The New Season - Reality

This year, I had every intention of cutting down on the amount of television watching being done around here. Of course, I say that at the end of every summer, after months spent only turning on the TV for Big Brother and the occasional movie. Then once the new season starts, I get sucked into all kinds of new and returning shows and within a month or so, am thoroughly enjoying being addicted. This year, however, was going to be different! This year, I was going to stop watching a number of shows, only keeping a handful. Turns out, not so much. I am happily hooked on a host of programs, although I am also happy to say that it's fewer than last year. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

Since I will be talking about a 'host' as opposed to a 'handful', I'm going to divide my discussion of the new season into two posts. Today is all about reality shows.

America's Next Top Model. Tyra and the gang had been on the list of 'Shows to be Axed', but somehow I found myself tuning in briefly. It was enough. Watching a group of skinny, clueless girls trying to become models is the equivalent of a three-layered dark chocolate cake (yes, I am aware of the irony).

The Amazing Race. I know things picked up after the Family Edition, but by then, I had lost interest. That is, until last Sunday when I wasn’t feeling well, couldn't do anything but watch mindless TV and so, I tuned in. The Mongolian leg was pure genius - some of the best TV I've seen in a very long time. Originally, when I read about the teams, I was going to root for Team Tripod (Sarah and Peter) - a one legged woman running TAR? How can you not root for them (and how can you not call them Team Tripod - a name I lifted from the inspired B-Side at TVGasm)? The problem is, they're incredibly annoying. Peter, especially, is verging on offensive for his treatment of his alleged girlfriend. Kimberly is the champion whiner, I adore the coal miner and his wife, the beauty queens are pretty good (albeit, incredibly blonde) and did I mention laughing my way through Mongolia?

Survivor. The reality genre is frequently - and justifiably - accused of not casting enough racial minorities. I love that Survivor answered that critique by giving it their own twist and I find it incredibly amusing that all the people who criticized them for casting to white then criticize them for... what, exactly? And I was hooked within minutes into the first episode (but then, I'm a rabid Survivor fan). As I expected, the division by ethnicity really doesn't matter - it's the people that matters and this season, they've found some good ones. I have to admit, my eyes are finding it incredibly restful to have such a mix of races. Maybe it’s living in downtown Toronto, a city of that's incredibly multicultural, but when things get too pale, part of me feels not quite right.

Dancing with the Stars. If you've been reading for while, you know my love for this show. Due to the family visit, I missed the first two episodes and had seriously considered scratching it from my lineup. Then I tuned in this week and within five minutes, I remembered why this one is my favorite. It makes me happy. I love how seriously they all take the dancing, while being aware of the maximum cheese factor (have you seen that trophy?). I love that it is purely about how well you do, that there are no alliances, no backstabbing, no hurt feelings. I love Tom Bergeron's awful jokes, I cheer for Samantha every time she messes up a word while wildly flapping her arms, I watch to see if Bruno will explode from excitement and mostly, I watch to cheer on the semi-celebrities, most of whom have no idea what they're doing and yet, they all work so hard. The entire time the show is on the air, I have a smile on my face and its stays after the show is finished. What more can you ask?