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Reality TV

Today it's confession time.

Watching “reality television” has never been my thing. It’s just something I’ve not been drawn to so aside from turning on the television too early for a Hallmark movie or whatever I may be interested in and seeing the final minute of The Bachelor, I’ve steered clear of the scene as I prefer my drama in fictionalized form. Now we come to me admitting to a guilty pleasure. When I happened to find out that gymnast Shawn Johnson (who later returned in an all-star season) was competing on a certain ABC show called Dancing with the Stars, I didn’t know much about it but I knew I’d have to watch her compete. Tuning in as a mere casual viewer wasn’t supposed to mean anything however it didn’t take much to fascinate me and a season (or two) later with more familiar faces in the celebrity cast I was hooked and have watched more loyally than I ever thought.  

Every year those who follow my Twitter timeline (you guys rock, really, thank you! And a shout-out to my hashtag #DWTS buddy, Charity) you’re probably annoyed by the tweets I share every Monday night which is why I figured that was “enough” love for Dancing with the Stars but since I do talk about it so much and after Twitter conversations, I figured it’d be appropriate to write one blog post on my silly addiction. The show is a simple concept that likes to throw in twists in attempts to “shake up” the competition and keep things interesting every season. As a girl whose dancing knowledge is no more than pretending to know what I should be looking for, watching dancing is a gorgeous thing. I’ve enjoyed the innovative routines, getting to “know” the pros and be awed by their talent, and of course, a chance every season to cheer on a favorite celebrity.  

The format is simple, each season introduces a new celebrity cast of twelve people who are paired with a pro;  this season has Olympic medalists, former child stars, a television game show host, musicians and more. Those couples perform a dance on their Monday night show that they are judged on by a panel of three, then every week, one couple is eliminated from competition combining judges scores and audience votes. Since I began watching the dances have gotten more intricate and even the variety has grown, now instead of just the beautiful ballroom routines that also include Latin dances, there is also contemporary, swing dances and even the occasional flamenco routine. Once the season has been plucked down to a limited number of couples, there are more challenges presented to them with multiple dances in one night, fusion dances or team routines, and this season there is going to be a “switch-up,” which will apparently pair up the celebrities with pros they were not originally paired with.

As a “reality” show, there is a lot about the competition that a viewer feels like is dramatized – for example, much as they may try to appear impartial, it doesn’t take long to realize the judges have their favorites and if they don’t like a contestant it doesn’t matter the effort they put in. Or putting the same pro dancers with someone who doesn’t have a chance to get into the finale whereas others always seem to get the new Dancing with the Stars sweetheart. Every episode usually some argument is captured – whether it be at the judges table, the rehearsal video or post performance interviews – and I usually roll my eyes at the least or yell at the TV over the silly drama (much like my Oscar experiences have been!) at worst but somehow I haven’t been able to stop watching. In a nutshell, this is Dancing with the Stars. There is a lot of high drama – from the contestants, pros and hosts alike, a lot of spray tan and sequins and best of all, a lot of beautiful dancing. And I’ve already found new favorites to cheer on. The season 18 cast is as follows.
Amy and Derek


AMY PURDY partnered with DEREK HOUGH

Dancing with the Stars returns for its second episode tonight and first elimination of season 18.
(...until then, I shall be reading.)
Now I’ve admitted to my reality television weakness, what about you readers? Do you have a show you watch that gets under your skin but you just cannot give up? Share your reality TV guilty pleasures below!
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  1. I use to hate reality tv but over the years it has come to grow on me. Usually I stay towards more happy and positive types (like DWTS). However, I do watch one I'm embarrassed about but not ready to give up yet = America's Next Top Model.

    1. I am of the same thought, Juju. It's just not my scene but for whatever reason, I cannot give up DWTS. It's awesome. I've not read much about America's Next Top Model, though it'd probably be one I could get hooked on. ;)

  2. I watch both Survivor and Amazing Race. I've never been into DWTS, though I've been tempted to this season because of Meryl & Charlie.

