Now that reality shows are as commonplace as well, I dunno, Starbucks locations, it's hard to be shocked by new ones when they are announced. Shows about teen moms, amorous Italian-Americans, and waxed and lumbering Armenian girls are now as American as Walmart, plasma TVs and Tim Tebow.
An American Family, the first reality show, aired in 1973 on PBS and followed a typical family, the Louds, as they went through a divorce, just as divorce was becoming the norm in society. Oldest son Lance Loud became a pioneering figure in the gay community for being one of the first openly homosexual "characters" on television.
Now, almost 40 years later, reality shows aren't the keen slices of life that they used to be. Series now are mostly staged, but still just as entertaining, like Pawn Stars, and the drama seems to be manufactured. I am pretty sure they throw money at Kim Kardashian that coaxes her to cry crocodile tears on her show.
I mocked up ten reality show pitches from the recesses of my mind, to see if you can pick out the one that is in fact real. I would watch all of these nonstop, and maybe even feign sickness to stay home and watch a marathon of some.
From the producers of Storage Wars comes this series about people who jockey to donate their organs to celebrities and sick kids for a chance at fame. In the series premiere, Brett, a physical therapist from Tampa, wins a slot to donate a kidney to Charlie Sheen.
Step aside, Toddlers & Tiaras, this show has all the drama you can handle and more. Carnival moms vie to get their children spots on elite teams that secure all the rides at traveling carnivals, and also act as plants for medicine shows and games of chance no one will win.
You've heard of vegans and macrobiotics, but have you heard of people who will only eat things that are blue? Smurf jokes aside, this family of five from Fort Worth, Texas, cannot eat anything that hasn't been dyed blue. Chicken! Toast! Baby formula! Some in the community may scoff at them, but their children are neighborhood favorites for the blue lemonade stand. Crisis in episode four when the youngest child, Tommy, drinks a bottle of Windex and is rushed to the emergency room.
You know how when you have an old piece of bedroom furniture, or that easy chair that grandpa died on, and you are too lazy to take it to the Goodwill spot? Trash Divers follows the people who dig through your trash while you sleep, with some furnishing entire four-bedroom homes with your refuse. Even that mirror that you had to throw out because you thought it made you look fat.
Amish in the City
A group of Amish teens on traditional Rumspringa come to the big, fun and sexy city to see who will be swayed by fake breasts, chest-waxing and Taco Bell's "fourth meal" and leave their Amish upbringing for the bright lights and secular world.
William Hung wowed American Idol audiences back in 2004 with his velvet voice, but now eight years later he is ready to take back his singing career, with the help of songwriter Linda Perry and Sharon Osbourne.
Follow a real-life reality show production crew as they document the life of the world's fattest mixed-race Baptist polygamist. Rex, the show's executive producer, is a kindly teddy bear until an intern forgets to charge camera batteries before a night shoot. What happens when one of the crew falls in love with someone from the show? No no, one of the Reality Crew's reality crew falls in love with...never mind. Just watch.
RodeoFolk RodeoHouston is big business for over a month in the sweaty Bayou City. Watch as cameras follow the mutton busters to eight-second glory, and visit the petting zoo tenders who come at odds with each other to see who will date the kid who sweeps the pins at night.
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This TLC show chronicles the lives of imaginary friends, friends and heroic companions that only children and the mentally ill can see. The series follows people who literally don't exist except in imagination, but their invisibility also makes them compelling characters you will root and cry for.
The first social media-based reality show, this Pinterest-loving reality series profiles people who have fashioned their entire lives around cute and precious shit they see on Pinterest, including their homes and the food they eat. Carrot sticks cut to look like hot dogs inside vegan flour buns? Sure!
(Here's hoping enough of you remembered UPN's Amish in the City from 2004.)