Reality TV Update

As the fall TV season approaches, I’m looking forward to the start of my two favorite fall reality shows, Survivor and The Amazing Race. While I’ve watched Dancing With the Stars most seasons, I’m less than enthused about the cast announced for the upcoming season. I’ll give DWTS a try this fall, but unless there are some big surprises, I may not be watching too much.

However, until the fall season begins, I have some end-of-summer reality shows to watch. Among my favorites are Project Runway, Top Chef, and Chopped.

Project Runway

I’m just not feeling the love for most of the designers this season.No one is jumping out at me for the brilliance of their designs. Admittedly, there are some real “characters” on the show this season, from Casanova (the guy who vacillates between “she’s almost naked or she looks like she”s 70 years old,” to quote Nina Garcia) to Michael C (who the other designers hate but the judges appear to love) to Gretchen (bossy, overconfident) to Ivy (the bitch-edit of the season) to….okay, you get the idea. Lots of different personalities, but so far, little brilliance in design. I liked Peach as a person, but she designed some awful clothes, and didn’t want her to win. And I don’t believe I’ve ever disagreed with the judges more. It seems as if half of the season they’ve picked as the winner a design I would have placed in the bottom three. At this point I’m too addicted to quit watching, but I pretty much don’t care who wins.

Top Chef

There’s been a pretty tight race this season, but we’re now down to the final three of Angelo (who I didn’t like, but picked to win the first night), Ed, and Kevin (who I thought would be kicked off early on). I know lots of people hate Angelo, but he has done some very creative dishes. I really liked Tiffany, and hoped that she would win. At this point, as long as Kevin doesn’t win (too uneven in his cooking), I’ll be satisfied.


Now this is fun. This season, they’ve brought back all the winners from the weekly shows. Each week, four previous champions compete to move on to the finale. Instead of winning $10,000, the grand winner will get $50,000. So far the cooking has been quite good, and it’s clear the judges are often having a hard time deciding who to chop.  I’ve found myself amazed at the creative things that have been made a number of times, and have actually wished I could taste a few of the dishes.

How about you, are you watching any of these shows? Is there any fall show you’re looking forward to? And please, tell me I’m not the only person here at AAR watching Chopped?


20 thoughts on “Reality TV Update

  1. Missie

    I’ve just never gotten into reality shows, for the most part. For some reason, I really enjoyed the first season of “America’s Next Top Model,” but never got into it after that.

    For the cooking shows, though — whether competitions or not — I do often wish I could have a sample taste of some of the dishes :-)

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  2. Blythe

    Survivor and Amazing Race as my favorites as well, but I also watch America’s Next Top Model, which started this week. It actually looks like there are some people to root for this time. They even managed to get rid of the two most irritating contestants right off the bat.

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  3. LeeB.

    I’m one of those people who doesn’t want Angelo to win Top Chef. And Project Runway is awesome this season. So many annoying characters. Haven’t seen Chopped and it’s not available online. :(

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  4. Kim in Hawaii

    Re Project Runway, I agree with your observations.

    And I have my own. Tim Gunn was spotted in Honolulu last month. Was he:

    – sampling Hawaiian cuisine?
    – looking for gnarly waves?
    – or visiting Andy South’s home?

    Remember, the show is taped in advance … maybe it’s that time to visit the final three!

    Re Top Chef, I was also disappointed that Tiffany didn’t make it to Singapore. The final three have their talents but I’m routing for Ed because he seems like a nice guy!

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  5. LinnieGayl

    Kim, I agree that Ed does seem like the nicest of the three. And very interesting about Tim being spotted in Hawaii!

    Blythe and Missie, I have watched ANTM from time to time, but had no idea it started this past week. That sounds very unusual of late if there are two to root for, and if they got rid of the most obnoxious ones right away. I’ll have to check it out.

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  6. Tee

    I’ve only watch Chopped one time, but I liked it a lot. It was interesting what the chefs created with the materials given them. And, of course, who was eventually “chopped.” I’ll have to look for it again, but I found it by surfing with the remote just that one time.

    Another show that seems to mesmerize me is Hoarders. It’s amazing how people can live with all that stuff in the rooms of their house. It’s really scary. And how many of them cannot even part with one piece of paper when the time comes for that. That’s very sad.

    Say Yes to the Dress. Don’t know exactly why, but I love that show. And I’m ages away from my original wedding date and never plan to marry again if such a situation should ever arise in the future. It’s just lots of fun for me as these girls find the dress and the comments from the people they bring as support.

    American Idol is the #1 reality show for me, though. Can’t wait for the next season.

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  7. LinnieGayl

    Tee, Chopped first shows on Tuesday nights at either 9 or 10pm (can’t remember which :)) ) but they show reruns throughout the week. I’m endlessly fascinated with the things they make. Honestly, the ingredients they’re given for the dessert course are just appalling at times, and they make things that sound good.

    I’ve watched Say Yes to the Dress quite a few times. It’s so far removed from my wedding, but I do find it very interesting.

    I just can’t let myself watch Hoarders; I’m terrified I’ll see signs of myself in it.

