reality tv notes


the 40's-50's - of the shows listed, only allen funt's ambush comedy project candid camera fit my definition

the 60's-70's - Seven Up!, Warhol films, An American Family - good examples

Chuck Barris: The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, and The Gong Show - only the gong show counts. this is an exception to my game shows dont count rule.

the 80's-90's - COPS, The Real World, Americas Funniest Home Videos - prime examples

"...the producers of The Real World have stated that their direct inspiration was An American Family."

the 2000's - of all listed only: Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County.

Documentary Style

Special Living Environment and Celebs dont count except anna nicole smith and the osbornes, also the one with flav a flav. sorry rev run, no go.

Occupational is close to Instructional. none listed count. see below.

Competitive and Game Shows dont count

Dating, Job Search, Sports dont count

Self Improvement/Makeovers dont count

Renovation - AH HA!!! i will broaden this to instructional, which begins with wgbh's 1963-73 the french chef. Russell Morash worked with julia childe and went on to produce the victory garden (1975-present) and this old house (1979-present) also for wgbh boston. this is the core of instructional or how-to reality tv.

Social, Dating, Talk, Hidden Camera (as here defined), Supernatural, Hoaxes - dont count

Prior elements in popular culture - good examples provided

also informing reality tv is documentary film (predating 1900 to present) and its subset cinema verite. both support my interpretation of good rtv.

- bill 7-23-2010 5:52 pm

"Real Life (1979) is a comedic film about the creation of a show similar to An American Family gone horribly wrong." - (one of the all time great movies - "to err is human, to film divine")

What about these horrible Food Network shows like Ace of Cakes (bleccch) and Dinner Impossible (gaggg)? They are reality show format.
- tom moody 7-23-2010 6:40 pm [add a comment]

I guess those are occupational.
- tom moody 7-23-2010 6:42 pm [add a comment]

all pure food instruction is down stream from the french chef w/ varied success. set-up events dont fit my definition even though they constitute the majority of what is now considered RTV. i also enjoy instructional shows where auto or cycle repair and welding work goes on, ie pimp my ride, monster garage, trucks, etc. but the results are usually predetermined. no surprises. with TOH there were usually surprises (good and bad) in the course of filming. less predetermined more reality based.
- bill 7-23-2010 6:48 pm [add a comment]

Well, Ace of Cakes supposedly documents the making of (horrible) theme cakes for clients (with no taste). It's a day in the life of the cake makers, who seem quite confident that they are cool, interesting, funny, and talented. It's edited heavily but I don't think it involves set ups. Maybe they edit failed cakes (but I think all of them are failed cakes). I'd say it's a reality show--whether it's watchable is another question.

In Real Life the scene where Albert Brooks says the line quoted above is after veterinarian Charles Grodin has killed a horse during a filmed surgery and begs Brooks not to include the footage. (Brooks nailed a lot of stuff very early in the reality show biz.)
- tom moody 7-23-2010 7:02 pm [add a comment]

set-up = get some cake makers and film them with their clients under party pressure. also see bridezilla and my sweet 16 party. its a formula where results fall within anticipated boundaries. not real.

brooks and grodin, nice.
- bill 7-23-2010 7:09 pm [add a comment]

I recently saw a late 70s documentary called "Best Boy" about an elderly couple's daily life with a mentally challenged son in his early 50s. Over the course of a year or more you see the son improving as he is put into a group home situation. (The movie starts with them shaving his face and at the end he is shaving himself with an electric razor.) At the screening a lot of questions went to the filmmaker about the proto-reality TV nature of the project. I asked him if he was aware of An American Family but apparently not--he didn't remember that it aired in 73--he thought it was later. During the filming the father dies - there are setbacks - definitely not set up but not TV so outside your definition. Historically interesting.
- tom moody 7-23-2010 7:32 pm [add a comment]

ive seen best boy, its great.

good rtv takes after good documentary film. im just reviewing here why it was i thought i liked rtv. the new recipe with exaggerated emphasis on competition, pressing time constraint (both strong symptoms of a corporate culture imbued society) and rank and file dipshits becomes unwatchable and irrelevant. mentos + pepsi is not good rtv although youtube has picked up the ball from americas funniest home videos. especially the ones that begin with "hold my beer and watch this." amateur porn is busy keeping it real too. so, there's hope.

the bravo show NGA falls into the "assholes set-up" formula. the producers record of failed rtv projects insured that it would be free of cultural merit. saltz was their (our) only hope. the only critical element that could possibly pull it out of the crapper. alas he was either not up to the challenge, unjustly edited or chose to dumb down to the production level. i really cant tell which.

- bill 7-23-2010 8:47 pm [add a comment]

Yeah, I couldn't bear to watch WANGA. I love art too much and know how unsusceptible it is to a script or a clock. I accidentally caught a few minutes of it flipping around the dial and it reminded me of Ace of Cakes so I quickly flipped away. I do think "weirdos on YouTube" is a better premise because of self-selection and self-editing. Also all the diverse non-mainstream fetish cultures (literally and figuratively) that thrive there. Even with the camera distorting things, that is pretty real.
- tom moody 7-24-2010 2:01 am [add a comment]

add a comment to this page:

Your post will be captioned "posted by anonymous,"
or you may enter a guest username below:

Line breaks work. HTML tags will be stripped.