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Archive for the category “Reality TV”

TLC, Catholic Church Team Up for “Who Wants to Be the Next Pope?”

Vatican City — Faced with accusations that they are “out of touch” with modern life, the Catholic Church has decided to take a drastic step to become more relevant:  reality TV.

With the surprise retirement of Pope Benedict XIV, the Church finds itself in the unenviable position of having to name the second new pope in less than a decade.  The solution?  A joint reality TV venture between TLC and the Catholic Church called “Who Wants to Be the Next Pope?”

At this early date, the format of “Who Wants to Be the Next Pope?” is under discussion.  One proposal:  every week, contestants will get acquainted with Vatican officials.  At the end of the week, the favorite contestants will be asked to stay at an elimination ceremony with the tagline, “Cardinal, will you accept this rosary?”

Also unclear at this time:  who will be the host of “Who Wants to Be the Next Pope?”  A worldwide search for talented Catholics is underway, with an early list of frontrunners that includes Stephen Colbert, Paul Ryan, Madonna, an assortment of telenovela stars, and pretty much everybody from the Kennedy family.

Critics are already accusing TLC of reaching a new low of tacky, scandalous television that has the potential to offend over a billion believers worldwide.  Network executive Brad O’Malley, an Irish Catholic, countered these claims.  “We realize that this show might be pushing the envelope a little,” said O’Malley.  “But if people are offended, they don’t have to watch. Just like they don’t have to watch Toddlers and Tiaras, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Hoarders, and our many shows about little people and conjoined twins.”

“Here at TLC,” said O’Malley, “we’re always looking for reality shows that viewers never in a million years thought that anyone would ever put on TV.  That’s why we’re called The Learning Channel.”

The Holy Ghost, who is usually a key participant when choosing a new pope, has already declined TLC’s offer to participate in the program.


Celebrity Diving, and Some Even Dumber Ideas for Celebrity Reality TV Shows


Like most Americans, I indulge in mindless reality TV now and then, but I’ve never gotten into the “celebrity reality TV” genre, other knows as “celebreality.”   I don’t understand why people enjoy watching 1980s has-been celebrities and other D-listers desperately grasping for one last 15 minutes of fame.  So when I heard about ABC’s upcoming celebrity high-diving show, I thought it was a joke.  It’s not.  The show is called “Splash,” and it’s coming in March.

This seems like a really, really bad idea to me, because (1) unlike dancing, cooking, and other competitive tasks attempted by celebrities on reality TV shows, high diving is actually pretty dangerous, and (2) does anyone out there actually care if Kendra Wilkinson, former girlfriend of Hugh Hefner, can dive?

I can only imagine the depth to which the celebrity reality TV genre might sink.  At what point, are you going to see the following competitions?

  • Celebrity Historical Reenactment.  Want to see Bret Michaels, Gary Busey, and other washed-up celebrities reenact the Civil War?  Me either, but if the History Channel gets desperate for ratings, maybe they should give this a try.
  • Celebrity Toddlers and Tiaras.  Let’s see what happens when celebrity moms parade their little girls around in these pageants.  Maybe Kim and Kanye could enter their baby, because, hey, wouldn’t you like to see Kim and Mama June go at it?
  • Celebrity Hoarders.  You think the original show is creepy?  Let’s find some hoarders with millions of dollars.
  • Celebrity Ice Road Truckers.  Yes, Ice Road Truckers was actually a show about truck drivers riding around in Arctic conditions.  Can you totally imagine this as a celebrity competition show?  Maybe Ricki Lake will sign up.
  • Celebrity Human Wrecking Balls. Yep, Human Wrecking Balls is a real show too, which basically features a couple of big guys who destroy boats and cars and things with their bare hands.  This may be the perfect venue for Christina Aguilera.
  • Celebrity “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant.” Sadly, I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant is a real show as well (and sadly, one that I’ve actually watched) in which women reenact the night gave birth to a child they somehow didn’t know was in there.  This would be harder to orchestrate as a celebrity reality competition show, but I’m sure the geniuses at TLC could figure out how to make this happen.
  • Celebrity Extreme Couponing. Not for Gucci bags and designer duds, but for the same American cheese wedges and Tic Tacs that everyday people shop for with their piles of coupons.  If they make this into a couples contest, I can totally see Heidi and Spencer signing up.
  • Celebrity Dog Whisperer.  I don’t know which way this show should go.  Should Cesar Millan attempt to tame the dogs of celebrities?  Or should celebrities compete for America’s Next Top Celebrity Dog Whisperer?  The latter would certainly allow for some interesting weekly competitions.

If you have other ideas, I (and the rest of the viewing public) would love to hear them!

Top 10 Political Reality TV Show Ideas

Once upon a time, citizens were willing to listen for hours to debates and other lengthy political discourse. Unfortunately, today’s American attention span is better equipped for the likes of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

To get modern Americans more engaged in politics, maybe it’s time we changed things up from C-SPAN to America’s favorite television format — reality TV!  Here are ten ideas for how to use reality TV to rejuvenate the political process.

1. The Bench-ler

There’s just not enough drama behind the process of choosing a Supreme Court nominee. Why not make the process like The Bachelor? Every week, the House and Senate can go on “dates” with the nominees to exciting locations like the Harvard Law School Library.  And instead of a rose ceremony, they could hand out… “Clarence, will you accept this robe?”

2. The Vice Apprentice

Similarly, choosing a Vice Presidential candidate would be so much more dramatic if the nominee did it Apprentice style. Every week, the potential VPs would be assigned to degrading tasks with lots of product placement involved, and whoever screws up the worst gets fired.  This may actually happen if (God forbid) Donald Trump ever gets the nomination.

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Why this Feminist Loves The Bachelor, or, Pretty White People Behaving Badly


This Monday, The Bachelor is back! And I can’t wait. Since 2002, I’ve been a viewer of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and even the miserably sleazy Bachelor Pad.

And why do I watch this stuff? Because I’m addicted to romance? Because I have great faith that two strangers will fall in love on an eight-week long reality show and live happily ever after?

No and hell no. I watch these shows for one reason — because they are just about the funniest shows I’ve ever seen on television.

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What I Learned From “Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids Edition”

green dresses

There’s plenty of intelligent programming on my TiVo lineup. PBS Newshour. Jeopardy. The Colbert Report. There’s also an embarrassing amount of mindless, patriarchal jibber-jabber on my TiVo—the kind of stuff that smart people say they watch “because it’s a train wreck” or “for ironic pleasure” or “because I’m looking forward to the apocalypse.”

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Lincoln, Civility, and Reality TV

cspanWould we be better off if members of Congress abandoned all vestiges of civility, and instead went after each other with a cruel barrage of insults?

This goes against our modern sense of how politics is supposed to function. In 2009, when a South Carolina Congressman shouted, “You lie!” as President Obama spoke, people were horrified. What has happened, we bemoaned, to civility in American politics? It’s bad enough that commentators are screaming at each other on Fox News, but now, in the House of Representatives?

But then, this past weekend, I went to see Lincoln. And to me, the most fascinating part was watching the Congressmen debating each other in the circa-1864 House of Representatives. These weren’t just any debates. Out of the mouths of these distinguished gentlemen came personal attacks and painfully clever barbs, which were followed by partisan roars of approval. Along with the cigars and spittoons, I almost expected to see these guys with frothy mugs of lager. They may as well have been at the pub.

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