I am the proud follower of only one reality show: Project Runway. Back when I had cable, I used to watch The Next Food Network Star and Man vs. Wild -The later mostly due to my interest in Bear Grylls’ pectorals. But never with the same addictive commitment that I invest into PR.
I came up with three broad categories that should encompass all different kinds of reality television:
1- Drama, drama, and more drama
Think MTV. These are the kind of shows that have a very broad premise and no clear objective. Some examples are The Jersey Shore, Big Brother, The Real Housewives…. and unfortunately, so many others.
2- Contest and competition
Most of the reality shows that spark my interest fit here. These are the shows that deal with a very concrete goal, like winning money or gaining prestige. Both, Project Runway and The Next Food Network Star, fit here. There are many more such as American Idol, almost all of TNT’s reality shows, Survivor… You get the drill.
3- Entertaining and educational
Here we have shows with the main objective of educating audiences. The first reality show ever, An American Family, belongs here. I’m talking Animal Planet series with Gorillas smooching each other. Old school stuff. I would put Man vs. Wild here, along with many other Discovery programs such as Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs.
You might be thinking: “Who cares? I don’t even watch television!” And to that I say, good for you. But with all the recent talk about how authentic “Silicon Valley” is going to be, I can’t help but wonder: who thinks that any of these shows are authentic anyway? Most importantly, does it matter? The audience does not care.
Silicon Valley is going to be a program about the rich, geeky, hipster entrepreneurs on Northern California. I wonder if they are going to make them get wasted while they write code! Oh wait, that’s been done. You better get ready anyway, ’cause it’s gonna be a hit.