Reality Bits: JR Smith gets UnREAL, Chelsea Doesn’t

Kickstarting Reality

In today’s um… WHAT? news: Cavaliers’ shooting guard J.R. Smith has just launched a Kickstarter Campaign for a new Reality TV show. The proposed “scripted Reality” show (yeah, that’s how they describe it on the Kickstarter page), Team Swish follows Smith and his bodyguard Boom as Smith establishes a new shoe store, drives in cool cars, marries his fiancee and, therefore somewhat confusingly, also hangs with sexy ladies.

For a $2,500 donation you get to be on the show (be still my heart!), and for $5,000 and up you not only get to be on the show and have a speaking role, but will also receive some kind of cockamanie producer credit. If you actually work as a producer, this logic seems a bit backwards: as a rule we get paid (albeit shittily) for being producers.

If the goal of $450,000 is reached it will be streamed live to fans at Yay?

The Forgotten Black Bachelor?


Refinery29 points out in an article today that there was a black bachelor on Reality TV before the fake black bachelor on the scripted series UnREAL. NFL player Stevie Baggs, a black man, was on a Bachelor-style WE TV show called Match Made in Heaven. This is being overlooked in the current UnREAL press juggernaut.

The reason Match is being overlooked, however, is because, let’s face it, no WE TV show is gonna compete with The Bachelor. Moreover, WE is deliberately targeting a black audience and had largely black contestants. The reason why the capital B Bachelor will likely never be black (or at least not any time soon) is because, as discussed previously on this blog, networks assume that their largely white audiences at heart don’t want to see white women pursuing a black man.

Racism is rampant at the network level folks, although they always add the caveat that they’re simply reflecting their audience. Which, sadly, may be true too.

Chelsea Does (and somehow doesn’t because it isn’t, you know, Reality)

Chelsea Does

In yet another example of the lamestream press’ inability to grasp anything about Reality, Sophie Gilbert writes in The Atlantic that the Netflix show Chelsea Does starring Chelsea Handler is “an awkward marriage of Reality and Documentary.”

Now anyone who knows what the fuck they’re talking about knows that the same could (and should) be said of an Reality TV show.

However I didn’t come here to besmirch Gilbert’s name (more than I already have) but to discuss the Netflix aspect of the story. I suspect the only reason “documentary” came up for Gilbert in this context is because that’s how Netflix has promoted the show. Because, you know, Netflix is too good for Reality.

Much has been made of the devastating impact streaming has had on TV as a whole. It is simply not an overstatement to say that TV, as a medium, is dead, and execs at networks and channels are alternately losing their minds, or sticking said minds into the sand along with their heads.

What this means for Reality remains to be seen. It’s well known within the industry that there simply aren’t as many shows getting picked up or renewed as there were in years past. The “networks” (which also means cable channels in this context) simply don’t have the dough.

And as long as Reality keeps getting treated as gym clothing that has percolated for far too long in its own sweat, it’s unlikely that Netflix (or Amazon or what you will) will publicly put money into a too-obviously Reality TV show – even as they reap the benefits of a library of content paid for by others.

They do know that there’s an audience out there, so sooner or later they’re gonna have to get their hands dirty.

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