CRITIC'S CUT: 8 Reality Shows Past Their Prime
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Most reality shows outstay their welcome. Most, however don't put us through innumerous seasons of trite exploitation. Unfortunately, these shows are happy to.
Project Runway (Lifetime)
The 11th season, which wrapped last week, is indicative of why Project Runway is on the list. This cycle featured designers who were essentially "the best of the worst." No designer stuck out based solely on merit, there were just a few, namely Michelle and Patricia, who at least had a couple of innovative ideas. The excitement of RUNWAY is gone. And so is Michael Kohrs. Without Kohrs, who's going to berate the contestants? Heidi Klum isn't going to say "She looks like barefoot Appalachian Li'l Abner Barbie." Or, "I think if The Challenge was to make something for a 70-year-old woman to go sit in a mall, then get back to the house early so she can watch television, then you succeeded."
The Amazing Race (CBS)
The Amazing Race was once one of the greatest - and earliest - reality television shows. It's now the prime example of what happens after 12 years on the air with little-to-no changes. Its format is stale and predictable - despite the fact that teams are participating in a blind, wild-goose chase around the globe to see who can be the best tourist.
American Idol (Fox)
Recycling judges every season is a sure sign of a show that's past its prime - I mean, if no one wants to be a part of it besides Ryan Seacrest and Randy Jackson, what does that say? IDOL lost its luster years ago with the departure of Simon Cowell, and, to a lesser extent, Paula Abdul. Despite the fact that it still wins its night, with the emergence of The Voice, the lack of quality is apparent. How long can Nicki Minaj shrieking at Mariah Carey remain remotely entertaining?
The X Factor (Fox)
Speaking of horrible singing competitions, don't forget THE X FACTOR. Though it got its start years ago in the UK (thanks to Cowell), in American markets, it appears as little more than a weird mish-mash of IDOL and THE VOICE. New mentors Britney Spears and Demi Lovato were positioned as the major draws for the season - but Spears had little more than insane faces and grunts to offer up to contestants.
The Real World/Road Rules Challenge Mash-Up Shows (MTV)
Well, these CHALLENGE shows have never been good. It's mainly been an opportunity for drunken 20-somethings to roll around in mud, fall off of a rope, and have threesomes in a hot tub for MTV's audience to gawk at. The Challenge has never been quality television, but it's always faired fairly well in the ratings, despite the asinine "spins" MTV gives this "show:" BATTLE OF THE EXES, THE RUINS, RIVALS, etc. It's irrelevant, really.
SPLASH never really should have been on the air. This is a show about celebrities diving (read: falling) off of regulation height boards. Chuy Bravo and Louie Anderson are not meant to be Olympic divers. Execs positioned the show in the vein of DANCING WITH THE STARS - a vehicle for celebs to try their hand at a sport, allowing audiences to watch them triumph, or, you know, belly flop. But SPLASH comes off as little more than a cheap profit-grab at the expense of (former) celebrities.
America's Next Top Model (The CW)
In its heyday, Tyra Banks and her model-hunt competition brought the wonder of "smizing" and the how-to of posing with an industrial sized fan blowing your eyelids back. Now in its 96th (approximate) cycle, Banks seems a little bland. Also, do these models ever really succeed anymore?
Teen Mom (MTV)
Teen Mom started out as one of MTV's more fascinating docu-dramas - and now, with sequel series and multiple seasons, it all just feels a bit exploitative. The obvious critiques aside, TEEN MOM feels less like a warning and more of a mockery - which is appalling (and also typical of MTV.)