Comments on: The State of Reality TV: When Reality Worlds Collide Responses to Media and Culture Fri, 12 Feb 2016 19:35:04 +0000 hourly 1 By: Jennifer Clark Thu, 17 Feb 2011 16:05:13 +0000 Thanks, Erin!

You’re right about the need to see particular connections (as much as we’re asked not to at times) among shows.

As for the case of The Bachelor-Bridalplasty relationship, if part of our knowledge and pleasure about The Bachelor stems from the failures of the relationships and the lack of the marriage ceremony, doesn’t Bridalplasty seem all the more tragic? Women are having plastic surgeries for something that might not happen (and if it does, it might fail)? If you buy into The Bachelor as romantic fantasy with no knowledge of the post-show breakups (which I think would be awfully hard, no?), then Bridalplasty is a rational show. But otherwise…

Something I didn’t address, but your comments suggest, is the value of interpretative strategies, communities, actual viewers. I wonder what that would unearth for us?

By: Erin Meyers Wed, 16 Feb 2011 17:34:53 +0000 Really interesting article! But I wonder about the ideological separation idea always holding true for different reality shows. I think this is true for many of the shows mentioned, particularly Teen Mom and Jersey Shore. We praise in JS the same behaviors that we condemn on TM. But what about shows that are more tightly connected in terms of theme?

Jennifer says, “The romantic fantasy of The Bachelor (ABC 2002- ) works only if see it apart from the frightful pressures placed on brides in Bridalplasty (E! 2010- ).” We don’t want the pressures of wedding or even, gasp, of actual marriage to enter into the fantasy of The Bachelor. Except after the show is over and we get the pleasure of watching those couples fall apart (maybe, or do we want them to succeed?)

But what about the other way around? Isn’t part of Bridalplasty (which I admit I have not seen a full episode) premised on the same sort of perfect romantic fantasy as The Bachelor? It’s not a direct spinoff, but doesn’t Bridalplasty rely on the audiences’ familiarity with the ideologies characteristic of The Bachelor? That the women’s willingness to undergo these plastic surgeries etc is so that they too can have what is deemed the perfect romantic fantasy of a wedding? That their willingness to completely change their face/body in the name of “love” is aimed at the idea that women’s worth comes from achieving the same perfect bride/wife status that the Bachelor is built on?

Like the spinoffs mentioned, could we make some genre or perhaps theme-oriented associations that lead to a one-way (but not necessarily two-way) interconnectedness? Again, Bridalplasty isn’t a spinoff of the Bachelor, but I don’t think it would be possible without the Bachelor (and other romantic fantasy reality tv) as a predecessor. Also, we do see the “winner” of the Bachelor in her pursuit of the perfect wedding and all she will do to get it (losing weight etc) in tabloids/blogs. So could this be another moment of ideological interconnectedness as opposed to segregation? I think this article opens up some fascinating questions about reality TV as a genre.