Reality shows lack luster of former glory

Illustration by Reid Cammack

I’ve never been a particularly avid watcher of “America’s Next Top Model,” but when I’m home all day and there’s an “ANTM” marathon running, you bet your ass I’m watching it. I’m watching the first makeovers, the go-sees, the terrible Covergirl commercials, and I’m definitely watching when Tyra announces which random fashion “capitol” of the world they’re traveling to.

When it was announced that “ANTM” was canceled, I wasn’t really mad that the show was over; I was mad that classic reality television was over. For years, I thrived off of shows like “ANTM,” “The Hills,” “Jersey Shore” and “I Love New York.” “ANTM” was the last survivor, and now, all hope is gone.

We’re in a new, golden age of scripted television. And while I love “Empire,” and I regularly have to hide the erection that I get from all the drama on “How to Get Away with Murder,” I miss the age of reality domination. Reality television is a lost art form that needs to be resurrected.

Gone are the days of dating shows where rock stars, rappers and MySpace celebrities found love in mansions and on buses. “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” are all America has left. Those endless streams of humping white people will never reach the excitement of the humping diversity of “Flavor of Love” or “Rock of Love.” I want genre shake-up. I want another multi-ethnic, bisexual cast like there was on “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila.”

Unfortunately, reality queens like Tequila don’t show up too often. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit rarely bless us with stars like Tequila, Heidi Montag, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Tiffany “New York” Polard. These true reality gods will go to outrageous extremes when fighting, getting plastic surgery and having emotional breakdowns.

Kim Kardashian and a couple Real Housewives are the excuses we have for reality stars now. Kim is great, but she isn’t the trash I’ve come to expect from television. She’s flying in private jets to Armenia, not urinating behind the bars in clubs like queen Snooki. And the drag queen contouring Kim does to her face will never match the 10 iconic plastic surgery procedures Montag had done in a single day.

If America is out of trashy characters, a spicy host would at least suffice. There’s bound to be a new Tyra Banks or a Gordon Ramsay hiding somewhere. I want someone to shriek about scallops being under cooked or how we were all rooting for Tiffany.

America needs a new obsession. Some of the best reality television came about when networks found a working idea and ran with it. Audiences ate up celebrity-based dating shows, and New Jersey was the place to be towards the end of the last decade. Shows like “Cake Boss,” “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” “Jersey Shore” and “Jerseylicious” were all iconic on their own. They had big hair and even bigger personalities.

American television networks need to find another trashy goldmine. There’s bound to be one person, one place or one group of people ready to be filmed and captivate American audiences. Scripted television is great, but it will never match the joyous feeling of watching a drunk Snooki being arrested on a beach.

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