Flashback Friday: Celebrity Deathmatch (1998-2001, 2006-2007)

My favorite thing about satire is that it is a type of comedy that knows no bounds. It can take any form and mock any subject or narrative.

Celebrity Deathmatch aired originally on MTV from 1998 to 2001 and then from 2006 to 2007. The program satirized sports entertainment (i.e. wrestling). Using claymation, various celebrities were put into the wrestling ring, resulting in injuries that can only be described as gruesome and over the top.

Warning: the images may be too adult for some viewers.

What we also have to remember about satire is that what is funny to one person is not funny to another. I do remember when the show was on the air, but it was not for me then and it is not for me now.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

Flashback Friday: Unexpected (2017-Present)

Children are a blessing. They are also the biggest job any adult can take on. Ideally, it takes a mature and responsible person to become a parent. What happens you have a child and you are still a child yourself?

The TLC program Unexpected has been on the air since 2017. Like its sister show, MTV‘s 16 and Pregnant, this show follows young girls who are in the family way. While dealing with the standard growing pains of that age, they are living with the very adult responsibility of becoming a parent.

This is another example of a reality show in which the viewer has to question what is real and what has been created to build up drama. While watching this show, I have two thoughts. The first is that I have to question if these children are being exploited for the sake of viewership. The second is that these kids appear to be so blase about this abrupt change in their lives. What bothers me is that there are many couples in this country (one of whom I am very close to) who are ready, willing, and able to become someone’s parents, but cannot do so the old-fashioned way. While these kids pop out their own kids like it is no big deal, adults who want to children are unable to make it happen.

Do I recommend it? No.

Flashback Friday: Jackass (2000-2002)

A good laugh is universal. But what is funny to one person is not funny to another.

Jackass aired on MTV between 2000 and 2002 before a series of movies were released. With a cast led by Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, and Steve-O, the show is a series of stunts and pranks that members of the cast do on each other and strangers.

If I had a choice between watching this show or not watching television at all, I would turn it off. There is obviously an audience for this program, but I personally find it repugnant and a waste of time. As I see it, this is just a group of man-children who instead of looking for real entertainment, think that doing stupid stuff is funny.

Do I recommend it? Not at all.

Throwback Thursday: Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County (2004-2006)

The reality television genre generates a variety of opinions, depending on whom one speaks to. It could be seen as a guilty pleasure and a reason to chill out after a long day of work or school. It could also be seen as brainless, trashy television that claims to be “reality”, but is actually as scripted as fictional programs.

Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County aired on MTV from 2004-2006. The prequel to The Hills (2006-2010), the the show followed a group high school students from Laguna Beach High School in California as they went through the normal teenage growing pains.

I hated this show. The kids who were the focus of the program were just a bunch of Caucasian, 1%-ers whose narratives were not as “real” as promised.

Do I recommend it? No.

Throwback Thursday: MTV’s The 70s House (2005)

Every generation, in their own way, looks back on the previous decades with questions and perhaps a wistful vision of fantasy.

MTV’s The 70’s House aired back in 2005.It was a cross between The Real World and a reality competition show. 12 members of the older millennial generation are taken back to the 1970’s. Any mention of anything modern is forbidden. The thrust of the competition is to see who (for the lack of a better term) can be the most 70’s.

As an older millennial, I understand the fascination of the 70’s. But this was a niche program, in terms of both the network it aired on and the program itself. It was ok to watch 15 years ago, but I wouldn’t watch it now.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Flashback Friday-Sorority Life (2002-2004) & Fraternity Life (2003-2005)

For some in college, the experience is incomplete without at least the attempt of pledging a sorority or a fraternity. But does that experience live up the images seen on the big and small screens?

Back in the early 2000’s MTV included Sorority Life (2002-2004) and Fraternity Life (2003-2005) on their schedule. Both series followed pledges and members of a handful of sororities and fraternities from across the country.

When both programs originally aired, I was the target audience. It was easy for me to get hooked on both series. But two decades later, both programs are showing their age and the questions that come with how real a “reality show” is.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Flashback Friday-Run’s House (2005-2009)

The purpose of celebrity-based reality shows is that they are supposed to show that despite the fame and money, they are thoroughly human and just like the viewer. But the question is, is what the viewer is presented with real or faked for the camera?

Run’s House aired on MTV from 2005-2009. The show followed original Run-D.M.C. member Rev Run (aka Joseph Simmons), his wife Justine and their children as they went about their lives.

As celebrity based reality shows go, this one felt well, real. Though, like all reality shows, one has to question how “real” it is, this one felt just a tiny bit authentic.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Throwback Thursday-Meet the Barkers (2005-2006)

Part of being a celebrity is constantly being in the spotlight. There is no better way to stay in the spotlight than a reality show.

Meet the Barkers aired on MTV from 2005-2006. Starring Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and his then-wife Shanna Moakler, the show took viewers into the private lives of the program’s subjects.

The problem with the sub-genre of the private lives of celebrities within the umbrella of “reality shows” is that they have been done to death. If a program wanted to last, it needed to stand out in some way. Meet the Barkers did not, which is why it only lasted two seasons.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

Flashback Friday- The Hills (2006-2010)

We all know that so-called “reality shows” are not real. The question is, is the show “real” enough to bring in viewers?

The Hills aired on MTV from 2006-2010. A spin-off of Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, the show followed the lives and careers of four young women living in Los Angeles.

The only good thing about this show was that the song sung over the opening credits is sung by Natasha Bedingfield. I watched enough of this show to know that it was as fake as fake could be. Some critics accused the show of being a nighttime drama labelled as a reality show. Frankly, I could not agree more.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

Flashback Friday-Tough Enough (2001-2015)

Since it’s debut about twenty years ago, reality shows have become the norm on our television schedules. It is therefore, not surprising that this genre has left no television stone unturned.

Tough Enough (2001-2015) originally aired on MTV before moving to UPN and then the USA Network. The premise is pretty much the same as any competition reality show: thousands of potential contestants send in their tapes. Of those thousands, twenty three are chosen to compete to become professional wrestlers. Over the course of the season, the contestants are eliminated until the winner(s) are chosen as future WWE superstars.

Though I only watched this show while it was on MTV, it was interesting while it was on the air. Granted, it was aimed specifically at the WWE fan base and not the general audience, it was still compelling as a television program. Granted, as time has gone by, it has become just another reality show.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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