Shameless (and Shameful) Behavior on Reality TV
Shameless (and Shameful) Behavior on Reality TV
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Editor's Note: This is a weekly guest post from the TV staff at Film.com. Check back here on Wednesdays for more Film.com stories about your favorite shows: Big Brother, The Amazing Race, Dancing with the Stars, Survivor, American Idol and America's Next Top Model. .

By Susan Young, Film.com


Humiliation is the word of the week around reality land.

And we haven’t even gotten to tonight’s premiere of America’s Next Top Model, where Tyra Banks delights in digging up every sensitive moment in those pretty girls’ past. Remember the “tell us about how you were sexually abused?” moment last cycle? Seems like Tyra just can’t get the separation of Model Show vs. Talk Show idea.

This season on ANTM we’ve got another go-round with the touring theater company of Tyra Banks and her back-up crew of wackies. For your viewing pleasure, she dresses up as the goddess of fierce – a word that has been worked harder than a plowhorse.

This season Tyra has put together a group of women who bear both outward and inward scars. She has an epileptic and a woman who was badly burned as a child as well as a self-described “pit lizard” who once dated NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Tyra’s going to pick at those scabs like no tomorrow.

Right on the heels of the CW’s 8pm premiere of America’s Next Top Model is the season starter of Bravo’s Make Me A Supermodel, and the humiliation factor gets kicked up a few degrees. Let’s put a guy who has some issues with homosexuality into a compromising photo shoot posing with the gay guy. Yeah, that’s not going to be uncomfortable. Yet, maybe it’s better for Branden to learn now that there might be some gay people involved in modeling and fashion.

Beyond the demented Survivor Spencer looking like Gollum as he talks about crushing the soul of some unsuspecting fellow Survivors this Thursday, the entire week is shaping up as shameful central.

Especially Monday night’s crushing finale of The Bachelor, when the so-called good guy Jason turned into the crud you clean off your shoes after a day in the dog park. He proposed to Melissa, only to take it all back so he could have a second shot at Molly.

Of course, sweet Melissa –whose parents refused to come on camera during the show - should have known better. Now who looks like the bad guys for not wanting to participate in the show? Certainly not her parents, who we hope had the grace not to go into total We-told-you-so mode.

It’s hard to feel too sorry for the people who put themselves into a reality show about finding the perfect match. There’s nothing about being filmed 24/7 while you throw yourself at a guy rejected on a previous show being courted by group of desperate women that would indicate it could end well.

So when you get publicly squashed on the hot tub circuit, even after you think you’ve won the grand prize, you still sort of set yourself up as the target in the carnival game.

On the other hand, you might be forgiven for going on a show like The Amazing Race and think that your life won’t come crashing down too hard.

Nice locations. Couple of adrenaline rush tasks. The occasional spat with a loved one. Nothing too personally traumatic here. But TAR managed to do the impossible Sunday by bringing an attorney to tears. Who knew a shark could sob like a little baby after being shown that he isn’t the omniscient person he’s always believed himself to be?

Victor insisted on following a path up a mountain that his sister Tammy knew was wrong. He refused to listen to her for what seemed like days. When the condescending Victor finally turned around, he needed to see the real sign before he believed he had bullied the team into near elimination.

Then the sobs began.

Please, Victor, man up. You’d never make it under the intense scrutiny of Tyra or the crew over at Make Me A Supermodel, where you get hit with everything from comments on the way you look to attacks on your personality.

“He is a man with no charm,” says one Make Me A Supermodel judge about a contestant. “But did you notice his amazing ass?” mentions another.

The last comment was almost worth the humiliation, I’m sure.


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