    1. You know I meant to talk more about the week one dances specifically, Dawn but I sort of rambled on about the "general" feeling of the show. ;)

      Charlie and Meryl were fantastic in week one! Their dances were beautiful to watch - plus it's fun to see them as competitors.

  3. Reality TV... ah yes. And you mentioned me! Love you, DWTS friend. ;)

    As to what I watch...I've actually watched the whole last season of The Bachelor, except about 20 minutes of the last episode - planning to finish tonight. :) As you know, I LOVE DWTS, except Hulu isn't getting this season on time. :( Heart-broken about that. I'll definitely be watching it when it comes up though! And then my guiltiest indulgent... dare I confess? America's Next Top Model. If you think the drama on The Bachelor is stupid... this is more so. It's highly unintelligent and sometimes inappropriate, but I've learned a lot about photography and posing from it. So I watch it, mostly to laugh at the poor gals. But yes - that's my real guilty indulgence. ;)

    Have a lovely day, Rissi! I'm glad we're friends. :)

    1. I have no doubt I could get hooked on other reality TV shows, Charity though seriously, I much prefer drama in fictionalized dramas as opposed to "real life" TV. ;)

      Well, if the promos are anything to judge by, The Bachelor isn't my thing though like you, I have seen the final moments of certain episodes. And yay for shared DWTS love - it's great fun chatting with you about it (give me a shout-out once you can see episode one). I haven't seen America's Top Model however I suspect I could get hooked, too. Glad you have learned a lot by watching it - I think that's wonderful. Photography has so many angles and whenever someone takes the initiative to self-teach themselves, I think that's good. My cousin is interested in photography and I've been trying to encourage her to try new things and learn more about it (she is already) because a.) she loves it and b.) I think photography is something you can be self-taught up until certain points.

      You too, Charity - hope your week is great. And right back atcha', super glad to have met you and count you as a friend! :)

  4. American Idol....I just can't give it up! It is pretty much the only reality show I watch, well except for Duck Dynasty.

    1. Ooo! I've watched American Idol a few times, Alyssa - I know once I did because I happened to discover that someone near where I live was competing, plus of course I love many of the artists that have come from the show! :)

  5. I'm sort of the opposite...I used to love reality TV and watch it often, and now I don't watch it at all. :) My family and I watched every single season of Survivor from the very first season on, up until several years ago. My mom and I watched Dancing with the Stars religiously. :) And I watched a lot of the older reality shows on TLC (Little People Big World, the Duggars, etc.) whenever I had the chance, and occasionally even a bit of American Idol.

    Then we got rid of satellite TV, so we didn't have any TV service for a couple of years. In the last year or so, we got an antenna so we get local channels now. My parents started watching Survivor again, but I didn't pick either one back up. I don't really miss Survivor (I think they're running out of fresh ideas after all these years). I do miss Dancing with the Stars a bit, but obviously not enough to continue watching it. :) I mostly miss watching the behind-the-scenes interactions between the partners and such, and I did have a few favorite "pros" that I really loved. I liked the judges and the sense of humor that the show had. (The "Dance Center" bits later on in the seasons were hilarious!) I didn't realize that Candice Cameron Bure was on it this season! As a Full House fan, that does intrigue me...especially since she's partnered with Mark Ballas. I always liked him.

    1. Never have seen an episode of Survivor, Kristin however well, obviously I do watch DWTS. ;) I've seen an episode here and there of American Idol and I do love several of the artists it introduced us to.

      We've never had satellite/cable either however we do have the digital box that brings in local stations including ABC. I'm loving this season of DWTS (so far), Kristin and am really glad to watch Candace and Mark (love their pairing) - I think many people will rally behind her as she's very vocal about modesty and her relationship with God so naturally I cheer her on for that reason alone although I think she's a great dancer and am a fan of many of her acting credits. Me, too! I always liked Mark and like you, I get a kick out of the behind-the-scenes rehearsal video. I cannot remember what it was last night, but something made me laugh myself silly that happened in one of those training videos! :)

      Great thoughts.

