Tag Archives: Reality Television

Dirty Rotten Cleaners Review

I don’t know about anyone else, but I find cleaning my home to be a chore that I would do without if I could. But it has to be done, so I just suck it up and get it done.

Dirty Rotten Cleaners premiered on A&E last year. This reality show follows two different cleaning companies in Florida as they clean the properties of their customers. Their task is more much than the standard clean. Many of these houses are filthy, filled to the brim with junk, and covered in mold.

What I like is that unlike other programs within the reality television genre, the truth about this job is not glossed over. It is genuinely gross and dangerous. Similar to its’ sister show, Hoarders, the clients are not used for a laugh or pushed into a stereotype. They are merely the patrons who need their properties cleaned.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Dirty Rotten Cleaners is available for streaming on Hulu.

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Throwback Thursday: Carnage (2011)

One of the things I find fascinating and frustrating as a grownup is that we claim to have the ability to be mature and think things through in an intelligent and reasonable manner. That being said, it is amazing how easy it is to revert back to childish behavior.

The 2011 film, Carnage, is based on the play God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza. After two eleven-year-old boys get into a fight in Brooklyn Bridge Park, their parents meet up to figure out what exactly happened and mend fences. Michael and Penelope Longstreet ( John C. Reilly and Jodie Foster) and Alan and Nancy Cowan (Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet) hope to resolve the problem in an adult and expedient manner. Instead, the conversation devolves into revelations of the character’s flaws as both spouses and parents.

Directed by Roman Polanski, this movie reveals what happens when people stop being polite and start being real (to borrow a quote from The Real World). The most interesting narratives are the ones that reveal our shortcomings as human beings. This one has revelations oozing from the core, asking all of us to look at our own imperfections and be honest about the weaknesses we need to work on.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, New York City, Television, Throwback Thursday

She’s Unlikeable: And Other Lies That Bring Women Down Book Review

The idea of matchmaking seems like it would conflict with the modern world and dating as we know it to be today.

When Aparna Shewakramani signed up for the Netflix reality show Indian Matchmaking, she had no idea what she was about to experience.

Presented to the audience as unlikable, she was villainized as a woman whom no man would want as a partner/spouse. In her new feminist manifesto/memoir, She’s Unlikeable: And Other Lies That Bring Women Down (published earlier this year), Shewakramani details both her experience on the program and how women can fight against the idea that standing up for themselves only creates a negative image.

Before reading this book, I did hear rumblings that there were inconsistencies and stereotypes that existed within the program. But that’s reality television for you. In theory, I liked the concept of the book. It is, unfortunately, still relevant and necessary.

I hate to say it, but it was hard to read. Knowing nothing about the author is my issue. I should have been inspired to give the figurative middle finger. It was just a little too much from her perspective and not general enough for me to truly dig into the message.

Do I recommend it? No.

She’s Unlikeable: And Other Lies That Bring Women Down is available wherever books are sold.

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Throwback Thursday: Gene Simmons Family Jewels (2006-2012)

The “celebrity reality show” is an interesting subgenre within reality television. It can show that the subjects are just like the average person. It can also show how they are not like the average person.

Gene Simmons Family Jewels aired on A&E from 2006 to 2012. This reality show followed the daily activities of musician Gene Simmons and his family (a la The Osbournes).

It was an interesting and quirky look at a man whose reputation (depending on the viewer) may only be known by his out-there stage antics and his claim about how many women he has taken to bed. His family-man aesthetic is a 180 that I don’t think that many people saw coming.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

P.S. His exploration of being Jewish and the son of a Holocaust survivor I find to be touching, human, and very refreshing.

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Flashback Friday: Work Out (2006-2008)

There are very few workplaces in which reality television has not touched.

The Bravo reality show Work Out aired from 2006 to 2008. The follow-up to another series from the network, Blow Out, the program follows Beverly Hills gym owner Jackie Warner as she both runs her business and deals with issues in her private life. As with every program in the genre, there is lots of drama that is supposed to draw the viewer in and keep them engaged.

Back then, it was appealing. It was a mixture of the beautiful people and their problems. Whether or not those problems were real or manufactured for the camera is another thing entirely. But just because I watched then does not mean I would watch it now.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Throwback Thursday: The World’s Strictest Parents (2009-2010)

Tough love is something necessary when it comes to our children. At the moment, it may seem overly harsh. But in hindsight, it may be the one thing that fixes the problem.

The World’s Strictest Parents aired from 2009 to 2010. This reality show followed misbehaving teenagers whose parents could not deal with them anymore. Each episode follows two subjects who live with strict host families for one week. If they continue to act out (which predictably happens), they are forced to submit to some sort of punishment. At the end of the week, each child receives a letter from their real parent, which hopefully opens the door to conversation and understanding.

This is reality television, so we have to take what we are watching with a grain of salt. What I find interesting is that the heart of the series is figuring out what is causing the behavior and resolving the issue.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday: Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood

One of the hallmarks of celebrity culture is the constant need to prove that they are no different than the average person.

Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood (originally titled Tori & Dean: Inn Love) aired on the Oxygen Network (and then VH1) from 2007 to 2012. This reality show followed the life and marriage of Beverly Hills 90210 star Tori Spelling and her husband, Dean McDermott.

Ok, I admit that I watched this show. I wouldn’t be writing about it otherwise. While it was entertaining at the time, I can see it as just another example of another Hollywood vanity project/reality television.

Do I recommend it? No.

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Rat in the Kitchen Review

Reality competition shows are the norm these days. It takes a creative mind to create a concept that will keep the viewers coming back week after week.

Rat in the Kitchen is the newest program on the TBS schedule. Hosted by actress/comedienne Natasha Leggero and judged by chef Ludo Lefebvre, six chefs compete for a cash prize. The twist is that one of them is deliberately sabotaging their fellow contestant’s dishes. If the group is able to guess who is doing who the rat is, they win the money in their collective bank. But if this person is able to successfully remain unnoticed until the end of the episode, they walk away with a full wallet.

I had fun watching this show. The question is more than who will make the best dish. The guessing game of who the rat is kept me engaged and watching until the closing credits rolled.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Rat in the Kitchen airs on TBS on Thursday night at 9PM.

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Throwback Thursday: Celebrity Wife Swap (2012-2015)

It has been said that we can never truly know another until we walk a mile in their shoes.

The reality show Celebrity Wife Swap (2012-2015) is an offshoot of another reality television program, Wife Swap. The narrative is the same as its predecessor, the only difference is that the participants are famous. For two weeks, the wives switch families. During the first week, they play by the rules. In the second week, they control how their hosts live. As expected, there is drama and disagreements. After two weeks, the wives return to their homes and reflect on their experiences.

It’s an interesting series. I think what I took from it is that in spite of the money and fame, their lives are for the most part no different than anyone else’s. That being said, it is still within the reality genre and forces the audience to ask what is “real” and what has been added to up the dramatic ante.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Life After Death with Tyler Henry Review

It’s easy to believe that a psychic is either a charlatan or a con artist, looking to make a quick buck by telling their “clients” what they want to hear.

The new Netflix series, Life After Death with Tyler Henry, follows psychic Tyler Henry as he travels around the country, providing comfort and messages from loved ones who have passed. But his life is not all sunshine and roses. When he returns home, Tyler is faced with a family mystery that has already opened the door to emotional scarring.

I sat down to watch this reality show last weekend. For a few episodes, it was compelling. What drew me in was the family mystery more than his work. The problem is that the program became repetitive to the point in which I was no longer interested in continuing on.

Do I recommend it? No.

Life After Death with Tyler Henry is available for streaming on Netflix.

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