I would probably be as rich as Patrice Motsepe if I had a rand for every time I typed the phrase “reality show” in a story. But that’s the reality of where TV viewing has headed.
Remember the early days of home video cameras, when the few people who could afford them recorded footage of braais around their swimming pools? The Kennedy family has a few that have been shown in documentaries. But not everyone is a Kennedy and besides, the one-time first family earned that right to be topical and the material screened about them is more educational than enter-tainment. They form part of the history of America and there is no denying that.
But in the same way the old-school home videos were made, reality shows (I said it again) have wheedled their way on to TV and now everyone has a story to tell about how fabulous their lives are. It’s as if you can only get some-where in life if you start with the reality TV approach. Look what happened to Kim Kardashian et al.
The sad thing about these shows, and we all know this, is that they are low-budget affairs. The celebrities in question are not showing half of the real stuff that is happening in their lives. A few weeks ago we spoke to Coco Austin about Ice Loves Coco, a reality show about her and her husband, Ice T. In one of her replies, she let slip that she and her spouse only shoot for a few hours a week and there are places and times when they do not allow the cameras to roll. What does that tell you? They only want to tell us the reality of their choice.
It’s like some huge PR campaign to advertise their pretty lives, yet the newspapers write the other stories the celebs have no interest in telling. For instance, late last year Ice and Coco had to deal with pictures of her with another man surfacing on the internet. If this show is “real” then we should see that episode, right? You wish.
It is all about making money and staying relevant and, like zombies, we let them do this to us.
Take Bethenny Frankel, for instance. Who? She’s a former cast member of The Real Housewives of New York City and now is successfully flying solo.
Starting out as a production assistant on Saved by the Bell, Frankel always wanted to be the centre of attention. After being cast in a role or two in the 1990s, her big break came when she was selected for The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. This led to her being cast in The Real Housewives which changed her life.
From cashing in on writing books about healthy eating and even shooting DVDs on that subject, to shooting her own show, Bethenny Getting Married, it was obvious the late bloomer had finally found her calling.
But what happens with restrictive titles like Bethenny Getting Married is that after the wedding the show is over. You can’t keep getting married so – surprise – we now get Bethenny Ever After. And they say it’s not about money!
Coming to you on Vuzu, we catch up with the ex-production assistant as she juggles marriage, motherhood preparations, the demands of being an author and a natural foods chef. That’s it. But this show remains US network Bravo’s highest-rated show premiere. I guess all those people can’t be wrong, reality series are here to stay.
• Bethenny Ever After II premieres tomorrow at 8.30pm on Vuzu (DStv channel 116).