What makes a great reality show? If you go by what has been successful rather than what you yourself might prefer you might see a pattern developing.
In my own personal preferences for what one of these shows might be about would be to see physically attractive (Or at least not repulsive) people engaged in competition with luxurious and picturesque settings.
But what do I know? The most successful ones like Big Brother and Survivor show gross people doing gross things while backstabbing each other.
Big Brother does so in the claustrophobic setting of a house which gets progressively smaller as guests are voted off. Survivor uses a tropical island. You might think the second one would do better but it doesn’t always.
Even the one that I would theorize would provide the most garish thrills – Celebrity Rehab has but a small niche within the reality show market. Wouldn’t you think that getting a group of substance abusers together in a room would provide for some drama? Wouldn’t you think that showbusiness people would be good at emoting and putting on some kind of an interesting act for that?
The closest that reality shows come to what I would like is the Amazing Race, recipient of multiple Emmys and accidental educational program which teaches audiences about places and cultures across the world.
There have been few contestants on that show that I have actually liked. The criteria for selecting contestants has not been rigidly skewed enough in favour of attractive people. The result are entire segments with gross schlubs huffing and puffing to get to the next clue demonstrating heart attack risks. The producers even let them wear their own clothes resulting in wardrobe disasters.
The next closest is Dancing With the Stars which has never appealed to me I guess for the simple reason that I’m a guy. But in its first season I took note that Kelly Monaco, an actress I didn’t think much of happened to be a contestant and the audience voting formula of five votes per phone toll-free proved irresistable to me, as a long row of payphones was in an area outside near my apartment.
I voted for whomever was directly ahead of Kelly and her partner Alec 548 times over 5 weeks, something I did not neglect to do when it came time for her to defend her title. I can only speculate on what the effect may have been. I’m glad she finally lost.