Reality TV is the New French Novel


Originally published at:


Sorry. Nope.


…so? did the ritalin wear off yet?


Hahahaha, no.

What the hell has happened to Boing Boing that it is publishing self-congratulatory puff pieces with delusions of grandeur like this.

How to Win Friends and Convince People to Watch Eurovision

Nah brah, I don’t watch reality tv or much tv at all. Congrats on making money, doh.




I’m a Reality TV producer. I make the stuff. Oh, go ahead, scripted television snob, snark away, I’ve heard it all before.

While they were sweating out their novels, I was writing wrap scripts for Bachelor host Chris Harrison.

The difference between fiction and “reality tv” is that fiction isn’t a lie.

Some of us have Masters degrees from Ivy League schools.

This is a humor piece, right?


No clue what’s up, but it’s probably a buddy of one of the staff trying desperately to pivot out of the shithole they sank into via a desperate attempt to spin their tawdry garbage as some sort of postmodern commentary, or some such bullshit, using dated intellectual slang picked up second-hand and half-remembered from that one college course on media theory they took.

Not buyin’ it, bud.


absorbing hundreds of pages and watching 30 to 60 minutes of tv are not the same thing at all

i won’t snark at you, tv person.

but i won’t take your comparisons seriously, either.


I like Survivor but I’ve always said it’s a game show, not reality TV, and the living with other people just comes down to part of the game.


Not my cuppa but to each their own.
My idea of a good show is Svengoolie.


Reality TV as a genre of media on the television was but a precursor to the era we now all live in, ever-present social media, realtime streaming, selfies, HD and even 4K cameras in everyone’s pockets, the whole shebang.

It was forecasted a ways back, including in novels such as Earth by David Brin, and Virtual Light by William Gibson. Always kind of seemed obvious to me, as I was internetting as an early-teen in 1993/1994, reading such novels, and watching shit like COPS on TV. And here we are.

It’s easy to shit on, but it has some perks – like minorities finally being able to show in stark terms how awfully they are treated by cops.


Methinks thou dost protest too much.


i mean, it’s not even that self-congratulatory. balzac is just… fucking tedious. much like most reality tv.


So Reality TV has given us the worst president in living memory. There’s that. Still and all, I will defend Reality TV as a viable and ground-breaking storytelling vehicle right up until the day Trump drops the big one on North Korea and I’m out of a job.

Yeah, that’s about where I stopped reading.

To the author: Did you read what you just wrote? Really? Or is this just more gaslighting bullshit from a parasitic industry?

Fun fact, did I mention how much I loathe Reality TV? I feel the same way about Reality TV and those that produce it that Bill Hicks felt about people in advertising and marketing.


I wanted to report the author for trolling. But then I remembered that boingboing is a compendium of mostly wonderful things.

If I wanted awful people in my house - I’d invite certain family members to stay with me.


With apologies to the other Truman: “It’s not storytelling, it’s typetelling.”


My problem with reality TV isn’t the idea, it’s the repetitive nature of it. I caught a couple of episodes of Storage Wars and was fascinated. But after a few episodes, it’s just not interesting anymore. I watched the first season of Survivor and thought it was pretty great, but that was enough. I watched a season of American Idol - same thing. I’ve seen Biggest Loser - same. Kitchen Nightmares was very interesting but again Gordo’s yelling gets pretty predicatable. Survivorman, Dancing with the Stars (to see Woz), How it’s Made – they are all interesting at first.

I think the only reality show that I watched consistently was Mythbusters.

Is there some great (recent) reality shows that I should watch?


Some of the smaller reality shows are fairly interesting (eg Ice Road Truckers, American Pickers), but any time I’m subjected to a few moments of any of the most popular ones, I rapidly get pissed off at how stupid the average person is, to lap up that fucking crap.


For those who think the inverse is true, and that it’s pre-meditated and ‘soft scripted’, I would say: you’re giving us far too much credit.

No, we’re acknowledging how easy it is to “soft-script” for and predict the actions and dialogue of your “subjects” (scare quotes because documentaries these ain’t). The kind of person who’d volunteer to appear on a show like “The Bachelor” likely isn’t a paragon of intellectual achievement or emotional nuance.

You want respect for what you do? Start by not calling whatever this dreck is “Reality TV” and come up with something more accurate. “Egomaniac TV” might capture it better. “Narcissist TV”. “Drama Queen TV” would be too gendered, but you get the idea.

I worked in television news in my first career. As I started my rapid rise in the newsroom one of my colleagues who noticed took me aside and said something to the effect of “TV is an evil business that debases everything it touches. I know it’s fun and exciting but you’re better than this. Get out before it’s too late.” I now pass this piece of life-altering advice on to you.