  6. Is that the United States ice dancing/skating couple? Charlie and Meryl? I LOOVE dancing with the stars!

    1. Yes it is, Rachel! So far, these two are fabulous on the show - and it's fun to see them compete against each other. How odd after 17 years of being a team! ;)

      *High Five* fellow DWTS watcher.

  7. I don't mind reality TV. One of my favorite shows is So You Think You Can Dance, a dance competition similar to Dancing with the Stars. I've actually never seen DWTS before - I need to watch it! As a dancer myself, I loooove watching dance competitions.

    1. Ooo, I've never see that dance competition, Jillian though I think there might be some dancers now on DWTS that started on So You Think You Can Dance. DWTS is really quite fun - sure there are some silly dramatics, however it's FUN. Plus I like to watch when there are people on who I "know" whether from the movies or athletes.

      Why do I always forget you are a dancer!? I think that's awesome! :)

  8. I've had ups and downs with reality tv. I used to watch a lot more, including The Bachelor and Dancing With the Stars, but I've gotten to the point where the only one I watch with any regularity is American Idol. (I watch a ton of scripted shows, though. A ton.) I seriously love American Idol--and I always spurn The Voice whenever possible. I've been interested in Dancing with the Stars this year, though, because of Meryl and Charlie (as I've told you on Twitter!) I love the idea of them competing against each other after being together for so long! I definitely want to see who does better (or wins!)

    1. I'm right there with you, Rachel - I watch SO many scripted shows my dad just shakes his head and thinks I'm nuts. ;) Beyond that reality TV is pretty much limited to DWTS although there have been some American Idol episodes here and there, and really, I love several of the artists American Idol has found. Such fun.

      It's tons of fun watching Meryl and Charlie compete against each other after 17 years of skating together. So far they're both lovely and they had really good dances in their first two weeks. Like you say, it will be fun to watch who get further - or even if one could win! They certainly have the talent to go "all the way." :)

  9. I don't watch a lot of reality shows, but I can understand you get sucked into it easily! I love the historical reality shows of the BBC (the 'Farm' series and the two Turn back time series) and I always watch Farmer wants a Wife (the Dutch version) --> loooove it!

    1. Hi, Bidie! Glad to see you over here. Ooo! I bet the Brits do reality TV well. Never watched any of theirs though in addition to these you mention (which are probably classier), I think they have a dancing show too -it may have even inspired this U.S version. Which is cool. :)

      Thanks for sharing your favorites!

    2. Yes, the BBC also does dance and singing reality shows. I sometimes stumble into it when I'm zapping channels.

    3. It seems like singing reality shows are the "it" ticket these days. I just saw a promo spot for a new one this summer and much as I adore music, my reaction was something akin to, "really!? Another one?" LOL, we have SO many here in the states it's hard to keep them all straight. ;)

  10. Oh gosh, Reality TV is definitely one of my weaknesses. I can't think of one right now, but I know that there is one that I don't really enjoy watching anymore but I just have to to see how things will end up ;)
    xo TJ

    1. I don't blame you, TJ! There are some scripted shows like that - sometimes they're "hard" to watch but I *have* to know how they end up! Cannot give up our TV weaknesses, right!? ;)

  11. I just found your blog through your When Calls the Heart giveaway, and now I love it! So don't mind me as I go through all your old posts ;)

    I've never really watched DWTS before, but I got HOOKED this season. Haha not going to lie, I started watching it because of James (yes, I kinda like Big Time Rush ;) but now I really love Meryl, Charlie, and Amy too. (I love how sweet Derek is with Amy).

    Glad I found a fellow season 18 fan!

    1. Hi, Mal! No not at all, comments are welcome on any post - and I am glad you're a reader. Thank you. :)

      Oooh! Fun, DWTS is addictive, right!? Every season, I say, "I won't watch next year." And every season I read the new cast and discover I like SOMEONE in the new line up therefore watching is mandatory. James is someone I wasn't familiar with though I quite like him and of course, Meryl and Charlie were who I cared most about (they were dynamic at the Olympics) and yes, Amy is another favorite - Derek is mega talented, so he always puts together fabulous routines.

      Same here - feel free to visit anytime. :)


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