Reality Television

I’ve been watching some wacky shows, y’all. I tend to pride myself on the fact that I don’t have a TV. Yet, I still get sucked into the world of reality television via Hulu. Here are three shows that have been taking up my time :O/

Married at First Sight:

A few years ago, I studied abroad in Southern India. I attended lectures at a local Women’s University. One of the lectures looked at the dating and marriage practices of Indian women. Well, there is no dating. Arranged marriages are still the standard in India culture. As one young woman shared, one risks a lot if one goes against the wishes of their parents/family. You would basically lose your whole support system. While I don’t agree with (forced) arranged marriages, it was understandable why the young women were hesitant to rebel against it.

“Married at First Sight” tackled this age-old tradition with a twist, as participants asked to be matched and married to a complete stranger.

“From a pool of more than 600 individuals, four specialists — psychologist Dr. Joseph Cilona, psychologist Dr. Pepper Schwartz, sexologist Dr. Logan Levkoff and spiritualist Greg Epstein — used “scientific methods” to narrow down these determined human lab rats down into three couples, who do not even know one another’s names before they walk down the aisle…The men and women range from ages 26 to 33 and see the process as one that easily will find them their soul mate, whereas the experts are using the institution of marriage to make these couples more serious about relationships and working things out together.” http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/married-at-first-sight-tv-716893

The Black couple, Monet and Vaughn, made the show interesting. Sadly, their relationship deteriorated rather quickly.  I was a bit worried that a Black psychologist wasn’t on hand to work with the couple.  All the experts were white. I shared my thoughts on a discussion board dedicated to the show, and some folks agreed. There were a few who didn’t. They said because the couple’s problems were common relationship problems (e.g. communication), the race of the experts didn’t matter.

However, my concerns were confirmed, on the reunion show. Monet and Vaughn were still arguing like cats and dogs…six months later! Then Monet dropped a bomb. She said she felt like she really couldn’t be herself on the show because she didn’t want to feed into negative stereotypes about Black women. I think a Black psychologist would’ve picked up on this. The fear of being her authentic self, probably contributed to an already complex relationship.  Also, the fact that Vaughn let it slip out to Monet that he really wanted an Alicia Keys/Paula Patton type of Black woman. Monet was brown-skinned with a curvy body and short hair. I think a Black psychologist could have helped with this colorism issue.

The show was definitely a guilty pleasure.  *holds head down in shame*

The Quest:

Okay, this show was a mess. You had folks using medieval voices and fighting imaginary dragons. WTF! But I couldn’t take my eyes away.

“Twelve people compete in a reality competition that takes place against the backdrop of a high fantasy setting, the kingdom of Everealm. While the ongoing storyline is scripted and the contestants are interacting with actors throughout the competition, the actual challenges and eliminations are genuine and determined by the contestants’ abilities and decisions…The series was filmed on location in Austria, for the most part at Burg Kreuzenstein,[5] just north of Vienna.[6] The Quest was developed by a production team who had produced The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Amazing Race and Queer Eye.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Quest_%282014_TV_series%29

I missed a couple of episode, but that ones I watched were enough. I was cracking the hell up half the time because the contestants were dead serous. They really thought they were saving a kingdom. I guess everyone has their thing.  *side eye*

Utopia:

“Utopia” is based on a popular Danish television show.

“The series follows a cast of 15 men and women who are placed in isolation and filmed twenty-four hours a day for one year. The cast must create their own society and figure out how to survive. The series is shown twice a week, with online streaming 24/7 with 129 hidden and unhidden cameras all over the Utopia compound. The live streams began on August 29 2014, the day when the 15 pioneers will enter Utopia.[3] Over 5,000 people auditioned for the series.[4] Every month, three pioneers will be nominated for elimination — to be sent back to their everyday lives. The live-streamers will decide which new pioneers get their chance to become Utopian.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utopia_%28U.S._reality_TV_series%29

Since this is on the FOX Network, Black folks are invisible on the show. There’s ONE Black woman on the show. And she’s pregnant. Huh? FOX trying to be funny. Amanda barely gets any airtime and obviously we won’t get to see her smooching with any of the “hunks” on the show.

I wondered how they would handle any racial issues that came up. Majority white contestants and just a few Black folks? Oh yeah, there was going to be some racism on display.  And sure enough, on the most recent episode, one of the white male residents made derogatory remarks about Black men.

Of course, the Black man on the show was offended. Aaron confronted the guy and basically was told he was being too sensitive. It was a great display of white racism at work.  When caught being racist, white folks try to make the person of color feel like that “just can’t take a joke.” They project their insecurities onto the person of color.  It’s manipulative and disingenuous. He meant what he said. Unfortunately, Aaron later decided to accept the fools apology. Maybe it’s a matter of him thinking keep your friends  close but your enemies closer. I hope so.

Y’all, I just wrote a review on reality television. *help me!*

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