Petit Fours » A group blog of authors writing in different genres

Masthead header

Confessions of a Reality Show Junkie

I’m a reality show junkie when it comes to people reaching for their dreams. You can have the Bachelor/Bachelorette shows, Survivor and the Amazing Race, but make a show about an ordinary someone trying to achieve success with song, dance, art, food or interior design? You betcha. I’m glued to the screen.

Thank goodness they don’t all show up on the schedule at once, but over the course of a year, I record and watch

American Idol
The Voice
So You Think You Can Dance
Work of Art: The Next Great Artist
Food Network Star
Hell’s Kitchen
Top Chef (Hmm. There’s a definite food slant here.),
and Design Star.

I didn’t think about it much until recently, when it occurred to me that writers who seek publication are much like the contestants I see on these various shows. We’re all reaching for a dream, aren’t we? Believe it or not, there are lessons to be learned from these shows, such as: If minimal effort is expended, you’re likely to be out of the game in a hurry. There’s no substitute for hard work, but drive and passion help your chances of success. Don’t let setbacks keep you down. Dust yourself off and go at it again.

Ultimately, someone wins and I heave a satisfied sigh, much like when I finish reading another love story or watch a romantic movie. Seeing others reach their goals, I’m encouraged to keep writing and keep working toward successes of my own.

What kind of shows and movies do you watch? Is it purely for pleasure or have you discovered it feeds some need inside you?

– – – – –

If you’d like to learn more about me or my alter-ego, Annie Rayburn, here’s where you can find us:

Website, Blog, CB_Twitter, CB-Facebook, AR_Twitter, AR-Facebk_author_pg, Pinterest, WANATribe, Shelfari, Goodreads




C.E. Hart - June 15, 2012 - 12:39 am

I don’t know a bigger reality show junkie than myself. lol So You Think You Can Dance is definitely one of my favorites. I get so emotional (especially with the contemporary dance) because the dancers open themselves up, become vulnerable, and tell stories in a such a beautiful, creative way.

I hadn’t really ever seen the connection between the show and my love of writing before reading this post. Wow. Pretty profound! Thanks, Carol.

Now I need to figure out why I watch Survivor, Big Brother, Amazing Race, and cheesy bachelor/bachelorette. Oh wait. I think it’s for all the hot guys! :)

Carol Burnside - June 15, 2012 - 3:39 am

C.E: I totally agree with you on SYTYCD. I still remember the routine about breast cancer. I think it was two seasons ago and the girl was a ballet dancer (maybe). It was so touching, I cried.

I think sometimes we just like to live vicariously. It’s nice to see all that stuff happening and not have to expend all that energy and emotion. Those goal oriented shows are great for studying motivation and seeing true personality traits revealed. Then again, you could be right…might just be to ogle the hot guys! LOL

Sally Kilpatrick - June 15, 2012 - 9:03 am

Now I’m concerned. As of late, I’ve been mostly about the shows with murderers. See Castle, Richard.

Maxine - June 15, 2012 - 9:20 am

Enjoyed the post, Carol. I wouldn’t have guessed you love the Reality Shows! I will watch NICS anytime it is on, if I possibly can. Sally, I do like Castle, too. Loved “Murder, She Wrote.” I was still a “closet writer” at the time. I’ve always said I love a good murder mystery!

Linsey Lanier - June 15, 2012 - 11:56 am

Love that picture, Carol. Alas, hubby doesn’t like reality shows, so I don’t get to watch much of them (he owns the remote, tradeoff for his cooking, LOL). We used to watch American Idol, but being a musician, when his pick didn’t win, it was too much trauma for him. Probably a good thing. I get more writing done that way. Of course, we’re into AMC shows. Can’t wait for final episode of The Killing. And then there’s Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. :-D

Tami Brothers - June 15, 2012 - 12:18 pm

Awesome post, Carol!!! I am NOT a reality TV show junkie. I say that, but I do watch a LOT of reality TV. Trust me, most of it is involuntary since hubby watches a LOT. Swamp People, Swamp Loggers, Duck Dynasty, and so many others I can’t think of the names right now. He also watches most, if not all the ones you mentioned above, especially the food ones.

BUT I have to admit that I was the one who got us started. I got hooked on that first Survivor show and have watched most of the seasons since. Now, there are so many of them it’s hard to find a show that isn’t a reality show.

LOVE how you compared this to writing. Never thought of it this way. :)


Carol Burnside - June 15, 2012 - 12:18 pm

LOL, Sally. I love those too. I watch Castle, Rissoli & Isles, Criminal Minds and CSI. Gory in that context doesn’t bother me, but I hate scary movies. Go figure.

Carol Burnside - June 15, 2012 - 12:20 pm

Yes, Maxine. NCIS is a great show. Such great character studies in it, don’t you think? I love the latest played by Jamie Lee Curtis. Definite chemistry with Mark Harmon.

Carol Burnside - June 15, 2012 - 12:22 pm

Ah, Linsey, my hubby loves Breaking Bad. I’m just glad I have my own TV and DVR. Some things we watch together, some not.

Carol Burnside - June 15, 2012 - 12:24 pm

Tami, it got so there were so many of them I started wondering what it was that held my interest. Then I realized the ones that I really looked forward to watching were all related to someone working hard toward a dream. It’s an addictive scenario.

