5.07.2007

TOP 5 REASONS WHY DANCING WITH THE STARS IS NOT REALITY T.V.



Alright I admit, I friggin love this show. This is the first season I've watched and I can't get enough. Between this and Heroes Monday is my new favorite day. Last week upon finishing our lunch at Nate & Al's, my friend Jane and I bumped into Ian Ziering on the street. We were tempted to follow him into the elevator and whisper, "I voted for you." Luckily we thought better of ourselves. So in defense of myself I present . . . . . The Top 5 Reason Why Dancing With The Stars Is Not Reality Television.

5. Judges - Granted they can sometimes be douche bags, but they are there nonetheless.

4. Voting - I'm convinced that Billy Ray is still on this show because there are far too many hillbillies in this great country of ours. However, America did pull through with getting rid of our generation's Yoko.

3. Nobody is eating testicles of any kind - at least not on camera

2. Arthur Murray never sponsored The Real World.

1. Nobody ever called Star Search reality television.

6 comments:

Michelle said...

Do we have to be so nice by calling her this generation's Yoko? I call her the one legged whore, and I am proud to say that I voted every week for anyone other than her!

Jane said...

I heart Steve Sanders!

David said...

Having worked for a Reality Television Production Company that bestowed upon us such treasures as "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance/Boss" "Temptation Island" "Bull Run" "Trading Spouses"...etc, I feel like I am somewhat of an "authority" in determining whether or not Dancing with the Stars is in fact, reality television. First I will deconstruct your top five list:

(1) Judges - Judges are present in many reality television formats, including, but not limited to, American Idol, Skating with the Stars, Pros vs. Joes, The Contender...etc., and all of these shows have been labeled "reality television" by fans and critics alike.

(2) Voting - Voting can be an integral part of a reality television format as it is merely a vehicle for enhancing sponsorship dollars, namely, official cellular phone sponsor rights. If you haven't noticed, and you likely haven't becuase you wisely use TiVo, there are likely a multitude of advertisements for ONE phone company. Sponsorship has become increasingly important in reality television, as evidenced American Idol's "Ford Focus" moment and not-so-inconspicuous Coca-cola placements...boy Randy sure is thirsty!

(3) Correct, nobody is eating testicles; but someone is missing a leg. Every reality television show has a freak. The person who is willing to eat testicles (I went to school with a Fear Factor winner who had to eat deer penis) is the same as the person with a missing leg or a failed career. The producers of this show basically took the leftovers from The Surreal Life casting call and said "what if we made them dance". Look out for next season, I guarantee either Eric Estrada or Vern Troyer decide they want to dance.

(4) Arthur Murray has never sponsored The Real World, but Bunnim-Murray has produced The Real World. Coincidence? I think not. Plus, Arthur Murray is the California Pizza Kitchen of dance schools, OF COURSE they are a sponsor. This actually tips in my favor, as I have mentioned before that most "reality shows" are heavily dependent on sponsorships...and a lot of them. Notice how most television dramas have "advertisers" and not "sponsors"...that's because those dramas aren't reality shows.

(5) Nobody ever called Star Search "reality television". Star Search ran from 1983 - 1995, predating the modern "reality television show" era. The first reality show that was labeled as such was The Real World, which aired in 1992. The term "reality" was, at the time, more of a trade mark used to drive the name of the show and pound into our heads that this is what happens when people stop being polite and start being real. In reality we all live in a mansion with a manic-depressive, an anorexic, a lesbian and/or gay man, a southerner who is intolerant of black people, a black person who is intolerant of white people...oh, and did I mention that, coincidentally, they all have perfect abs?

Second, the show is LIVE!!! A show that is aired Live EVERY WEEK, should be a red flag. Why would they need the show to be live? Once again, sponsors (the key component of reality television show formats). But more importantly, shows that are live are Uber-Reality shows. They are so "REAL" that they are literally "NOW"!!! That may have blown your mind. I'll leave it at that.

Third, the show is entirely comprised of has-beens and never-will-bes.

Fourth, a better classification for this show would be "reality-game-show" if you are not into a strict reality show. This show is no different than Deal or No Deal in terms of format, except Howie Mandel isn't there to creep you out, and there aren't boxes filled with cash.

I think I'm spent...

jojo from kokomo said...

Nice deconstruction, D. However, a few possible loopholes I'd like to see addressed. By your rules, would not EVERY game show - Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, for instance - qualify as reality TV? And for that matter, wouldn't broadcast newscasts? How about awards shows?

David said...

Ah, you misunderstand me. The presence of "LIVE" feed enhances the format. The format itself is already established as "reality television". The element of "live" merely weighs in my favor, but cannot stand alone as evidenced by the news. Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune are taped in front of a live studio audience BUT are not live feeds. Big difference. Awards shows are live, but do not meet the previous requirements for "reality television" (ie: no token freak, no sponsorship dollars driving it, no voting by a broad audience (voting for awards shows are done by closed committees of people, usually the actors themselves).

-K said...

You guys are getting far too serious :)

according to wikipedia (which I will be the first to say is a shit source):

"Reality television is a genre of television programming which presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and features ordinary people instead of professional actors."

"There remains controversy over whether talent-search shows such as the Idol series, America's Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars and Celebrity Duets are truly reality television, or just newer incarnations of shows such as Star Search. There is no element of plot on these shows; on the other hand, there is a good deal of interaction shown between contestants and judges, and the shows follow the traditional reality-game show conventions of removing one or more contestants per episode and allowing the public to vote on who is removed."