September 19, 2008

The Universal Truths of Reality Shows

First here's an extremely brief recap so you're all caught up on America's Next Top Model and Project Runway.

On Top Model, there was a question if Hannah might be a racist. Maybe she is, but the girls handled it poorly. Eventually Nikeysha's yammering butt was sent home, and Lauren Brie suddenly leaped to the front of the class with a stunning photo.

Then this week the girls had makeovers which were nice, but Elina cried over her big puffy red weave curls. But she rocked the photo shoot, so she's over it. Brittany was nothing more than pretty (according to the judges, to me she was mannish) and was sent home.

Meanwhile at Parson's, two designers were eliminated last week, one of whom was Terri which really threw off my predictions. She also was suddenly a mean, bitter person, so I guess I didn't see that coming. Tanerexia also went home FINALLY. And then this week the designers made over college graduates, and Joe was finally sent home as I predicted.

Anywho, while watching these episodes, I verbalized to ScottE that there are some things that are very predictable on these shows. And he was (I think) impressed when I was proven right. It's like when he predicts how a movie is going to end, and I'm all, "Did you write the script?" So I thought it was time I shared this knowledge with you, gentle readers. Memorize these rules and astound your friends! You'll be a hit at your next TV-watching party.

I am going to focus mainly on competitive reality shows, as they are what interests me. But if you've found some similar rules for other types, please feel free to share them!

The Universal Truths of Reality Shows

1. The first person to be interviewed in a given episode is going to be either the winner that week or the one to go home.

Some shows are better about this than others. On Runway, for example, they will sometimes throw in other contestants commenting on their fortunes the prior week. But Top Model is the most egregious, and quite predictable with this.

2. Any contestant who laments that he misses his family will be going home to see them the same week.

There are a few sub-truths here. If said contestant calls a member of her family in the same episode, she is toast for sure. Examples for Runway this season - Stella and Joe. If, however, you see multiple contestants missing home, then you can expect a challenge or reward that involves loved ones from home. Survivor is famous for this. You'll also see it happen if The Amazing Race does the "phone your family" thing.

3. If a contestant says something hypocritical, expect the editors to show the evidence in the same episode.

This week's Runway was a good example. Kenley? I'd like you to meet Kettle. Neither of you can translate your style to different looks!

4. The biggest bitch or asshole will do several interviews in which she/he claims that, "I'm not here to make friends."

You can actually see a hilarious compilation clip of this on YouTube.

5. If a contestant has some disease or other sad story, he/she will mention it in an interview at least every other week, even when it's not relevant.

Top Model is famous for that. Like did you know that Heather had Asperger's? Or that Isis was born in the wrong body?

6. Mentioning that you think another player is "hot" or "cute" in an interview guarantees that you will at least make out. And alcohol will probably be involved.

Elina and Clark. 'Nuff said.

7. Karmic payback is guaranteed.

If you screw someone over, it will come to light, and you will get your comeuppance. Example - any team that used the Yield on any recent season of The Amazing Race.

8. Early success means a premature exit.

If a girl is "a natural" the first few weeks of Top Model, her chance of making it to the end is slim at best (watch out, Lauren Brie). Similarly, the winner of the first challenge in Runway is only going to see Bryant Park from across the street. Kelli? Gone. Even Daniel of the nice blue cup dress - gone.

9. There is a yin cast for every yang.

Let's use Big Brother as an example. If there's a gay man in the house, then there will also be a homophobe who may not immediately appear to be thus. Or look at Top Model last week - by having possibly insensitive Hannah, that means we have to have some equally insensitive sistahs. Brittany loves her mom, but Elina hates hers.

10. Forcing people to team up is designed to maximize drama.

Typical of this rule are the Runway team challenges - for every team that has good mojo, another will fight like cats and dogs. The Race has caught onto this trend with their odd Intersection challenges. Even on Top Model last season the girls teamed up to do go-sees with the most dysfunctional girls all together.

So those are the truths - what do you think? Tune in next Wednesday to Top Model and Project Runway, and see if I'm right!

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