I just had my first brush with reality television. Before you wonder if I lost the TV remote for 10 years, I should say that I do watch a few unscripted shows: I have an unhealthy obsession with
, and I've seen several seasons of contests like
, but they're more like televised auditions.
was my first prolonged exposure to the kind of show that's premised on a bunch of people doing whatever it is they usually do while another bunch of people follows them around with cameras.
It was awful.
The problem with The Real L Word is that it was all about problems. Since Mikey was self-employed, at least we got to see her work life (elsewhere, for the most part, we saw side lines like modeling gigs and "comedy" acts), but it was a downer because she was so stressed out. Jill and Nikki spent all their waking hours planning their wedding —apparently a nerve-racking enterprise. Rose had relationship woes (and was also a complete douche nozzle), and Tracy was unhappy because her mom wasn't cool with her being a lesbian. Whitney had girl trouble—and although having too many partners is probably better than having too few, it's still a negative.
Doom, gloom, and boo-hoo. Every script needs conflict, but reality requires happiness.