Last week, NBC premiered Ready for Love, the latest bland iteration of reality dating shows. In the show, three interchangeable clean cut dudes pick from groups of interchangeable attractive women and hope to find true love. I can't tell you if they found it, because I could only keep the nausea down for about 40 minutes of Ready for Love's 2 hour premiere.
Into this cynical landscape comes Burning Love, a genius web series spoofing reality dating shows.
RuPaul's Drag Race debuted its fifth season this week. If you've never watched the show, all you need to know is that it's the sparkling vision of glamazon mastermind, RuPaul. In this reality show that far makes Project Runway look like crumbs on a cubicle desk, fabulous men embody women, creating and presenting glittering outfits for judges. They make you shout at the screen, "Oh snap!" and, "Oh no, she didn't!" But she did! And her realness is sickening.
I illustrated six of my favorite moments from the season premiere. They are the moments of moments.
With hidden cameras and a hint of pedantry, ABC's primetime series What Would You Do? has tested society's comfort with everything from same-sex parents to public breastfeeding. This week's segment tackles transphobia and reveals what we already knew: No conversation about transgender people is complete without bringing out the Bono.
I have never been much of a reality television viewer, and any lingering desire I may have had to watch reality shows disappeared after I read Jennifer Pozner’s Reality Bites Back earlier this year. But as soon as I heard about the new season of America’s Next Top Model, I realized I had to give it a shot. That’s because Cycle 18 of ANTM features not one, but TWO openly queer women. And one of them is bi-identified Laura LaFrate.
Few women of color are allowed to represent themselves on television with much nuance; frequently they are reduced to stock characters like mammies and Jezebels that deny them full, complex humanity. Successful women of color are slammed with stereotypes of the "Angry Black Woman" or are forced to represent all women of their race as impossibly perfect standard-bearers.
Within this all of this, the Real Housewives of Atlanta become caricatured and over-representative of what we think wealthy black women should like like.
I understand that reality television has to have some sort of "hook" to get you, the viewer, interested enough to stick around. For the most part, that's usually drama. Even when shows are about parenting, it’s not the day-to-day rhythm that gets airtime, but rather the sensational, unbelievable, and usually questionable parenting decisions that take center stage.
HuffPo reports on Rachel Maddow's statement that "[g]ay people—generally speaking—have a responsibility to our own community and to future generations of gay people to come out, if and when we feel that we can." Do you agree?
Bravo's latest reality series, Pregnant in Heels, follows clothing designer and "Pregnancy Concierge" (which basically means just what you think it means: doing stuff for pregnant people) Rosie Pope as she deals with clients whom she's dubbed "million dollar moms." Only one episode of the show has aired so far, but it's already being billed as showcasing the "bitchiest" women ever while they're at their hormone-fueled worst. Call me a bleeding-heart, reality-television-loving apologist if you must, but after watching the pilot episode I think some of that snark is missing the point.