Saturday, August 26, 2017

My Favorite Reality TV Shows and Why

I have a love of reality TV shows, but only the ones where a certain amount of technical skill is involved to even get to be a contestant, not the ones where clusters of unpleasant people diss each other, spend money and screech/pullhair/flip furniture etc., and what have you, and also not the ones where a person picks the ‘love of their life’, then goes on “Dancing With the Stars” for a few weeks, after which they break up with said romantic partner. I’ve sampled some of those – a few episodes here and there – and nope, not my thing.

(I do love DWTS itself though.)

I’m a people person, so yes, it’s the element of the human interrelationships that draws me in, but there has to be that other element of skill and meeting challenges under pressure. (Of course like any rule, I do have exceptions, which I’ll get to.) Each season is like a mini series to me, or like reading a good novel.

My all-time favorite is SyFy’s ‘Face Off,’ where makeup artists work frantically on all kinds of challenges (“here’s a weird sound, now go invent the alien that might have made it” or “mix Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz and keep it Tim Burtonesque”…) I LOVE that program. I own all 16 seasons and I binge watch it fairly often. As with murder mysteries where I forget who dunnit as soon as I’ve read the book and set it aside, I often don’t remember which person won what specific challenge, and I enjoy the entire process involved in going from the explanation of the challenge to the final reveals. (I also have a teensy crush on Tait from Season One – tell no one!) I’m in awe of the things these artists can create from L-200 foam, paint and a well placed LED light. (Roy is THE wizard at this.) I have utterly no talent in this area. I’d love to be a guest judge though!

Hey, I write science fiction – I could totally judge. I watch special effects movies with a different eye now, let me tell you. There’s a commercial running currently for a TV service where the characters are paranormal tropes (werewolf, mummy, etc) and the edges on the facial prosthetics are AWFUL! (See, I know these things now…)

SyFy just launched a new spinoff, entitled ‘Game Face,’ where the challenges are much quicker and favorites from all the previous seasons are competing (even Tait according to the previews, sigh). So far I like it!

I’m also fascinated by McKenzie Westmore’s reveal stage wardrobe over the years…

One thing I also love about this show is how collegial the artists are, I think the tone was set nicely in season one and has carried through. No matter how pressed for time everyone is, if someone’s 200 lb. mold ‘locks’ with five minutes to the deadline, everyone drops what they’re doing to help.

I enjoy ‘Top Chef’ and ‘Project  Runway’ in all its many forms as well, although the drama levels on those programs can spike without warning. Not a fan of certain contestants on this season of Runway, let me tell you, although I love love love the diversity of the models. With ‘Top Chef’ I probably wouldn’t actually enjoy most of the refined and rarefied foods they cook - I lack the palate - , but I enjoy the tools, technique and knowledge on display. And the Restaurant Wars episode is always a nail-biter.

Those are my top three, but I also have been known to spend time with “Say Yes to the Dress,”  “Say Yes to the Dress - Atlanta, “I Found the Gown,” and “My Fair Wedding”. I used to adore the “What Not to Wear” program, although the sartorial advice in the earliest episodes became pretty hilariously dated as time went on. But their makeover process was fascinating. A little harsh on some of the participants, who didn’t nominate themselves but were often shoved into it by friends, co-workers and family.

I like the ‘Below Deck’ series set on private yachts for rent in exotic locales. Since I write an interstellar cruise liner in my Sectors series of scifi romances, I enjoy watching the scenarios on this program. Except many of the seasons I get pretty fed up with everyone by midway through and bail on them LOL. It always fascinates me that the show follows a select number of the crew but the boat in question actually has a lot of other people working on it that we never see.

I watch 'The Amazing Race' in horrified awe at what these people can make themselves do for a chance at $1 million. I have a fear of heights and a gut-wrenching terror of sooo many other things that get thrown at these contestants every season. I've been known to stop watching mid-season though if all the couples I liked get eliminated. See, I'm there for the people! 

Yeah, NOT the Author LOL
OK, but my real guilty pleasure? ‘Making the Team.’ In my heart of hearts I still harbor a tiny thought that hey, *I* could be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. (WARNING: Do NOT shatter my dream by reminding me I can’t do a sustained series of high kicks, don’t know left from right, my hair isn’t big and blonde and I’m uh slightly over their target demographic for uniformity of appearance. In more ways than one. I could TOTALLY do it.) Having lived a significant portion of my life in the South, I get the DCC and the entire cheerleading thing. Even if nowadays it’s actually professional dancing and there seem to be a lot of corporate events where they have to schmooze with fans.

On second thought, maybe I should stick with my goal of becoming a guest judge on ‘Face Off’!

All photos purchased from DepositPhoto

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