Reality TV That Doesn’t Suck

It’s amusing that the only “reality” TV that doesn’t completely suck isn’t shown on the “main” channels. First, let me prefix this by saying that 99.9% of the reality shows on TV these days offend me, even though I have been known to watch survivor on occasion. While they are just TV shows, and everyone knows that it’s just a game, it still boils down to promoting one winner, all others are losers, and promoting conflict instead of working together. Oh, and they are stupid, brainless, and appeal to the sort of slobbering morons that the modern western world seems to be doing their best to breed (stupid people are much better consumers donchaknow?). Read on for more….

On new years day I ended up spending about eight hours watching a marathon of a TV show called Jamie’s Kitchen. The basic premis of the show is that Jamie Oliver, (AKA the naked chef (but thankfully never naked)) a young and famous UK chef, took on a group of 15 underprivileged teens and is training them to be chefs in a new resteraunt he’s building (the show had a bit of Opening Soon in it as well).

Anyway, over the course of the season the show follows the attempts to not only instill responsibility, ethics, and maturity, but also the ability to handle the pressure of a kitchen and cook in a world class kitchen. Lets just say that these qualities aren’t ones that are instilled naturally in the underprivilaged youths who are on the dole.

There is conflict, yelling, and lots of swearing (but you have to love the English and their swearing… “tosser”, “bollucks”, “oh fuck” and “bugger”), and not everyone wins in the end. The difference with this show is that the end goal is not a single winner but a group win with the end result of a working, functioning restaurant. What a concept!

The other good show is the Eco-Challenge, a marathon race of teams through grueling terrain. A normal course is something like 6-12 non-stop days of:

  • 42km hike through the bush
  • 70km biking
  • 130km kayaking
  • 77km more kayacking
  • Still more to come the next show….

This year’s race was in Sault St. Marie in Ontario, and I look forward to seeing the conclusion. While this is more of a “reality” show than most “reality” shows, and the end idea is still a single winner, the focus of the show is the teams working together to make it through. The challenge is brutal enough that just finishing the race is a huge accomplishment, and would still be a medal of honor .

Of course, will you ever see this on the big networks (you know, the 5 major ones that control 99% of the media and entertainment in North America)? Nope. The former is on Food Network Canada, the latter on the Outdoor Life Network. I’m sure that these networks are still owned by the giants, but they’re far more “specialty” than the standard Fox/NBC/ABC/etc.

Still, watch these if you get the chance.

One Comment on “Reality TV That Doesn’t Suck”

  1. Interesting trivia note: Mark Burnett, the creator of Survivor is also the creator of the Eco-challenge.
    Our “reality tv” has mainly consisted of home improvement shows since buying the house. 😉 Some of the best of these are “Broken House Chronicles” and “Holmes on Homes”.