Request in the comments yesterday:
kdlmn • 14 hours ago −
Could we have a reality show open thread and/or round table on racialicious sometime please? Just a suggestion. Reality shows seem to be together with crime shows the only area in which PoC are overrepresented–cause it gives the viewer yet another possibility to ridicule PoC (added bonus: women of color. women on reality shows in general are always catty and back stabbing, never help one another). There are so many offenders here that I don’t know where to start. The last ones I saw were “Hollywood Exes” (3 Black women, one Latina, one White woman) and “My Big Fat American Gipsy Wedding”, which is especially appalling as it comes just when the Hungarian and French government have in different ways declared that Roma are Open Game. In Hungary a right wing politician recently had a DNA test published to prove that he definitely had zero Roma ancestry. So gross.
Mickey • 7 hours ago
I agree about a round table discussion about these so-called reality shows. Whose reality are they showing? Most of this stuff is edited to make certain people fit into stereotypes the public automatically buys in to, especially regarding PoC. I watched a couple of episodes of “Hollywood Exes” and, although it is not too bad compared to other shows of its nature, the Black ex-wife of R. Kelly and the White ex-wife of Jose Canseco sort of get on my nerves.
Consider the thread open! A couple things I’ve noticed after the jump.
To kdmln’s point, backstabbing is rewarded. The first season of RHOA had women who were philanthropists and women who were invested in talking about their businesses. These women were deemed boring and put off the show early on. They sell reality shows on drama. When I think about reality shows I’ve enjoyed over the last few years–House of Consignment, Running Russell Simmons, Daddy’s Girls, Househusbands of Hollywood–they are fairly free of drama and focused more on the characters solving life problems. However, most of the shows I like get cancelled due to low ratings. And the things that stay on are high in conflict. I fear for Push Girls for that reason. That’s one of the realest shows I’ve seen (and there’s a post forthcoming) but these women are a little too self-actualized. They are going for their goals, which makes for compelling watching, but not ignorant TV. And ignorance tends to win, ratings-wise. Of the handful of shows fronted by black women, only the really terrible ones make headlines. Others, like Styled by June, just don’t get the same kind of buzz.
To Mickey’s point, we’re overrepresented in some genres, but not others. “Wives” are generally women of color, but “Housewives” generally are not. There are normally contestants of color on ensemble competition shows (like Design Star, Top Chef, Chopped) but we are seriously underrepresented in dating shows, particularly the “single girl looking for love.” And, to focus in specifically on dating shows, some folks are just missing – Patti Stranger would occasionally feature a match of color, but it was a rare sight. (And, depressingly, the handful of black millionaires on the show tended to request white women only.) Shows about dating lives are similarly segregated – it’s only Steve Ward’s Tough Love that feature men and women of color regularly, and don’t get me started on him. Black men are almost always cast for eye candy or to fulfill a stereotype – on Miss Advised, after two characters have a conversation about dating black men (“Oh, you have to try it!”) the guy she selects takes her to a strip club. So far, I’ve counted two black men on that show. Latinos and Latina characters normally appear on dating shows, but at the fringes, and often in a stereotyped fashion. Or, if I do see Latinas, they are going through Steve Ward’s Boot Camp. (Though, big caveat – I don’t watch the Bachelor/Bachelorette so I am missing a big chunk of the genre.) Asian Americans are not well represented, and Asian American men are basically non existent. I can’t remember off the top of my head any South Asian or Indigenous representation on screen.