for CityXtraMag.com Jan/Feb 2012 Issue
Here it is: The Unreality of Reality TV
On January 23, the Style Network's debuting it's hit spinoff series of "Big Rich Texas," titled, "Big Rich Atlanta." However, it is far from what the title states, as is with all the housewives series and many other reality programs. These characters are living a fantasy within a fantasy for our viewing pleasure.
Having worked alongside several cast members of "Big Rich Atlanta" the past few months while in Atlanta, the show is far from what the word reality means. Each day the ladies filmed, there was a mini-script and plot for the day's happenings and what the producers wanted them to do and talk about. In the new series, it dictates that all these women on the program are members of an elite Atlanta country club…But don't be fooled, most aren't members and some couldn't even afford the membership if they had liked. So the country club, or shall we call it the sound stage, is filled with fake patrons that are being paid as extras to sit in the background as the drama ensues on this program. Yet, it isn't just the country club where extra's are requested, it is nearly every where the ladies filmed. I guess having the real friends and families of these characters on the program weren't good enough.
On the series, you will see tender moments, however most of it is filled with drama to compete with its rivalry shows like Bravo TV's hit, "The Real Housewives of Atlanta." Hair will be pulled, fist fights will ensue and the cops/paramedics will arrive. Just listen when I say, that nearly every moment on this program is set up by the producers and cast. AND I don't want to just single out this new spinoff, as this is the case with nearly EVERY reality series.
For instance, "The Real Housewives" franchise should be renamed "The Wannabe's of …" because many of the women appearing aren't even married (yet) and don't even have the funds to keep up with the Joneses as the show portrays. As a matter of fact, many go broke and end up loosing their rented elaborate homes used for the show because of the costs of rent and the cost of clothing, expensive rented cars and much more alone. Don't get me wrong, some of the most famous people presently in the world are indeed reality stars and some have even advanced from reality TV to the big screen.
It was nearly the same instance when I filmed my own reality show for Bravo back in 2006, in Jacksonville, FL, titled "Party/Party: Gay Weddings." I filmed for nearly 30 long days straight and everyday was calculated the same way.
So, in the end, reality TV today should be deemed unreality for just some of the sole purposes above. Make sure you tune into the Style Network this month for "Big Rich Atlanta" and see what I am talking about.
Until next time…
Jonathan "JJ" Jaxson