topic I’m very familiar with: Reality T.V. In my opinion, some of the best and worst shows belong in this category, many of which I’ve watched. Considering my unusually extensive knowledge on the subject, I figured I’d make a guide to some of the most popular ones based on this rubric:
Content of the Show: 4 points
Contestants/Stars: 3 points
Structure of the Show: 3 points
America’s favorite reality T.V. shows. Digital image. Cable TV. 6 November 2017,https://www.cabletv.com/blog/americas-favorite-reality-tv-shows-by-state
“Dance Moms” is a Lifetime show about a dance instructor, Abby Lee Miller, her dancers, and their moms. The show follows the Abby Lee Dance Company’s Junior Elite Team to a new dance competition every weekend and shows the drama behind the scenes.
Content: Content-wise, this show is hilarious. I wouldn’t normally be so interested in dance, but the moms’ and Abby’s dramatic arguments over costuming, choreography, or Abby’s less than kind teaching methods make for great T.V. 4/4
Stars: The girls, who are the real stars of the show, are super likeable and great dancers. I find Abby the most entertaining character to watch and her choreography is great (unless she’s mad at the girls), but she did go to jail for fraud, so I guess we should dock a point for that. 2/3
Structure: “Dance Moms” has a defined structure to the episodes starting at pyramid, where Abby ranks each of the girls based on her performance the week prior, continuing to the rehearsal for the dances, during which a lot of the drama between the moms happens, and ending at the competition. In my opinion, this structure helps keep the show interesting by only including parts that are necessary and entertaining. 3/3
Total: 9/10. I might be biased because of my obsession with this show during 5th grade, but I think this show is a must-watch, no matter what your interest level is in dance.
“Keeping up with the Kardashians”
“Keeping up with the Kardashians,” or KUWTK, is an E! show about the Kardashian/Jenner family. This show concentrates on the personal, professional and public lives of the members of this famous family.
Content: “KUWTK” gives you the inside scoop on the lives of the rich and famous. Learning about their first world problems, such as losing a $75,000 earring in the ocean at Bora Bora, really puts things in perspective. The show is really fun to watch, but calling it a little melodramatic is an understatement. 3/4
Stars: The main stars are Kim, Khloé, and Kourtney Kardashian and their half-sisters Kylie and Kendall Jenner, along with their parents Kris and Caitlyn. This family really brings in a lot of viewers, and their fame goes beyond the show. Anyone you ask will know who the Kardashians are, which a fact that it has more of an impact than any other reality star. 3/3
Structure: This show is the only one on this list that isn’t a competition of some sort, so it doesn’t really have as much of a structure, but I think that makes it kind of fun. You never know what’s going to happen next, a parallel, I assume, to their actual lives. However, during the first couple of seasons, it jumps back and forth a lot, chromology that makes it kind of choppy and hard to follow the episode’s “story line.” 2/3
Total: 8/10 “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” may not be the show for everyone, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone with a big interest in pop culture and luxurious lifestyles.
“The Bachelor” Franchise
As some of the most popular and long-running reality shows, “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette”, and “Bachelor in Paradise” have to be included on this list. These shows are some of America’s favorite guilty pleasures, and they air basically year-round on ABC. “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” are about one person dating 30 men/women for two months, eliminating some every week but hoping to be engaged by the end. “Bachelor in Paradise” takes some of the heartbroken favorites from past seasons and gives them a second shot at love with other contestants.
Content: While the drama is very entertaining, this show is very unrealistic and promotes an ideal “fairytale love story” that is pretty much unattainable. The show also encourages marrying someone you barely know after meeting them only two months prior. To be fair, most reality shows are incredibly unrealistic, but I don’t think this show does a good job of helping its viewers manage their expectations for love. 2/4
Stars: There are so many people on this show every season! I find it really hard to get to know the contestants until about the final 8, so I tend to go through a lot of the season trying to remember who is who, which takes away some of the fun. This show also lacks a lot of diversity with the contestants and bachelors/bachelorettes. However, there have been a couple strong female leads recently, so I won’t take off all 3 points. 1/3
Structure: Almost every season of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” follows a specific pattern. During the first half of the season, there are the introductions, a couple weeks of dates in L.A., and a few weeks of dates in different countries around the world. During the second half, the contestants each have the Bachelor/Bachelorette to their hometown, and vise versa. Then, there is the big finale with the engagement. I like this pattern because I think it gives the audience an idea of what to look forward to and which contestants they want to go far. 3/3
Total: 6/10 “The Bachelor” Franchise is very polarizing, but if you like dramatic dating shows I’d say go for it! Just don’t expect to know who everyone is right away.
“Survivor” has aired on CBS twice a year since 2000! Some may consider this the O.G. reality competition show, and I would have to agree. It is a competition to see who can outwit, outplay and outlast the others to win the $1,000,000 prize.
Content: About 30 people are stranded on an exotic island and separated into tribes, working together but also competing amongst themselves. My favorite part of the show is the jury system, which allows people who have been voted off the island to come back and ultimately vote on the final winner. This show is a really interesting concept, but I think it can sometimes get a little repetitive and boring during the middle of the season. 3/4
Stars: Similar to “The Bachelor,” there is an issue with learning all of the names of the contestants towards the beginning of the season, but you get used to them a few episodes in. Ironically, “Survivor” has had just about as many successful relationships between contestants as The Bachelor. There is a huge psychological impact of this intense situation; it can either cause people to grow closer or cause irrational betrayals. 3/3
Structure: Each episode of Survivor begins at camp after the previous night’s elimination. Then, during the next few days, there are competitions for a reward, which usually involves food or a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and for immunity from being voted off. After the challenges, the members go to tribal council, where they debrief the week and vote someone off the island. While this is a very straightforward outline, there is a lot of filler time in between with boring or unnecessary scenes of them at camp. 2/3
Total: 8/10 Even though this is the same rating as “KUWTK,” do not get them confused. “Survivor” is a classic, and I’d totally recommend it if you love the outdoors or just love watching people slowly break down after not showering for 31 days.
I hope that by using this guide you can find some of your new favorite shows to watch when you need just a little extra drama in your life!