Dianna Love - June 15, 2012 - 12:48 pm

Wow, you ARE a reality show junkie, CE. :) I like the life lesson you point out about ‘minimal effort usually equals minimal return.’

I never would watch reality shows after I got turned off by American Idol (i couldn’t stand to watch someone so exposed creatively be bludgeoned), but someone got me to watch the Amazing Race a couple seasons back and I’ve really enjoyed that. I just watched the first season of the Voice and liked that too, because they actually coach the singers (but it seemed to drag out too long at times to get to the final show). I can’t tolerate much whining so I tend to avoid the other shows with so much drama. As for Castle, I do love that program – thank goodness for HULU b/c we can never keep up with a weekly show on a set schedule.

Carol Burnside - June 15, 2012 - 12:54 pm

Dianna, I’m thankful for my DVR too. Some weeks there’s just more important stuff going on than TV. Then I’ll catch a breather and glut on shows. I love watching several weeks at one sitting – it really keeps the continuity of the show fresh in my mind.

Hmm…guess that’s like writing a rough draft fast rather than in small pieces over time, eh? The devil is in the details you remember. ;)

Pam Asberry - June 15, 2012 - 1:42 pm

I don’t watch much TV, Carol, and if it weren’t for my DVR I wouldn’t watch ANYTHING. As for reality shows, I skimmed through last season’s “American Idol” and I also love “What Not To Wear,” although I haven’t seen an episode in months. I guess I would rather spend my very limited free time reading. Ahh…

Carol Burnside - June 15, 2012 - 3:18 pm

I understand that, Pam. I DVR everything so I can FF thru the commercials. Turns that hour show into 40-45 min.

Sia Huff - June 15, 2012 - 4:22 pm

I’m not too much into “Reality” TV. The closest I come is “Dancing With the Stars”. Love the romance of the dance.
Saw Rachel Ray and Guy Fiore have teams battle it out a couple of episodes. I tend to forget what shows on what channel at what time. And am afraid if I DVR, it will take over my life.
I did watch the new “Dallas” the other night and loved the drama. Just like the old one. We’ll see if I can find it again, when I have the time. :)

Carol Burnside - June 15, 2012 - 4:34 pm

Sia, I was afraid to watch the new Dallas – afraid I’d like it and be hooked on yet another show.

Thank goodness all the shows I like aren’t all on during the same season. Some show in the Fall, others in the Spring. Used to be there was only one Fall season for new shows, but times have changed.

kathryn jane - June 15, 2012 - 7:22 pm

What I love about reality tv is the diversity of people that you get to see. Yes, I know everything is filtered by producers and the players go through casting… but it’s still interesting to watch.
I prefer to laugh at the games that reality tv people play instead of watching sit-coms. :laugh:
But I confess, I need a character or two to grab me to keep me watching. ha ha, character is the best hook!
In the last few years, bedtime has become 8pm (get up at 5 to write) so I don’t get to see much tv but I used to love Amazing Race, Survivor and Top Chef.

Tamara LeBlanc - June 15, 2012 - 7:59 pm

I’m not a huge reality show watcher, but I DVR a few: So You Think You Can Dance, and my husband and I love The Biggest Loser.
We watch SYTYCD for the amazing dancers. But TBL has all you mentioned (loved the lessons segment of your posts. Great quotes!)Like: Don’t let setbacks get you down and There’s no substitute for hard work, but drive and passion help your chances of success.
Both of these sentences apply to writing so perfectly.
Now just because I don’t watch alot of reality TV doesn’t mean I watch very little TV. I’m a BIG boob tube watcher. For a while, too big…it kept me from writing. But now that I have my head on straight and I write daily, I’m doing much better.
Even so I make time for my favorite shows like Supernatural, The Walking Dead, True Blood, The Killing, Game of Thrones, Seinfeld, King of Queens, and my recent addiction, The Big Bang Theory (I just love those nerds!)
I watch alot of these shows for pleasure…well, all of them for pleasure, but I get the extra added bonus of learning about things like plot and characterization from the more serious programs. In fact, me and my critique partners did a great workshop (I thought it was great) at M&M on the pilot episode of Supernatural and the character arcs of the Winchester brothers.
So not only did we learn something by watching the show, but we get the extra added bonus of double hotness on screen :-*
What a great post Carol!
Have a very happy weekend!!

Carol Burnside - June 15, 2012 - 11:37 pm

Kathryn Jane: Yes, exactly! Like on American Idol, they’ll spotlight some odd hardship that a person has endured and how they’ve overcome or remained positive. It’s that kind of thing that rivets me to the screen.

Interesting side note on Top Chef: At the time the Voltaggio bros were on, I lived in Maryland – just a few miles from Volt, Bryan’s restaurant. Hubby and I celebrated an anniversary there and it was AWESOME eats!

Carol Burnside - June 15, 2012 - 11:39 pm

Tamara: There’s definite fodder for our characters to be had in these shows. Doesn’t hurt one bit if there’s hotness to be seen. LOL

Susan Carlisle - June 17, 2012 - 9:11 pm

I’m not a reality show fan but I do like a good movie where the hero or heroine has to overcome troubles to win the day. I’m a big cheerleader for these characters.

F O L L O W   U S
R E C E N T   T W E E T S