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Hey there Gasmi, reality shows are about personalities. Mainly because that way the producers don’t have to hire actors or writers and can better use that money on more important things: like questionable elective surgery, paying to have sex with people who are wildly more attractive then said producers, and/or buying things like Italian sports cars that don’t clash with their shoes; you know, important stuff. So with so much on the line it’s no surprise that reality shows live or die by the personalities of the people who are on them.
That being said, this is a great time to bring up a rule of Hollywood that Tom Haverford on Parks and Recreation pointed out while explaining the concept of his game show, Know Ya Boo. “Look, it’s Hollywood and everyone steals.”
All I know about Hollywood I’ve learned from Tom Haverford
18,109 days and counting without a job in the industry
Hollywood is a wonderful place where you can be whoever you want to be, and nobody will ever ask you if that’s doll hair on the top of your head. The downside to this town is that failure is not tolerated in any way, shape, or form. This means that the people who make decisions aren’t what you would call huge fans of risk, and a great way to avoid risk is to do things that have already worked.
This is why you see a lot of the same types of personalities on reality shows. If personality X worked on show Z, it will work on our show, even though show Z was about young people living in a fabulous apartment in Manhattan, and our show is about midgets who rescue pit bulls in a swamp.
At least this is the reason I just came up with off the top of my head as to why you keep seeing basically the same people on every reality show. So let’s take a look at what Joseph Campbell would call the archetypes of reality TV. (And by awkwardly shoehorning in a reference to Joseph Campbell and archetypes into that last sentence, I finally got to use something from that sociology course I took my sophomore year. Score.)
Dipshits are the bedrock of reality television casting. I mean let’s face it, if you think that having a camera follow you around all day is going to be fun for you and entertaining for others, well let’s just say the MacArthur Foundation won’t be sending you a grant any time soon. So right from the get go we can pretty much say that everyone on reality TV is a dipshit.
Now, while everyone is a dipshit, they are all different in how they express their dipshitedness. They’re like really slow snowflakes.
Tamra from the Real Housewives of Orange County is a dipshit, because deep down in her tired little lump of coal masquerading as a heart, she actually thinks she’s hotter as women half her age. The entire Kardashian clan, and anyone dumb enough to marry or date one, are annoying dipshits. Anyone who’s ever been on a reality show that wasn’t a singing competition to get exposure for their music career? A dyed in the wool dipshit. Out of work doche-tasic frat bros who would pledge their undying love to a coat rack if it was standing next to Chris Harrison? Major dipshipts Broseph Stalin. Z-listers trying to get their careers going again by dancing, skating, or any other activity that a reality show producer can think up over a long lunch at Koo Koo Roo? Has-been Dipshits. Teen Moms? Pregnant dipshits. Well, you get the idea.
Pretty much all of the hosts on reality shows are dipshits too. Jeff Probst, the only Emmy winner ever for best reality TV host, nursed a year long man crush for Russell Hanz; do you know just how big of a dipshit you have to be to do something that stupid? If I had a really great metaphor for something being very big I would use it right now, but I’m a product of California public schools so I don’t have one, but let me just say, it would be pretty gosh darned big.