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Thread: BMB Nice Guys Are Exception to Mean Reality Summer

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    BMB Nice Guys Are Exception to Mean Reality Summer

    ARTICLE FROM USA TODAY


    It's television without pity on reality shows
    By Donna Freydkin, Special for USA TODAY

    Love, as Pat Benatar proclaimed two decades ago, is a battlefield. But nowhere are the weapons drawn faster than on this summer's relationship reality shows.

    For Love or Money 2 bachelorette Erin Brodie poses with her potential mates.


    Forget The Bachelor's dreamy, deluxe dates or those breathless declarations of devotion. This season's dating series, both new and returning, are focusing more on attitude and twists that seemingly have little to do with helping a singleton find a relationship:

    Fox premieres its third installment of Temptation Island Thursday, featuring four sun-soaked couples being wooed by 28 sexy singles (9 p.m. ET/PT).

    NBC's For Love or Money 2 (Mondays, 9 p.m. ET/PT) forces guys to choose bachelorette Erin Brodie or 1 million bucks.

    Bravo is making waves with Boy Meets Boy (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET/PT), American TV's first gay dating show. It stars the likable, low-key James, who might have a rude awakening when he learns that his potential mate could be straight.

    And CBS' Cupid (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET/PT) pits starry-eyed Lisa Shannon and her two acidic guardians, Kimberly and Laura, against the suitors competing for Lisa's hand and million-dollar dowry.

    These all seem light-years removed from the roses-and-bracelets romantic tinge of The Bachelor. "These shows are getting meaner and more dramatic and more chaotic and more destructive," says Drew Pinsky, who has hosted MTV's Lovelines and served as the health and relationship expert on CBS' Big Brother.

    Not only are today's dating shows vicious, Pinsky says, but they're also only getting worse by appealing to viewers' baser instincts. "Let's face it: Humans slow down and watch car crashes, and that's the note that these reality shows are hitting."

    Temptation Island executive producer Michael Shevloff emphasizes the positive. "It's not true that this show is about breaking up relationships," he says. "It's about the process of having people look at their relationships and see the other person and how they act."

    On Temptation Island, sparring couples return to their skintillating island getaway to once again have their commitment tested by lascivious singles. Shevloff says his show is about love and "real tears, real fights. It's equally as dramatic but with real emotion behind it. There are breakups, there are relationships formed."

    Though Cupid's acerbic executive producer and American Idol judge Simon Cowell hopes lovely Shannon finds her true love, he has no problem ditching the weepier aspects of his predecessors. "I've always wanted to watch a dating program that shows the embarrassment and humiliation of what the dating process is really like," he says. "That's what real life is like.

    "I love The Bachelor, and it's superb television," Cowell says. "But in real life, a guy won't stand there and offer roses out in that ghastly ceremony. It doesn't happen that way and people can't relate to that in real life."

    That's why Cupid relies on bluntness, much of it from Laura, who doesn't seem to have an internal censor. But, Cowell says, "I don't want to sanitize it. She says what a lot of people are thinking at home."

    To date, rancor hasn't translated into ratings. "All these shows are canceling each other out," says Media Week analyst Marc Berman. "The whole genre itself is hurting right now, and if you put together a nice and sweet and fun show, people won't watch at all."

    They're not flocking to the pitiless ones, either. Last week Cupid drew a paltry 6 million viewers and was 53rd in a week when viewership was depleted by the Northeast blackout. Love or Money improved its lackluster numbers to date with 9 million viewers.

    "These shows appeal to a female-oriented audience and the females want to see the romance," says analyst Deana Myers of Kagan World Media. "Lisa's friends aren't supermodels or actresses or superstars. They're normal people criticizing other normal people, and that's difficult to watch."

    Not all dating programs revel in nastiness. The show's sexual-orientation twist aside, Boy Meets Boy's James lets his castoffs down gently. He stays nice because "nobody went on the show to trash anyone else or be a backbiter or a snake," co-creator Doug Ross says. "We cast guys who were good guys, who were nice guys, guys who were into the experience. They knew what they were getting involved in and they were there to have a good time and make some friends and bond."

    On Love or Money, Brodie's speeches are more bland than brusque, but the show has its own agenda. Recently, bachelors were each offered $10,000 to walk away. One took the money.

    "This is the ultimate human experiment," producer J.D. Roth says. "Love is more important than money ever will be. And our show isn't mean-spirited, with someone pointing a finger at you and telling you what an idiot you are. If you look at the entire arc of our show, the deception is not mean."

    But Pinsky says the producers miss the point. Each show "is trying to outdo the next and be more mean-spirited," he says. "And it's a shame, because they're not going for subtle, natural, real human experiences."

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    Music Fanatic Mr. Obvious's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting that bostonsinclair! Hmm, nice guys? I agree. Nobody was cruel or homophobic or anything. The only cruel thing is the manipulation and cruel twist.

