Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Is This The Real Life?

Reality TV Reviews

I know, I know, reality television is trash and there are far more noble things to do with your time. Yes, Bill and Melinda Gates probably don't spend their afternoons watching The Only Way Is Palo Alto and eating whole packets of bourbon biscuits. However, I've recently gotten into "reality" shows in a big way, so here's my rundown of the good, the bad, and the hilarious.

Keeping Up With The Kardashians

I feel like I was intimately familiar with goings-on in the Kardashian family long before I started watching KUWTK this summer. I obligatorily disliked them just because they're filthy rich and Kim is so attractive that she's probably a Cylon. But seriously, this show is great. I feel like people should not be allowed to criticise the Kardashians before watching an episode because yes, their concerns can seem incredibly trivial compared to the issues most people face in daily life, and yes, it does sometimes seem like they have more money than sense. But there's also this over-riding sense of love for eachother, and a lot of self-awareness from Khloe and their adorable stepfather, Bruce. The show is ridiculous and trivial, but isn't that the essence of a good reality show?

Big Rich Atlanta

This show, oh my god. I originally saw its sister project, Big Rich Texas, in which people with accents like caramel hang around at country clubs and get ill-thought-out tattoos. There's something so other-worldly about Big Rich Atlanta though, and I think part of it is the fact that the cast have had so much plastic surgery that they all basically look like clones. The show revolves around mothers and their mostly grown-up daughters doing socialite-y American things and living in obscenely gorgeous houses whilst bitching a lot and occasionally getting slapped by pastors. It kind of makes me want to wear gold lamé skinny jeans and six-foot long blonde extensions. There's also this hilariously scripted quality to the interview moments that they put between clips to explain the girls' "true feelings" that adds an extra level of shiny plasticity to the show.

Masterchef Australia 

How do I love Masterchef Australia? Let me count the ways. This is SO MUCH BETTER than the UK version, and let's not even talk about the Irish one. My brother and I base our lives around the scheduling of Masterchef Australia because it is just that good. The contestants and judges are always super-happy and friendly and there are always a few contestants that you wish you could live with, not just because they could cook you jam doughnuts coated with lavender sugar when you're on your period, but because they're lovely and charismatic and unfairly attractive (ahem, season 2's Marion and season 4's Andy and Kylie). It's pretty much worth watching just for judge Matt Preston's cravat obsession, if nothing else. 

Made In Chelsea

I have tried to watch Made In Chelsea. I really have. It's just too staged for my liking, which probably tells you something about how patently set up it all is seeing as I gave Keeping Up With The Kardashians four stars earlier on. Basically, it's about a lot of rich people with names like Ianthe and Proudlock who go to polo matches and slap eachother sometimes. They talk a lot about someone called Lucy Watson and once, this guy had disappeared to Barcelona and then he called up his friend in Chelsea and was like, "Bring all our friends here, also my ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend." and no one went, "But I have to work on Tuesday?" or "I can't afford last-minute flights to Barcelona?" or "Who's going to feed my cat?", they all just went. Their hair is occasionally really nice though so I'm going to give it one star for effort.

The Biggest Loser

I watch The Biggest Loser Australia most weekday evenings while I eat biscuits and ice cream, proudly rubbing my tummy. The show brings out conflicting feelings in me because whilst it's uplifting to see people gaining confidence and moving on to happier lives, the methods by which they get there do sometimes seem unhealthy to me (1000 calories a day whilst doing vigorous, hours-long periods of exercise? Really?). But there's so much gameplay in this show, and the inevitable brilliance of makeover week when the contestants get new haircuts and clothes and everyone pretends that the already bald guy looks really different because they trimmed his beard. The US version is pretty good but as with Masterchef, it's the Australian one that steals my heart.

Tia & Tamera

Everyone's favourite Sister Sister stars are back and ready to prove that they're still the super-cool friends you never had! The Mowry twins are in their thirties now and although I can't remember any show they've been in since their childhood, they constantly talk about their agents and auditions they've been doing. One of them is pregnant and the other already has a baby and they do other things, like try to sell a breast milk enhancing tea and help with their husband's vineyard. They are still beautiful and seem quite sweet but every single scene in this show just feels like they're trying too hard to sell how FUN and QUIRKY and TOGETHER they are, and it's just a bit too much at times. I will still devotedly watch Sister Sister but I can't quite stomach this show.

The Great British Bake Off

You know all those foods that you really love but never ever have in your house, like fondant fancies and chocolate eclairs and hot cross buns? Imagine sitting on the sofa and watching someone convince you that it's achievable to actually make them at home. The contestants in this show are all brilliant home cooks and they come on the show and battle to make the best Victoria sponge cake and loaf of bread and it's just great. I don't particularly like any of the judges or contestants (although Mel & Sue add some likeability) but the food alone is enough to keep me watching. Also, it's cruelly wonderful when someone's pastry burns or their sponge collapses in the middle and watching it just for those moments is kind of worth it.


  1. Ah made in chelsea! I watch that show religiously... reality tv is so bad but so addicting at the same time x

    1. Argh no, I just can't get into it...too scared that I'll go down the rabbit hole and get totally addicted!

  2. Since when did Tia and Tamera have a tv show?!? I'm sorry it's not that good :( I loved sister sister when i was little! Biggest Loser is good, but some times I really hate it later on when they get onto the actual like strategy and gameplay for not getting kicked off, then it's less focused on being healthy and more like a sad version of survivor , like those challenges if you eat the most calories then you get to control like who gets kicked off, and some people eat, like a gross amount of calories to control the game and it makes me kinda sad.

    1. It's on Style Network and I've sort of hate-watched several episodes, it's almost so bad it's good...but not quite! Yeah after the first few weeks it does stop being about getting to a healthy place, I think, and I feel bad when they're made to feel bad about losing "only" three pounds in a week or whatever. Any loss is a triumph when you're working for it!

  3. I don't really watch reality television, but I do watch Masterchef Australia and oh my god, I just love it so much. Have you ever seen Junior Masterchef Australia? It's absolutely amazing what those kids can do (and makes me feel so inadequate because the last time I tried to bake a cake, it didn't rise properly and turned into more of a large cookie).

    1. Ahh I know basically zero people who like it, I'm so excited to have found another fan! YES jesus those kids are amazing, even when they have to use the little blunt kiddy knives. I totally feel you on the baking thing, although a large cookie sounds kind of great anyway?