July 20, 2009

The 10 most depressing reality shows on TV.

Eh. I don't really think these are that depressing. Or rather I've only watched the #1 most depressing reality show, "Intervention," and I found it kind of inspiring. People are human. They have problems. They try to solve them... with cameras in the room.

44 comments:

Scott M said...

I hate to come across as cynical, but I've come to find that nearly all reality TV (excepting sports, that is) are crap and not worth my very precious down time. That being said, most of TV is pretty bad these days. There are some notable exceptions, but these are definitely the exception, not the rule.

What's worse than reality TV is listening to the women over in our customer service center chatter endless about Big Brother, Survivor etc and going to the extent of planning their weeks around these shows. I know for a fact that none of these women have voted in any elections, local, state, or national, for the past two years I've been here.

MadisonMan said...

Yes, what Scott said. How are Reality Shows any different from the rest of TV, crap-wise?

Chris Althouse Cohen said...

If a list of the most depressing reality shows doesn't include NYC Prep, it's not a serious list.

save_the_rustbelt said...

The fact that anyone watches this stuff says something about the mental health of the US.

I think there should be a special category for the "Real Housewives" series. Wow. Pathetic.

I like "Fifth Grader," a little self-satire by a redneck.

Now, this week I watch tornado chasers, guys build motorcycles, ice road truckers and other blue collar guy reality - no problems in my life!

Invisible Man said...

If a list of the most depressing reality shows doesn't include NYC Prep, it's not a serious list.

Ding.ding.ding. We have a winner.

I only saw the first episode, but whether its the kid so obviously wrestling with his homosexuality, the girl who is already suffering from some early anxiety disorder about her NEED to get into Harvard or just the general lack of parental guidance, that show should come with Zoloft.

John said...

I don't think that shows like Deadliest Catch and Ice Road Truckers are strictly speaking "reality TV" They are weekly on going documentaries. Reality TV is shows like Survivor where you take people and put them into articial circumstances and see what happens. The guys on Deadliest Catch would be out fishing regardless of the cameras. If that is Reality TV, then so are most documentaries.

Scott M said...

I guess Yankee Workshop and the Wood Whisperer count as "reality" TV, but I think you could make a healthy argument that they're not...at least in a contemporary use of the word.

I watched an hour on nebula and star creation last night. That was sufferable. Although you still get these eggheads that say "well, we know..." when we really don't KNOW anything.

John said...

NYPrep is nothing but a way to show average people that rich people are bigger freaks than even they imagine.

Jennifer said...

I haven't seen the majority of those. But, I was awestruck and unable to click past that Toddlers and Tiaras once. Depressing, horrifying, puke-inducing...all of the above. That show just hurts your heart.

NKVD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...

I know for a fact that none of these women have voted in any elections, local, state, or national, for the past two years I've been here..

You say that like it's a bad thing. I would suggest that it is not.

I've never even heard of any of these except "5th Grader".

ricpic said...

16 and Pregnant: more predictable than depressing.

save the rustbelt - ice road truckers is disappointing because THEY NEVER GO THROUGH THE ICE!
What a tease.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

I find Intervention, though facinating, to be unbelievably depressing. Why? It starts off uplifting, with the family working together to get the addict into rehab, and then it always ends on a positive interview with the addict proclaiming his/her changed life. BUT, then come the coda, the written screen that says what happened next. In every episode I have ever seen, it goes something like: Bob attended rehab for 3 months, then dropped out. He is now living on the streets again tradin sex for heroin (in jail, cut off all ties from his family, etc),...

I've never seen an episode where the intervention actually had long term positive results, leaving the person in any better place. Extremely depressing.

Chip Ahoy said...

Wife Swap freaks me out. How do they get people to agree to such a thing? OK, $$$, fine. The people who look like they don't need money must have gotten themselves into some kind of pinch. Surely, it's not for fun. I wish they would cover the part about why people agreed.

It's nearly unwatchable in a train-wreck kind of way.

When their two weeks of torment is up the couples face each other and discuss. Always uncomfortable. This one guy goes, ‹slack-jaw voice› "Ah lernt tuh talk tuh muy boiz diff-ernt. Now Ah say 'please' when I tell 'em tuh do sumthin."‹/slack-jaw voice› That cracked me up, but made me sad too.

Then the women return to their real husbands, touchingly and emotionally no matter what horrible shrill harridans they are to pick up where they left off making life miserable for everyone close to them while the volume of some Petula Clark song rises to crescendo. That's my favorite part because I like Petula Clark.

k*thy said...

Truth is, they thought they had found a way to solve their problems, but ran out of rope. What I like about Intervention is that it shows folks some other options for solving their problems.

If I watch *reality* tv, I find that it's more the documentary-type and definitely not the contest-type. Yes to Ice Road Truckers and Deadliest Catch (and I don't know why...)

Lem said...

I don’t watch "reality tv" but I have noticed from tabloids and just walking on the street/parks a lot of woman with Kate's hair do.

I'm sick of it.

Dam do it's everywhere. Can somebody please retire the freakish thing?

Lem said...

I don’t watch "reality tv".

Actually that’s not true.

I was fascinated by Survival man. But after awhile, just how many deserts and jungles can you walk out of before you start rooting for the spiders?

Lem said...

Wait, thats 'Survivorman', one word.

William said...

I thought Celebrity Hospice was pretty bad. Watching some soap opera actress beg for a morphine drip just wasn't entertaining. But Celebrity Nursing Home was even worse. Many claim that watching June Allyson face down the problems of incontince was inspiring, but I found it icky. And about Celebrity Big House, the less said the better. Does anyone want to hear Phil Spector go on and on about the trauma of prison rape.

Lem said...

I also did watch some stuff with a guy named Jesse James. I was curious as to what Sandra Bullock could have possibly seen on the tattoo riddled phony gansta motorcycle rider to marry him.

