Flashback Friday: Love After Lockup (2018 to Present)

Sometimes love comes in the least unexpected of packages. The choice that stands before us is the following: do we follow our heart or listen to those who tell us to walk away?

Love After Lockup has been on the We TV schedule since 2018. This reality show follows former felons as they try to return to normal life and maintain their romance with their significant other.

As usual, the program is full of drama and complications. As with all reality television, some of the narratives seem to be a bit hyped up for the sake of ratings and keeping eyeballs on the screen. I personally find this show to be appalling, brain-draining in the worst way, and not worth watching.

Do I recommend it? No.


Flashback Friday: Queer Eye (2018 to 2021)

One of the myths about gay men is that they are more stylish and culturally aware than the average straight man.

The Netflix show Queer Eye (2018 to 2021) is a reboot of the early aughts reality makeover show of the same name that aired on Bravo. As with its predecessor, five gay guys with expertise in various areas (fashion, food, grooming, culture, and design) helps (mostly) hapless heterosexual males to improve their physical appearance and their lives.

This show is so much fun to watch, mainly because the stars of the program are having fun. As an audience member, I am rooting for that episode’s subject, wishing that they get everything that they want from this experience. It also opens the door to see the LGBTQ community as something more than stereotypes and boogeymen for those with conservative beliefs.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Throwback Thursday: Celebrity Undercover Boss (2018)

One of the many dreams of a struggling artist is to be noticed by someone who has already made it.

The reality show, Celebrity Undercover Boss (2018) was an extension of Undercover Boss (2010 to 2016). Instead of a CEO going undercover to discover the issues with their company, the subject of each episode is someone famous. Wearing prosthetics and/or a wig, their goal is to find undiscovered talent and give them the tools to succeed.

I enjoyed the program. Though I am aware that there is always the question of how much of the narrative is “real”, it was not out of the realm of possibility. Sometimes, the struggling artist only needs to be noticed by the right person to see their dream become a reality.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Flashback Friday: Making It (2018 to 2021)

I think that it’s pretty safe to say that reality television has spread its tentacles into every sort of competition.

Making It aired on NBC from 2018 to 2021. Hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, a group of craftspeople faces off in hopes of winning $100k and being named “Master Maker”. Each episode contains two challenges. As with every program within this sub-genre, one contestant is sent home every week until the winner is crowned.

Though it is a reality show, it is not as mind-numbing and brain cell-killing as other shows. Though I am sure it is not 100% “real”, the participants have a genuine talent and seem to love what they do.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday: Dr. Pimple Popper (2018 to Present)

We all know, that in spite of ourselves, we still judge a person based on outward appearances. The question is, what do we do when our looks do not match what is expected or normal?

Dr. Pimple Popper has been on TLC since 2018. In this reality show, Dr. Sandra Lee helps patients with extreme skin conditions. Once the procedure is done, the hope is that they will be free of the anxiety that kept them from living a full life.

I have mixed feelings about this show. It has a carnival-esque quality to it, almost a way of using the “freaks” as a form of entertainment. Which is exactly what reality television is. But at the same time, these people want to live a normal life and are willing to expose themselves to millions of viewers to do so.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Flashback Friday: Flip or Flop Nashville (2018)

When an IP is successful, the expectation is that there will be a continuation of it of some sort. That does not guarantee, however, that it will be as successful as its predecessor.

Flip or Flop Nashville (2018) aired on Hulu. As with its HGTV reality show originator, the purpose of the program was to follow a couple who purchased, rehabbed, and then resold homes that desperately needed a makeover. This spin-off, it took place in Nashville. Formerly married couple (now business partners) Page Turner and DeRon Jenkins took on the task of revitalizing properties that needed much more than a cosmetic update.

As expected, there are unforeseen problems that may delay the project’s completion and drive up the costs. The hope is that when all is said and done, the house will be sold for a profit.

Like all reality television (and television in general), the program is formulaic. As much as I enjoyed the show and the buildup to the final product, it becomes repetitious and boring after a while.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Throwback Thursday: Toddlers & Tiaras (2009 to 2016)

The pageant world is one that is foreign to me. I’ve never participated in one nor have I had an interest in it. That does not mean, however, that it is not of value to other people.

Toddlers & Tiaras aired on TLC from 2009 to 2016. This reality show followed young children and their parents as they traverse the pageant circuit. In this prequel to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, the program spotlights these child performers and their sometimes Mama Rose-like parents.

I’ve only seen snippets of this show. That is all I need to see. Obviously, being reality television, I have to question what is “real” and what is scripted. I also have to question if participating is for the child’s benefit, or if the adults are living vicariously through their young ones?

Do I recommend it? Not really.

Flashback Friday: Mr. Personality (2003)

It has been said that when we fall in love, we fall for the whole person, not for an attractive face.

The 2003 reality dating show, Mr. Personality, asked this question. Hosted by Monica Lewinsky, Hayley Arp was a single woman in search of a partner. The twist was that all of her would be significant others were masked. She was forced to get to know them without seeing what they looked like. As with all programs within this sub-genre, each episode ended with one contestant being eliminated until the winner was revealed and took off his mask.

I have to give the creators of this reality show props for creativity. They genuinely tried to do something different. Unfortunately, it lacked the spark that made its sibling shows successful.

Do I recommend it? No.

Throwback Thursday: Tiny House Hunting (2014-2017)

Not everyone needs to live in a 3000-square-foot home with multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, a garage, and a huge tract of land. For some, smaller is better.

The FYI reality show Tiny House Hunting (2014-2017) follows homeowners as they search for properties that are a downgrade from their current or previous homes. As with its sister show Tiny House Hunters, the subjects of each episode are shown several homes that potentially fit their needs. By the time the credits roll, they have chosen their new residence.

Though the narrative is standard, what I find interesting is the realization of how small some of these properties really are. It becomes a question of how much one truly needs and what is important in terms of material goods.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers. May your meal be joyous and filling.

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Flashback Friday: Boy Meets Boy (2003)

For the most part, I dislike reality television. The manipulation by the powers that be makes me feel like I am being used for ratings. However, there is a certain segment of the genre that also pushes boundaries and opens doors.

The 2003 reality dating competition show, Boy Meets Boy aired on the Bravo network. Hosted by Dani Behr, James Getzlaff was the potential romantic partner of 15 men. As is standard for the subgenre, each vied for his attention and heart. In the end, he would choose one and perhaps walk into the sunset with him. Assisting James in the process was his bestie, Andra Stasko.

The twist is that some of the “mates” as they were called, were straight. If James chose one of the gay mates, they would win a cash prize and a vacation to New Zealand. If he chose a mate who was heterosexual and pretending to be gay, James would walk away empty-handed.

In a sense, it was progressive, given when it aired. Seeing the LGBTQ community as fully-fledged human beings was still a relatively new idea at the time. However, it was still a reality show, and questionable as to how “real” it was.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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