How Reality TV Turns Kids into Hyper-Consumers

The first time I went to look up a show on the website for Common Sense Media, I remember giggling to myself at the categories the website used to rate entertainment for kids. I was happy to see that the folks at Common Sense would tell me about the sexual content of the shows, not … Continued

Parenting, Television

Is There a Reality TV “Divorce Curse?”

Another reality television marriage flops. Specifically, the marriage of Tarek and Christina El Moussa of the house-flipping reality show, “Flip or Flop.” For the past week, the dramatic unraveling of their marriage, which apparently involved him chasing her out of their home with a gun and the oh-so-common nanny affair, has been splashed across both … Continued

Culture, Television

How Amazon Brought “Top Gear” Back from the Dead

Fans of the now-defunct BBC show, Top Gear, which was hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond, probably have a favorite episode. Maybe you enjoyed the boys trekking across Africa to find the source of the Nile, stopping only to outfit their vehicles with everything they needed to turn old estate cars into mobile … Continued

Entertainment, Television

Is Reality TV Too Real?

Everybody knows that “reality” television is fake. Recently, we got even more evidence, as if we needed it. Last week, the New York Times published a profile of former contestants on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, a show that pits overweight individuals against each other to see who can lose the most weight. The article begins … Continued

Entertainment, Television

Sarah Palin is no Judge Judy

Today we have a reality star running for president, so it should hardly be a surprise that a former elected politician is gunning for a reality show. Vice Presidential candidate and former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin—already a veteran of reality television with TLC’s Sarah Palin’s Alaska—has embarked on yet another reality television project. NBC News … Continued

Celebrities, Entertainment, Television

Why Women Still Love ‘The Bachelor’

In the heart of America’s long love affair with reality television, there is a special spot for sappy shows about love affairs. We love love, and so we love The Bachelor. The show about romance and roses, now in its twentieth season, began back in 2002, making it one of the most popular and enduring … Continued

Entertainment, Television

Is Your Child a Genius? Reality TV Thinks So

If you are wondering why there are so many suicides among young people in Silicon Valley, you needn’t bother reading Hanna Rosin’s twenty-nine-page cover story, “The Silicon Valley Suicides,” in the December 2015 of The Atlantic. You can just watch an episode of the new season of Child Genius. The show, whose second season premiered … Continued

Entertainment, Parenting, Television