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  8. carol irvin

    I’m watching Project Runway too. I’ve watched all the prior seasons. However, I have just about had it with this show. There is way too much focus on the personalities plus I feel that they are encouraged to get these petty jealousies going by the people filming the show. I really want the focus to be on the creativity and creation of the clothing. On that side of things, they are getting more and more out of touch and out of tune. The judges are so bad this time around that I really think it is time to replace every single one of them.

    I think these people who come in to guest judge, who are actors and singers, have better taste than Nina Garcia and Michael Kors! Plus it is hard for me to hear Michael Kors talk about taste when he shows up with oranger skin each week, which clashes with what he is wearing. How can you fault someone else’s taste when you think orange skin against blue jackets looks great?

    Finally, two of the more talented former designers now have their own show. ON THE ROAD WITH AUSTIN AND SANTINO. I really like them in this show but what they do on the show needs work.

    You can see every episode of both the above shows on Lifetime’s website. There are some very short commercials.

    I used to love Kathy Griffin’s D List show but she’s getting a bit tiresome this many seasons in as well. I think it is really hard to do fresh reality tv for multiple seasons.

    I’ve watched two seasons of Top Chef and will be watching this one when it is all done as i have been saving them.

    That’s it on what I watch on reality tv. I think these few shows provide a good alternative to fictional fare as long as seen in limited doses.

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  9. LinnieGayl

    Carol, that’s an excellent analysis of what’s happening on Project Runway. I had hopes when they expanded the show this year to 1 1/2 hrs, that there would be more focus on design. Instead, it’s exactly as you said, a whole lot more focus has been paid to the personalities. It seems as if there’s now less focus on the actual design process than there was previously. Very disappointing. I’ve only caught one of the Santino and Austin show; they actually seemed rather charming, but again, not much focus on design.

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  10. Donna Lea Simpson

    Put me down as someone who is sorely disappointed in this seasons DWTS crop of semi-celebrities. Oh, I’ll watch, but I’ll be hoping Bristol Palin and ‘The Situation’ are kicked off early. I’m afraid my hopes will be dashed.

    I like crime shows – The First 48 – but mostly because of the personalities and relationships of the cops. Love Caroline Mason of the Memphis PD, and her partner Tony Mullins. Good, smart cops and good people.

    But Survivor is starting too. I’m a little worried in advance about the ‘old versus young’ theme… we all know how that will end up. Too many physical challenges and the ‘oldsters’ will be wiped out, and we’ll be left with a crop of whiny 20-somethings with buff bikini bods. Bor-ring!

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  11. LinnieGayl

    Donna, yes, I’m worried about how the “young versus old” thing is going to play out on Survivor. I don’t have a good feeling about it, but hopefully will be surprised.

    “Semi-celebrities” is exactly right for DWTS this time out. Very disappointing.

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  12. CindyS

    Sadly, I left Survivor behind after my pirate won the people’s choice – I was happy after that ;)

    I’ve missed the last 2 seasons of Amazing Race and I have sorely missed it so I have the DVR set to record this year! I keep thinking I can order the DVD’s of the 2 season’s I’ve missed but I’ll have to check. AR is by far one of my favourite real life shows.

    Deadliest Catch – this is my ‘OMG’ show – I love everything about it and this year one of the Captains Phil Harris died and I’ve been glued to the shows (they do an After the Catch show also) In Canada this show comes on late in May and goes all summer so I didn’t know about PH death until it was way too late to send condolences (happened in Feb and I didn’t know until June)

    If anyone hasn’t seen this, rent the first season to see what it’s like. These are real men, doing dangerous work and trying to hold onto family – there are so many moments that surprise and shock and it’s real – no scripting needed.

    And Kathy Griffin’s Life on the D-List – people either hate her or love her. I happen to love her – again Canadian, who can’t seem to find out when the show airs up here so usually buys the DVD when it comes out.

    I don’t know enough about fashion to understand what works and what doesn’t and anything to do with home design has me stressed because it something I *think* I can do – then I hear the test and think ‘design a chair!? What for!?’


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  13. Kim in Hawaii

    Since you all are still contributing to this topic, I just finished watching Project Runway. I predicted that Andy would not go home for his McHammer pants because Tim was here in Hawaii! But I do have to say that Gretchen is stuck on brown. I thought most of the sportswear offerings were bland. Ivy might have won if she hadn’t gone funky with the jacket closing. Mondo was the clear winner.

    One thing I told my children – if you are going to be a contestant on this show, study how Michael Kors designs every type of wear – evening wear, sports wear, mens wear, resort wear, etc. Study what Nina publishes in Marie Claire. Study what Heidi wears on the Red Carpet. And study the fabrics available at Mood!

    I liked the drama between the models when they had their own half hour show. But the drama between the designers is fairly tame.

    For the crazy stunts, I’d like to see what the judges would design!

    Top Chef is now over. Ed tanked himself with his unimaginative dessert (and comment). Although I did not relate to Kevin, he clearly out cooked his competition.

    Sadly, someone in Hawaii died in a Hoarders-type situation. I don’t think I could stomach the show.

    Most of the cable series shows are now over. Looking forward to the return of NCIS (both versions) plus the premiere of Hawaii 5-O!

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