Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sacrificing yourself for someone else.

There is one thing that bugs me about reality competition shows: people giving up their chance for someone else. This comes up after watching last night's episode of The Biggest Loser: Couples. In a shift from being the strongest team on campus, the black team decided that the oldest members -- Marci, Deni and Jesse -- should throw the weigh-in and each gain weight. To my absolute show and dismay, Deni gained 8 pounds to protect "the young kids" from going home. This included a member on the red team, Jen, from being eliminated (she gained 2 pounds and was set to go home before the black team's weigh-in). 

Biggest Loser Couples 4, 2011
What bugs me about The Biggest Loser is when they play in couples or teams, because someone always gives up their chance for another because "they need it more." Often the people who make it to the end of The Biggest Loser have convinced others that they are more deserving of being there than someone else. But shouldn't you be making the call whether you're more deserving of being there than someone else? Isn't the point of this show to lose weight and become the biggest loser by staying on campus? Shouldn't you be taking advantage of the resources provided to you, making the other thousands of obese people in America mad they don't get the same chances? How do you determine that your needs aren't worse than the needs of someone else?

This problem of sacrifice extends beyond this one weight-loss show to other reality competition shows. On Survivor, many people have determined that they will be the martyr and give up their chance for someone else to win. Where's the competition in that? During the tenth season in Palau, Janu Tornell quit the game because she had enough, but later changed her tune to say that she was giving up her chance so Stephenie LaGrossa (the one who outlasted the rest of her former tribe to be the last person left before the merge) could stay in the game and fight to win. I don't call these sacrifices; I call them orchestrated quits.

An orchestrated quit is taking the control away from the game and exiting the game by your own wishes. Most contestants who orchestrate their own exit are tired of playing the game, miss home and want out of the confines of the show. To those who have done it, you just took away the chance from thousands of others (hundreds of thousands in Canada) to get the chance to play the game. To CBS, I won't ever quit Survivor, Big Brother, or the Amazing Race for anyone. 

Maybe it's just me who wouldn't do that, but would you sacrifice your chance for $1 million pay out or the chance to save your own life for someone else?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spinning PR in a different direction

This week's entry is for my fellow PR students who are craving to get out of the classroom and into the working world, whipping through press releases, organizing media conferences and updating the status of a top 100 company across the globe.

Summer, Lauren, Jonathon, Simon, Katie and Erika
I, as well as others I have talked to, have discovered The Spin Crowd on E! This show depicts Jonathon Cheban, insane yet brilliant owner of Command PR, running his west coast office. He has four staff working under him, as well as a quick-witted vice president. I was so excited to see that a reality show was made about PR but this one goes against my whole belief that reality television is real to me.

I haven't had much experience in PR yet, being only a student for now, but I am praying that I do not have to work for someone like Jonathon Cheban. I have my reservations about working for someone who tells his employees to get lip injections. I may be critical of what others wear, but I would take offense to being asked to change my physical appearance if it was not helpful to my overall health. Luckily for little Erika, the new girl from San Diego, she only got a temporary lip injection but angered Jonathon for deceiving her. I wonder if this is a question of morals.

I am worried that I will enter the PR world and have everyone compare it to this show. Better, more prestigious professions have been compared to other shows, not all reality television, like practicing medicine to Grey's Anatomy or ER, and practicing law to Boston Legal or Law and Order. PR, from what has been described from our professors, is going to be filled with writing, editing, communication and building relationships. I think looking for ways to melt fat away or improve your wardrobe shouldn't overshadow the importance of a great profession.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Don't hate Kate

My inspiration for this week's blog came just after writing about Jersey Shore last week when I turned on E! True Hollywood Story: Kate Gosselin. I had almost forgotten about the hot mama from Pennsylvania trying to raise eight kids on her own (very different from Octamom). Watching the twists and turns of Kate's celebrity played with my emotions yet again, just like Jon's play dates with the babysitters.

I have never been afraid to admit that I am a fan of Kate Gosselin. I'm not a mother, so I don't know what it's like to have children or raise them. My guess is that it is hard and you would get grouchy if you had to listen to nine children whine (let's remember that Jon was two years her junior). I worked at enough day camps and children centres to know that when one starts to cry, the whole balance of a room can get be thrown off balance. But this isn't about the kids-- it's about the woman behind the kids.

I do not have money or anything to call my own except for my Jon and Kate Plus Eight DVD's and Kate Gosselin's book "Multiple Blessings", so if someone came to me with an idea for a reality television show that will do two things: 1) Make me enough money to support my family (whenever that happens); and 2) Provide me with unique opportunities I wouldn't have before; then yes, I would ensure that my face is always in the public eye. She has said numerous times, even after Jon ordered a cease and desist order for TLC to stop filming, that she does the show, the guest appearances, and Dancing with the Stars to make money to support her children. Someone has to.

That is one common theme every reality show has: the people on the show want money. I believe that's the true reality of this show. How did Jon and Kate expect to support eight children on the salary of a part-time nurse and computer IT guy? I thank my parents for everything they gave me, knowing they had to work extra hard to support four kids who wanted to play baseball and soccer and football, and have a car and go to university and eat. So when I watch Kate parading her children around, I keep it in my head that she is doing this for their kids (insert raving rants here).

We all know what happens next. In the end of the fourth season, Jon and Kate questioned whether they would be back for a fifth season. Jon stated: "I don't get to be just Jon. I have to be Jon and Kate Plus 8." Congratulations Jon, you win. You can have your babysitters and wear Ed Hardy while talking to the cameras about what you think is best for your kids. But the show is now Kate Plus 8 and you were (as of the twentieth of January) working for a real estate company. Keep fighting to have the show taken off the air; in the mean time, Kate will support the kids with her $250,000 an episode.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Reality of the "Situation"

I have fallen in love with Jersey Shore.

I used to think it was a hyped-up show about Italian-Americans always getting into fights, but it's so much more than that. The show's premise is primarily this: take eight strangers and move them into a house, and see what happens. Doesn't that show sound like another MTV show that has been on for 24 seasons? It's basically Real World for guidos, which I think is heaven.

Since my obsession with the show began last week, I have done some reading up on the show to see what I have missed. I'm not surprised that there has been a large response towards the show, especially from Italian-American organizations. There has been so many letters, statements and angry phone messages to MTV I'm sure their duck phone is quacked-out.

MTV has always created shows that are controversial, and not everyone is going to like them. I think My Super Sweet 16 is worse in that the 16-year-old is spoiled, arrogant and rude to everyone around them, and their parents pay for them to get whatever they want. Does anyone who is not part of the Royal Family (and I mean the Pitt-Jolie's) need to receive a new Mazzaratti or book a New York club out when no one can legally drink? The JS shore kids are just having fun, having developed their own sense of self, and I strongly believe they are no way told how to act.

Vinny and Sammi "Sweetheart" both attended university; Pauly D. is a successful DJ; Nicole "Snooki" wants to be a veterinary technician-- they want to make something out of their lives, like everyone else does. What's so wrong with that?

I don't think that by them calling themselves "guidos" and "guidettes" they are belittling themselves or hurting anyone. As a girl I work with says: "I hate Jersey Shore and I'm Italian," then don't watch. Ethnicities need to be celebrated, especially the ones that embarrass us; those are the ones that will shed light on the reality of subculture, making others aware. So to the people who hate my beautiful JS cast members, maybe you need a little GTL time to relax and figure yourselves out.