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    Reality Junkie jsciv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bostonsinclair
    Bravo is making waves with Boy Meets Boy (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET/PT), American TV's first gay dating show. It stars the likable, low-key James, who might have a rude awakening when he learns that his potential mate could be straight.
    Might??? MIGHT? That's a gift for understatement...

    Quote Originally Posted by bostonsinclair
    Not only are today's dating shows vicious, Pinsky says, but they're also only getting worse by appealing to viewers' baser instincts. "Let's face it: Humans slow down and watch car crashes, and that's the note that these reality shows are hitting."
    Man, I miss seeing Dr. Drew on Loveline! He's a dose of sanity about all these shows!

    Quote Originally Posted by bostonsinclair
    Not all dating programs revel in nastiness. The show's sexual-orientation twist aside, Boy Meets Boy's James lets his castoffs down gently. He stays nice because "nobody went on the show to trash anyone else or be a backbiter or a snake," co-creator Doug Ross says. "We cast guys who were good guys, who were nice guys, guys who were into the experience. They knew what they were getting involved in and they were there to have a good time and make some friends and bond."
    What??? BMB isn't revelling in the nastiness of the participants, but it sure is revelling in the nastiness of the producers. J.D. Roth's mention of shows that are "mean-spirited, with someone pointing a finger at you and telling you what an idiot you are," is BMB to a tee. It's just as bad IMO as the others. Not in the same way, granted, but still just as nasty.

    -- Joe

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    Real Purpose?

    [QUOTE=bostonsinclair]ARTICLE FROM USA TODAY

    It's television without pity on reality shows
    By Donna Freydkin, Special for USA TODAY

    Thank you for posting the USA TODAY article, bostonsinclair. I missed it.

    Not to detract from the "fun" everyone has guessing who's what, who's doing what, etc., I actually find this to be the start to perhaps the best thread on here. Namely, what is the true value of this "groundbreaking" series as purported by the creators and producers. For it to be "groundbreaking" there has to be more than what's currently offered as the "goal of the project". I'm not panning the cast here, but rather the thought process (or lack of) that went into plotting the show.

    I think there is little doubt among viewers that the cast are all very nice, solid, incredible individuals. That's inclusive of all the guys AND the gal!! All come across as genuine and caring individuals. (How many occasions did someone stay silent so as not to ruin another's chances? Where else do you see this kind of behavior on reality tv?) So, kudos to the cast! The casting director clearly hit their mark in the screening and selections.

    The questions in my mind still center around the creators and producers. How much questioning went into this, especially the question of "should we"? In tv land, ratings are obviously important so as it's become quite apparent, shock value seems to be the recipe to success.

    But what does this say about American culture? Like it or not, mass media form national views as well as perceptions of how the world views us. When does the "means justify the "end"? Are we to accept that it's okay to string along two very nice people (James and Andra...perhaps more as I believe the gay cast were also unaware of the ruse as likely were the straight cast unaware of whether or not other straights were among them), offer cash to people to deceive, and create "intense experiences" that likely leave immense amounts of guilt and remorse upon those who deceived? Is any amount of cash worth that? Plus, if the selections were truly stacked as it appears to have been where straights were grouped with straights to force a straight into the top three, then what element of real selection was James able to demonstrate? If BMB is truly "groundbreaking", then I hope the creators/producers give us better explanations of their goals than what's been in the press so far. Further, do they really believe they met such goals? Or, bottomline, was it shock value and ratings that led the charge?

    In the Newsweek article trailing the upcoming BMB in July, the producer recanted some of James' concerns about the show by actually claiming the gay community didn't need to be protected from bizarre twists on reality tv shows. Okay, I'd agree...no cultural group should be singled out for "protection" or as a target either. But what about that qualifies the plot as "groundbreaking"?

    Once the last show is aired, I encourage cast members speak up about their experience and help create a dialog on whether or not "enough is enough". Besides creating friendships with other cast members, did cast members take away anything of value (non-monetary, that is) from this experience?

    BMB may subtly be the "mildest" of the reality tv shows airing this summer (I've yet to see the in your face rudeness if not inhumaness of the Paradise cast displayed on BMB...sorry Paradise fans, I could only stomach part of one episode of that kind of behavior), however, I still feel BMB is among the meanest spirited adventures to date on American tv. Worse, it was played out on "very nice people" as described by the producer. Yet it continues to be cast as "groundbreaking".

    The best one might hope for is that with 2 episodes to go, we're just all being spooled and that James actually rode off into the sunset with the mate of his choice...who I happen to believe would be Franklin if he truly were gay. Franklin seems to be his 1st choice...1st choice of all of the 1-on-1s on the dance floor and "great, great, great, great..." (didn't count how many greats in the actual quote) in the last episode. Sadly, I don't believe this fantasy will become the reality of this reality tv show. And, bottomline some "very nice people" were played.

    Thanks again for posting the article!

    -duckfan

  5. #5
    ant
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    i second the sentiments. this is one show after the controversy and all is one amicable reality run. the mates including the lead exude gorgeous air in a calm environment.

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