Writers Strike, Reality Sets In

By Beacon Staff

As the strike by television and film writers continues, as production halts on shows such as “Desperate Housewives” and “Two and Half Men,” the networks are expected to turn to reality television as early as December to fill the primetime void. Let’s hope they’ve learned something from “Britney & Kevin: Chaotic,” the 2005 reality show that preceded the couple’s messy divorce and provided the first glimpse that Britney Spears may go batty (she soon shaved her head and went to rehab).

Admittedly, I have been hypnotized by a few reality shows, specifically “American Idol.” But when several networks are desperate to make entertainment out of dysfunctional relationships or everyday people placed in asinine circumstances, there is bound to be a bundle of lemons.
Naomi Rockler-Gladen at Suite101.com compiled a list of some of the worst. For every “Dancing With the Stars,” there is a “Flavor of Love,” where women compete for the heart of Flava Flav, a middle aged former rapper who wears a giant clock around his neck. And for every “Survivor,” there is “Mr. Personality,” where a beautiful woman chooses a mate from among a bunch of men wearing masks that conceal their identities – hosted, oddly, by Monica Lewinsky.

The aftermath of many of these shows is described best by Rockler-Gladen when summarizing the demise of 2000’s “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?”

“The only thing more bizarre than this train wreck was the amount of media coverage it received. ‘Lucky’ Darva Conger was chosen by millionaire Rick Rockwell to be his bride. They married at the end of the show. Unfortunately, she was only in it for the free trip to Las Vegas, so she dumped him on the honeymoon cruise. It turned out that Rockwell wasn’t all that rich anyway.”

If the strike continues, similar shows are imminent. And how far networks go to find original ideas will likely prompt many of us to cover our eyes.

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