Great Bend not ready for reality TV
By Susan Thacker 530News –
A television is usually on down at Victory Barber Shop. Thanks to that I know there is a reality show about making swords and blades, History’s, “Forged in Fire.” No one was paying much attention to the tube Saturday until we realized someone was talking about an “experiment” that involved couples splitting up and moving in with different spouses for a couple of weeks.
“What are you watching?” I asked. No one knew but it led to a discussion about reality shows and the channel was switched to Discovery, which broadcasts shows such a “Gold Rush,” a favorite with the barbers.
“It’s a soap opera for men,” one of them explained. It’s shown at the same time as “Say Yes to the Dress,” on TLC, so the decision of what to watch depends on who is in the majority at the time — males or females.
“Say Yes to the Dress” shows the progress of professionals at Kleinfeld Bridal in Manhattan. Common themes include overwhelming advice of friends and family, the ability of the “perfect dress” to help a bride overcome personal difficulty, struggles with weight and body image concerns, and the challenge of staying in a budget.
“Gold Rush” follows people who, due to economic struggles, have turned to gold mining. I’ve got to believe that not all of the advice they get is good, but I doubt these adventurers worry about their weight or body image. It’s a show about chasing your dreams, and maybe finding that “perfect mine.”
I wonder if barbers and stylists ever look at bearded reality show characters – think “Duck Dynasty” – and dream of shaving those long whiskers. Or do they watch salon and barber shows? “L.A. Hair,” “Making the Cut,” “Cedric’s Barber Battle” and “Cutting Crew” are just a few of the shows available.
The spouse-swapping show that started our conversation was probably FYI’s “The Seven Year Switch.” I guess if you can think up a concept, you can pitch a reality TV series.
By one estimate, there were 750 “unscripted” prime-time TV shows on cable in 2015. But that number might be low. The Daily Beast reported there were 1,715 TV series that aired in prime time in 2014, of which 352 were scripted. An “unscripted” show might include a talent contest such as “The Voice,” as well as shows such as “Celebrity Apprentice” or “Survivor.” And I doubt that the show “Pawn Stars” is unscripted, but it’s probably on the list.
What could happen in a Great Bend reality show? I could mention some of our town’s recent dramas, but someone’s feelings would be hurt. It’s inevitable; even a “reality” show needs a story arc, with a protagonist and a hero. What script are you following?
Susan Thacker is the news editor at the Great Bend Tribune. Send email to email@example.com.