Article first published as Who are the “Real” Reality Stars? on Blogcritics.
Does this sound familiar to you: You turn to your favorite magazine, hoping to catch the latest on your favorite television show, only to find article after article on Jersey Shore, The Bachelor, or The Real Housewives of Fill In The Blank? If your like me, you really don’t mind it at all (I’m always mesmerized by things I can’t truly comprehend.) If you’re not, then you might be scratching your head in disbelief, especially when the Hollywood Reporter runs a story on how Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, the ab-blessed star of Jersey Shore, is on the verge of earning five million dollars this year alone. Which begs the question: can any of these people actually call themselves stars?
It does seem like the slap in the face to the thousands upon thousands that work their fingers to the bone trying to make it in Hollywood. But it makes me wonder just how many of them would actually pass up the opportunity to be the next Speidi or Snooki. What exactly would you have to do? Just lie around the pool or party at a local hotspot. Sounds pretty easy.
Now, not all reality stars are paid to sit around and look pretty. Some actually have to work at something, especially if you consider shows like Project Runway, So You Think You Can Dance, or The Amazing Race. The cast of those particular brands work towards a prize, and if you’ve ever seen any of them, you know the road to victory is not always the easiest. In the case of Dance, and even American Idol, not only do they have to impress a set of judges, but each performer has to convince the audience that they belong on top. After such a grueling process, I would think the winners (and even some of the runners-up) deserve a little longer than fifteen minutes of fame. Of course not all reality competitions, despite the types of challenges, elicit the same kind of respect (I would never in a million years put A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila at the same level as Runway or Top Chef)
In my opinion, this debate will never really be settled. However, not all reality shows are created equal, and as viewers, we should take that into consideration before lumping them all together. Some really do deserve their fame more than others. Unfortunately, the right ones don’t always achieve it first.