Revisiting the Collective: Hey Networks! Here are Hot New Reality Shows You Should Pick Up

(CS: Reality TV isn't the all-consuming plague that it felt like in 2012, and the rise of binge watching and streamers luring big stars and directors to their shows has meant scripted serialized television is king again. But that wasn't the case on July 18th, 2012, when I posted this piece for Collective Publishing.)

It looks like the fandom for Jersey Shore is finally shrinking, and all the spin-offs were glorious failures in the ratings. Now, it appears MTV is actually moving away from reality TV pap, and creating many more scripted TV shows. It looks like the era of reality being king is finally coming to an end, and watching society’s rejects run around town topless is no longer deemed appealing by the masses (besides, in some cities you can just look out your window and not have to pay for cable). 
But the truth is that reality TV is super cheap to produce, which is why so many obscure channels gravitate towards it and make it such a huge part of their line-up. Even if it isn’t going to take up endless hours on major networks, there will always be a place for reality TV (hey, TLC has to show something, right?). (CS: 2012 was still a time when Network TV had many of the cultural defining shows, but now it is a bit goofy considering them any more important than a streaming service or even a low-level cable channel.)  

Since reality TV refuses to die, I’ve decided to offer up some reality TV shows that are guaranteed to be monstrous hits (or just plain monstrosities). 

Dr. Scuba: We’ve seen countless shows about surgeons and doctors performing expensive procedures on celebrities and the rich. The small town family physician often gets ignored by the cameras and the spotlight, despite their valuable work. No more. Now TV viewers can watch a down to earth doctor care for the average person. Of course, he’ll be taking care of all his patients while wearing a scuba diving suit. (CS: Ah, the days when Reality TV was all about the preposterous gimmick.)

Take it from Beaver: The hottest new reality competition show. You cast the show with 16 die hard reality show fans, aka people who haven’t done anything active for over 15 years. Then you take a wooden figurine of Jerry Mathers and hide it in a beaver dam. The object is to swim under water and get inside the dam, and find the hopefully, not too gnawed beyond recognition figurine. For added challenge, the beavers had to sit through an entire Carrot Top set and had their subscription to Wood Magazine cancelled, so their extra ornery. (CS: I need to confess that despite my clear animosity towards Reality TV and my constant negative references to Carrot Top during my time as the Collective Publishing pop culture columnist, I never really watched either, and knew very little about both.)

The Day in the Life of a Reality TV Writer: It is confession time, reality shows are scripted. They just don’t credit their writers at the end, because it is just gentle suggestions rather than full out written lines and stage directions. Finally, we’re going to give credit to the reality writer, and give them an entire series to showcase their “talents.” Get engrossed in this ground breaking program as we watch the writer head to a Starbucks to pick up a latte for the “star” or debate if the next episode of The Pampered and Hissy D-List Star will be about bickering at a mall or insult exchanging at a Denny’s. The intrigue and action will never stop. 

Which One is a Mannequin?: A vapid stud muffin will get the opportunity to go on a date and “fall in love” with 12 gorgeous (failed) models. The twist is that one of the girls is actually a mannequin, and it his job to figure out which date was entirely made of plastic (rather than just 60%). We’ll also get the added bonus of him falling deeply in love 12 times and going to such stunning locations as a MacDonald’s in (a studio backlot with set pieces of a film “set” in) France. This show will then obviously lead to the hit spin off, Which One is a Shaved Ape? 

Bar Fighting with the Stars: The producers will hand pick 12 of the ugliest, meanest, and biggest drunks from bars all across North America, and then match them up against our “favourite” celebrities in “Last Person Standing” punchfests. The first episode is destined to be a ratings hit when Detroit’s own “Bonecrusher” Buster Brackus goes toe to toe with Glenn Beck. (CS: Is he still a thing?)

Going Postal: Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a postal worker? No? Well, has Keeping up with the Kardashians just ended and you don’t feel like changing the channel or leaving that nice butt dent in your couch? (CS: I believe there is a new Kardashians series on Disney Plus, which shows they are going to outlast cockroaches.) Well, this is the show for you. You’ll watch the lives of four postal workers as they deliver mail from house to house (or in “newer” neighbourhoods centralized mailbox to centralized mailbox), run from angry home owners complaining it is the fifth time they delivered their mail to the wrong house, drip their lunch all over outgoing mail, and whine that life just isn’t the same since that dang internet came about. It will be the most compelling program ever about mail delivery. 

And Now You Have a Pool: Each week, host Pauly Shore (he’ll work cheap, right?) picks a random home in the United States where the occupants have left for a vacation for the week. Then they’ll spend that week putting a pool in their backyard, or if the backyard isn’t big enough, they’ll install the pool somewhere in the house or apartment. The homeowner/renter/vagrant then returns to the surprise of a pool or an incredibly wet kitchen (there is a reason there aren’t a lot of second floor pools). This show has the added bonus of often watching Shore run for his life from the family dog that the angry father has commanded to exact revenge. Entertainment for the entire family and vacationing will never be the same after watching this show. 

Can Humans Eat This?: Food shows are so popular right now, but so are shows about the random crap collectors or pawn shop owners find. (CS: Food shows are still popular, at least according to my family, but I think we've mostly passed the pawn era.) This is the program that finally combines two forms of popular reality TV entertainment. The program travels all around North America trying to find some of the rarest and most unique items possible, and then test to see if it is edible (or at least, if one can survive after the consumption of the object). It is entertaining and educational. 

These are the reality show ideas that are destined to be instant classics. Or at least will be more watchable than Housewives of Orange County. (C:S Despite my supposed Reality TV hate, I did watch Survivor back then, and I still watch it now. It has actually become a whole family viewing experience.)