Reality Absurdium

Tabatha Coffey

You have to wonder what’s going on in the heads of people coming up with these Reality TV Shows.

“So here’s the idea! We’re gonna have a reality competiton show. I know it’s been done ad nasuem, but mine’s special. It’s about, get this, hair sylists!”

And then you sit and think about how stupid that concept is. Who’s going to watch a bunch of pople cutting hair? Where’s the drama in that? But then … we watch Project Runway (we love Project Runway). And Survivor is in it’s nine-billionth season. So we sit and watch people compete to be a sweet genius, or not get chopped, or whatever else they come up with and people point and laugh at us.

Hey, you watch grown men chase a football around when only one guy kicks it. And you, over there, I know cried when the Indians lose to the Marlins in 1997– Wait that was me. Still, people find it totally acceptable to follow sports teams or the Olympics, which I do, and that’s social okay. But saying “I love watching Chopped” gets you funny looks.

For me, it boils down to whether or not the show is exploitative. I detest Dance Moms, because of the damage they’re doing to those poor kids, and I no longer watch Survivor, because there is a limit to how many times you can sit and watch people get filthy on an island. Also I started to notice how they were bringing back people over and over, and that just didn’t entertain me.

But what I do watch are elimination shows, like Project Runway and Sheer Genius. What? No, that wasn’t a typo. The first image in this post was Tabatha Coffey, who was a stand out fan favorite from a show about hair stylists. She didn’t win the show (she lost in a team challenge with someone she didn’t get along with) but was Fan Favorite. And for once, I didn’t argue with that designation. She was amazing. Take no prisoners, tell it like it is. And she’s the one who decided to take back the word bitch. Sounds familiar? I call myself “Half-Elf, Full B.I.T.C.H.” because of her.

Then there’s also Tim Gunn from Project Runway, who isn’t actually a fashion designer, but has a way with understanding the heart of both fashion and design in a way unparalleled. He’s witty, smart, darling, and I just want to have him for dinner to hang out.

It’s the interesting people that I grow attached to. Like Padma Lakshmi from Top Chef, which is also where I first saw Elizabeth Falkner, whom I in turn root for in The Next Iron Chef.

All the shows I like are about people pitting their skills against over people, where we get to see art born out of fury and rage and a little bit of diva-ing. But what I love best is when people forget the competition and just set out to make the best whatevers they can, with love and fervor.

Those are the reality shows I like.

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