Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Does this Dating Show Come With Fries?

Commentary by DI Arts reporter: Emily Woodbury

With three *Rock of Love* series, a spot on *Celebrity Apprentice*, and a new show coming this fall titled *Brett Michaels: Life As I Know It*, Brett Michaels is certainly an example of the rise of reality television programming. And then there are the spinoffs.

*Daisy of Love* and *Megan Wants a Millionaire* both took two unknowns from the *Rock of Love* series and turned them into TV stars. There are probably a few contestants from these shows who now have their own dating shows, but who can keep track?

Reality TV dating shows have continuously multiplied since the Bachelor began in 2002. The show’s average audience size was about 10 million viewers. The craze has only continued. The show aired its fourteenth season this year.

Though these dating shows started off fairly classy, with each contestant receiving roses and nice dinner dates, today’s dating shows might as well be called “trash and trashier”.

During any given episode of *Rock of Love*, viewers will find a group of bleach blonde fake-breasted women, mainly strippers, drunk and screaming at each other. In the meantime, Brett is on the sidelines trying to decide which girl has the right amount of trashiness to be his girlfriend for the week after the show airs.

And *Rock of Love* is certainly not the first of its kind. There are many shows that have been made with the same amount of bad taste. Shows like *Flavor of Love* and its spinoff *I Love New York* are quite similar. In fact, all these shows seem to be crimped, styled, and created in an almost identical manner. Producers crank out these shows so fast that each season is only a few months apart from the last. It’s fast-food television.

So the biggest question is, why do these shows get such good ratings? Maybe viewers feel more confident and sure of themselves after watching the unbalanced contestants make messes of themselves. Or maybe people just enjoy laughing when an extremely drunk stripper falls off a pole.

It’s probably a mix of both, and is similar to the reason people watch *Jerry Springer* on daytime television. It’s a guilty pleasure. And it is simply amazing how crazy some people can get when given a competition and some cases of liquor.

While today’s reality dating shows certainly do not display the best of American culture, people watch them and the bottom line is they are here to stay. The same house will be painted over for the next spinoff of a spinoff. And if the rent ever gets too high, producers can just throw everyone onto a bus.