Oh yea... he’s a tattoo riddled, phony gansta motorcycle rider. chicks dig that shit.

Scott M said...

@NKVD

Scott M's time is so precious that he can only write a few paragraphs before returning to his precious life. Would that he would not comment at all.

Notice I said "down time". I'm at work so it's not technically my time anyway (lol).

I wonder, though, why you would rather I not post at all?

NKVD said...
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Scott M said...

@NKVD

Wow...you couldn't possibly be more wrong in any part of that. DISagree with Maher. DISagree.

For the record, nope, not the government. Two-man logistics operation that does quite well, thanks.

Scott M said...

@NKVD

"I've never bought the Hillary-is-a-centrist line. Bill Maher believes that and I've not yet found one thing I agree with him on."

That's a direct cut-and-paste from my other comment.

Who's the "stupid motherfucker" now?

...cue the crickets...

NKVD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott M said...

@NKVD

Seriously...find one, just ONE comment on this website from me that could in any way be construed as either liberal or progressive. That's about as far from the truth as you could possibly be.

Do you think before you hit enter on these comments or are you simply that dense?

NKVD said...

Nope, just hungover. One should never type until sober. I am from the Lem school of drunk posting. That is in no way an excuse for what I wrote, but it is the truth. I had a beer to celebrate my 40th anniversary. I will not have another for, what, maybe 10 years? In any case, I apologize for being boorish. This time. When I am sober and boorish, then I have no fall back position.

Chip Ahoy said...

* calls Intervention producers *

Scott M said...

@NKVD

Accepted gracefully. And kudos for having the class to close the loop on this.

NKVD said...

@Chip - I KNOW!!!

Jennifer said...

Nice parody of reality show dramarama there, guys. I mean that is what just happened, right...?

Original Mike said...

I was fascinated by Survival man. But after awhile, just how many deserts and jungles can you walk out of before you start rooting for the spiders?.

Me too. And, he knew when to leave the stage.

Scott M said...

@Jennifer

Ya got us...

Lem said...

I am from the Lem school of drunk posting.

whatyoutalkingaboutwillis ;)

Lem said...

Oh, the Lunar Excursion Module.

right.

Ralph L said...

I don't find it depressing to know there are people even more screwed up than I am.
This one just makes my heart cry
Someone tell Mindy the website is Television WITHOUT Pity. Is she trying to get on the Supreme Court?

I stupidly watched Miss Marple again on PBS last night. This series isn't nearly as good as the Joan Hickson ones.

Everything I've seen from Britain the last 5 years or so has had deliberately(?) irritating parts and unstereotypically-British histrionics. I blame reality TV and a backlash against Merchant Ivory.

Lem said...

No LEM ever made it back.

That is sad ;)

Lem said...

You know if we are going back to the moon and mars we should start getting people interested in that stuff again.

A moon mars oriented reality show?
Anybody?

tim maguire said...

The missus watches 16 and Pregnant. I can't even hear about it without thinking there are 16 year old girls in trailer parks across this coutnry actively trying to get pregnant in the hopes of being on MTV.

Joseph said...

I think shows about people dealing with (and often beating) problems are more inspiring than depressing. Toddlers and Tiaras is truly depressing. Truly creepy people.

edwardroyce said...

Well.

My vote for the most depressing reality show *not yet on TV*?

"Sarah Palin: In Your Town"

A reality show centered around former Gov. Sarah Palin as she travels around the country drawing crowds, making speeches and pushing for conservative values. Video of her making speeches, meeting people, talking about special needs children. All would be possible because *she isn't a serving politician or candidate for any office*.

There would also be the anti-Palin viewpoints from locals, national figures (who'd club each other over the head in their eagerness to get in front of the camera) and just about any and every nutcase imaginable.

And quite a few that aren't imaginable in any context.

1. Fox, or whomever, would make money by the tanker truckload.

2. Sarah Palin would make money like a firehose shoots water.

3. Liberals would watch because they hate her and would be eager to blog/twitter/whatever their despite to conservatives.

4. Conservatives would watch because they either like her or simply dislike the Liberals who are watching the show. So they'd also get into these vast blog/twitter/whatever flame wars every single show.

5. Moderates would watch either out of interest, fear or because they're expecting a train wreck.

6. The media would watch and report because of any and all reasons under the sun.

7. Comedians would snark about it.

8. Cartoonists would draw cartoons about it.

9. Newspapers would editorialize about each episode.

10. Advertisers would go berserk in a bidding war over advertising time. Add in low-cost advertisements for those same advertisers on white-hot blogs and other social websites and you could have people's eyeballs looking at the same advertisers promotions for hours on end.

Maybe even days on end.

Even now discussions about Palin usually seem to elicit hundreds of comments. Imagine the response to a reality show.

The anger and hatred coming from Manhattan feminists could be used to replace the nuclear reactors at the Indian Point nuclear power plant.

This is depressing.

Methadras said...

Intervention is actually a show I like to watch. Yes, it's depressing to see how at one time, perfectly normal people take the downward spiral into illicit drug use. It's one of the rare shows that I actually find not only entertaining, but educational. My only problem with the show is that they let these people wallow in their misery for far too long before they do the intervention and when they do, they almost always in a state where they are unreceptive in a meaningful way to get help. It just drags on and on. I've found myself sometimes yelling at the tv and saying, "Start the intervention already, he's gonna croak any second now."

Methadras said...

That being said. My favorite show of all time that I can watch over and over and over again is How It's Made. Best show on TV without question. Love it.

edwardroyce said...

"My favorite show of all time that I can watch over and over and over again is How It's Made."

Agreed. Also the equivalent show on the Food Network. It's interesting to see how different food products are manufactured, processed and packaged.